Saturday, June 30, 2012

>>Genus Meropogon >Meropogon forsteni (Purple-bearded Bee-eater)

Purple-bearded Bee-eater

Purple -bearded Bee-eater
Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Bonaparte, 1850
Species:M. forsteni
Binomial name
Meropogon forsteni
(Bonaparte, 1850)
The Purple-bearded Bee-eater or Celebes Bee-eater (Meropogon forsteni) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is an endemic resident on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. This species is often seen in clearings inside dense forest.
The Purple-bearded Bee-eater is the only member of the genus Meropogon. Its scientific name commemorates Eltio Alegondas Forsten (1811–1843) who collected in the East Indies between 1838 and his death.


The Purple-bearded Bee-eater is a colourful long bird with a long tail, long slender decurved beak and rather rounded wings. It is 25–26 cm (10 inches) long, excluding 6 cm (21/2 inches) of tail streamers.
The adult male has a purple head, face, “beard” (long hanging throat feathers), breast and upper belly. The upperparts, wings and tail are green, apart from a reddish brown nape, and the central tail feathers are elongated as streamers. The lower belly is reddish-brown and the underside of the tail is chestnut.
The adult female is similar, but the forebelly is reddish-brown, not purple. Young birds have a green crown and nape, dusky face and bluish beard. They lack the elongated central tail feathers of the adult.
The call is a quiet high-pitched szit or peep.


The Purple-bearded Bee-eater undertakes seasonal movements, breeding inland in the dry season, and moving to the coast in the rainy season. Like other bee-eaters it nests in burrows up to 90 cm long tunnelled into the side of sandy river banks, cliffs and cuttings, but does not form colonies.
The Purple-bearded Bee-eater, again like its relatives, eats insects, including bees, wasps and dragonflies and beetles, which are caught in flight. This species hunts alone or in pairs, rather than in flocks, and sits on a favoured perch for long periods, twisting its head with its beard flattened or plumped, and wagging its tail back and forth before sallying after passing prey.

>Nyctyornis athertoni (Blue-bearded Bee-eater)

Blue-bearded Bee-eater

Blue-bearded Bee-eater
Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Species:N. athertoni
Binomial name
Nyctyornis athertoni
(Jardine & Selby, 1830)
Merops athertoni
Alcemerops athertoni
The Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni is a large species of bee-eater found in South Asia. This species is found in openings in patches of dense forest. It is found in the Malayan region and also extends into the Western Ghats in southwestern India. The blue feathers of its throat are elongated and often held fluffed up giving it the name. They are not as gregarious or active as the smaller bee-eaters, and their square ended tail lacks the typical "wires" made up of the shafts of the longer central tail feathers in many species.


This large bee-eater has a large sickle shaped bill and the square ended tail lacks the "wires" that are typical of smaller bee-eaters. The bird is grass green with a turquoise forehead, face and chin. The feathers of the throat are elongated giving it a bearded appearance when they are fluffed out. The belly is yellowish to olive with streaks of green or blue. The peninsular Indian populations are said to be paler green than the northeast Indian populations. Although males and females appear similar, the blue throat feathers of the male show higher ultraviolet reflectivity than those of the female.
The species is named after Lieut. John Atherton (13th Light Dragoons) a nephew of Mrs. P. J. Selby who died in 1827 and collected a specimen . Selby described the species in "Illustrations of Ornithology" published along with Sir William Jardine in 1828.Jardine and Selby described it in the Illustration of Ornithology (Series 1, Volume 2 part 4, November 1828, plate 58) and the type locality was said to be Cachar District Assam by E. C. Stuart Baker but Sir N B Kinnear re-designated Bangalore as the type locality of the species. However the species is extremely rare in that region.
The nominate form is found in India and parts of mainland Southeast Asia whilebrevicaudatus is an insular population from Hainan. A subspecies bartletti from northeastern India described by W. N. Koelz is subsumed into the nominate population.

Distribution and habitat

This species is found in a variety of habitats mostly at medium altitudes but below 2000m altitude. Thin to fairly thick forest in medium elevations with clearings is the typical habitat. It is found singly or in small groups of up to three and is very patchily distributed. Their presence in an area can easily be missed. It has been reported from the hill regions of the Satpuras, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Nilgiris, Chota Nagpur and from the Sub-Himalayan forests.

Behaviour and ecology

Blue-bearded Bee-eater.ogg
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. July 1994
This bird has a loud call, but does not call frequently. It is also not as active as the smaller bee-eaters. The calls include cackling hornbill like calls, a dry "Kit-tik... Kit-tik" in a series or hollow nasal "kyao" calls. Pairs may engage in duets of cackling and rattling which ends in short purring notes.The flight is undulating and very barbet-like.

A Bluebearded Bee-eater carries food for chicks inside the tunnel nest
The breeding season is February to August in India and courtship involves ritual feeding, bowing and tail fanning. Nest excavation may begin a month before the laying of eggs. The nest is a deep tunnel in a mud bank within which four very spherical and white eggs are laid.
The species appears to feed mainly on bees. It exploits the defensive behavior of Giant honey bee(Apis dorsata) colonies by provoking the mass release of guard bees which are then caught and eaten as they pursue the bird. Although mainly foraging using aerial sallies, it is known to glean from bark. They may sometimes associate with mixed-species foraging flocks.Birds have been seen at flowers of Erythrina and Salmalia although it is unclear whether they fed on nectar or insects attracted to it.
A blood parasite Leucocytozoon nyctyornis has been described from this species and feather parasites Brueelia are also known.

>Nyctyornis amictus (Red-bearded Bee-eater)

Red-bearded Bee-eater

Red-bearded Bee-eater
Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Species:N. amictus
Binomial name
Nyctyornis amictus
(Temminck, 1824)
The Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus is a large species of bee-eater found in the Indo-Malayan subregion of South-east Asia. This species is found in openings in patches of dense forest.
Like other bee-eaters, they are colourful birds with long tails, long decurved beaks and pointed wings. They are large bee-eaters, predominantly green, with a red colouration to face that extends on to the slightly hanging throat feathers to form the “beard”.
Like other bee-eaters, they predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in flight from perches concealed in foliage. They hunt alone or in pairs, rather than in flocks, and sit motionless for long periods before pursuing their prey.
Like other bee-eaters, they nest in burrows tunnelled into the side of sandy banks, but do not form colonies.

>>Genus Nyctyornis

Genus Nyctyornis

Blue-bearded Bee-eater
Scientific classification
Jardine & Selby, 1830
N. amictus
N. athertoni
Nyctyornis is a genus of the bee-eaters, near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. There are just two members of this group, which occur in tropical south and southeatern Asia.
  • Red-bearded Bee-eater, Nyctyornis amictus
  • Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Nyctyornis athertoni
The genus is basal and forms a sister group to the remaining members of the bee-eater family.
Like other bee-eaters, Nyctyornis species are colourful birds with long tails, long downturned bills and pointed wings. They are large bee-eaters (Blue-bearded is the largest of all bee-eaters), predominantly green, with a face colour as indicated by the species' name. This colour extends on to the slightly hanging throat feathers to form the “beard”.
Like other bee-eaters, they predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air, but they have a quite different strategy. They hunt alone or in pairs, rather than in flocks, and sit motionless for long periods before pursuing their prey. Blue-bearded will also clamber in foliage for insects, and bees are sometimes attract by the bright blue beard of a perched bird, presumably mistaking it for a flower.
Their size and more rounded wings gives Nyctyornis species a heavier flapping flight less graceful than that of the 'Merops genus
Like other bee-eaters, they nest in burrows tunneled into the side of sandy banks, but do not form colonies.



European Bee-eaters, (Merops apiaster)
Scientific classification
Rafinesque, 1815
  • Nyctyornis
  • Meropogon
  • Merops
The bee-eaters are a group of near-passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa and Asia but others occur in southern Europe, Australia, and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers. All have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 different species of bee-eaters.
As the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat flying insects, especially bees and wasps, which are caught in the air by sallies from an open perch.While they pursue any type of flying insect, honey bees predominate in their diet. Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) comprise from 20% to 96% of all insects eaten, with honey bees comprising approximately one-third of the Hymenoptera.
Before eating its meal, a bee-eater removes the stinger by repeatedly hitting and rubbing the insect on a hard surface. During this process, pressure is applied to the insect thereby extracting most of the venom. Notably, the birds only catch prey that are on the wing and ignore flying insects once they land.
Bee-eaters are gregarious. They form colonies by nesting in burrows tunnelled into the side of sandy banks, such as those that have collapsed on the edges of rivers. Their eggs are white and they generally produce 2-9 eggs per clutch (depending on species). As they live in colonies, large numbers of these holes are often seen together, white streaks from their accumulated droppings accentuating the entrances to the nests. Most of the species in the family are monogamous, and both parents care for the young, sometimes with the assistance of other birds in the colony, a behavior considered unusual for birds.


Green Bee-eater at take-off
The bee-eaters are a fairly uniform group, morphologically. They share many features with related Coraciiformes such as the kingfishers and rollers, being large-headed (but not as large-headed as their relatives) short-necked, brightly plumaged and short-legged. Their wings may be rounded or pointed, with wing shape closely correlated with foraging habitat and migratory tendencies. Shorter, rounder wings are found on species that are sedentary and make shorter foraging flights in denser forests and reedbeds. Those with more elongated wings are more migratory. All the bee-eaters are highly aerial. They take off strongly from perches, fly directly without undulating, and are able to change directions quickly. Bee-eaters rarely hover, however.
The bills of bee-eaters are curved, long and end in a sharp point. The bill can bite strongly, particularly at the tip, and is used as a pair of forceps with which to snatch insects from the air and crush smaller ones. The short legs have weak feet, when moving on the ground its gait is barely more than a shuffle. The feet have sharp claws used for perching on vertical surfaces and also during nest excavation.
The plumage of the family is generally very bright and in most species dominated or at least partly green. The two carmine bee-eaters are mostly rosy coloured. Most of the Merops bee-eaters have a line through the eye and many have differently coloured throats and faces. The extent of the green in these varies from almost completely in the Green Bee-eater to barely any in the White-throated Bee-eater. Three species, from equatorial Africa, have no green at all in their plumage, the Black Bee-eater, the Blue-headed Bee-eater and the Rosy Bee-eater. Several species have long streamers in the tail, and in a few species these are ended with expanded spatulae.
There is little visible difference between the sexes in most of the family. In several species the iris is red in the males and brown-red in the females, and in species with tail-streamers these may be slightly longer in males. Both the European and Red-bearded Bee-eaters have differences in the colour of their plumage, and the Rainbow Bee-eaters have differently shaped tail-streamers.There are however probably undocumented instances where bee-eaters are sexually dichromatic in the ultraviolet end of the colour spectrum, which humans cannot see. A study of Blue-tailed Bee-eater found that males were more colourful when comparisons between males and females included a comparison of their plumage in the UV spectrum. Overall colour also was affected by body condition, suggesting that there was a signalling component to plumage colour.

Distribution, habitat and migration

The Blue-bearded Bee-eater is associated with rainforests, where it forages in edge habitats
The bee-eaters have an Old World distribution, occurring from Europe to Australia. The centre of diversity of the family is Africa, although a number of species also occur in Asia. A single species occurs in Europe, the European Bee-eater and Australia, the Rainbow Bee-eater; and there is one Madagascar species, the Olive Bee-eater (also found on mainland Africa). Of the three genera, Merops, which has the majority of the species in the family, occurs across the entirely of the family's distribution. Nyctyornis is restricted to Asia, ranging from India and southern China to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The genusMeropogon, has a single species restricted to Sulawesi in Indonesia.
Bee-eaters are fairly catholic in their habitat. Their requirements are a simply an elevated perch from which to watch for prey and a ground substrate in which to dig their breeding burrow. Because their prey is entirely caught on the wing they are not dependent on any vegetation type. A single species is found inside closed rainforest, the Blue-headed Bee-eater, where it forages close to the ground in poor light in the gaps between large trees under the canopy. Six other species are also closely associated with rainforest, but do so in edge habitat in this environment; along rivers, in tree-fall gaps, off trees overhanging ravines or on emergent crowns above the main canopy.
A number of the bee-eaters are migratory. Species that breed in subtropical or temperate areas of Europe, Asia and Australia are all migrants. The European Bee-eaters that breed in southern Europe and Asia migrate to West and Southern Africa. Another population of the same species breeds in South Africa and Namibia; these birds move northwards after breeding. In Australia the Rainbow Bee-eater is migratory in the southern areas of its range, migrating to Indonesia and New Guinea, but occurs year round in northern Australia. Several species of bee-eater, such as the White-throated Bee-eater, are intra-African migrants. The most unusual migration is that of the Southern Carmine Bee-eater, which has a three stage migration; after breeding in a band between Angola and Mozambique it moves south to Botswana, Namibia and South Africa before moving north to its main wintering grounds in northern Angola, Congo and Tanzania.


The White-fronted Bee-eater has a complex colonial social life

Green Bee-eaters dust bathing to keep down parasites
The bee-eaters are diurnal (active by day), although a few species may migrate during the night if the terrain on route is unsuitable for stopping or if they are crossing the sea. They are a highly social family. Pairs sitting together are often so close together that they touch (described as having an individual distance of zero). Groups may roost together in a row in such a fashion as well. Some species are highly gregarious in the non-breeding season, and many species are colonial in the breeding season as well.
The social structures of the Red-throated Bee-eater and the White-fronted Bee-eaters have been described as "the most complex of any bird species anywhere in the world". The birds exist in stable colonies located on nesting cliffs, and have a stable structure year round. These colonies are composed of clans of two or three pairs, their helpers, and offspring. Within the colony the males alternate between guarding their mate and attempting to make forced copulations other females. The females in turn attempt to lay eggs in their neighbour's nests. Within colonies some individuals also specialise in kleptoparasitism, stealing prey collected by other colony members. The colony's daily routine is emerge from the nesting holes or roosting branches soon after dawn, preen and sun themselves for an hour, then disperse to feed. Feeding territories are broken down by clan, with the clan defending the territories from all others of the same species, including clans of the same colony. The clans return to the colony before dusk, and engage in more social behaviour before retiring for the night. Colonies are situated several hundred metres apart and have little to do with each other, although young individuals may disperse between colonies. As such these species can be thought to have four tiers of social kinship, the individual pair, the family unit, the clan and the colony as a whole.
Bee-eaters spend around 10% of their day on what are known as comfort activities. These include sunning themselves, dust bathing and water bathing. Sunning behaviour helps warm birds in the morning, reducing the need to use energy to raise the temperature. It also has a social aspect, as multiple birds adopt the same posture. Finally, it may help stimulate parasites in the feathers, making them easier to find and remove. Due to their hole-nesting bee-eaters accumulate a number of ectoparasites such as mites and flies. Together with sunning, bouts of dust bathing (or water bathing where available), as well as rigorous preening, keep the feathers and skin in good health. Bathing with water involves making shallow dives into a water body and then returning to a perch to preen.

Diet and feeding

The bee-eaters are almost exclusively aerial hunters of insect prey. Prey is caught either while in continuous flight or more commonly from an exposed perch where the bee-eater watches for prey. Smaller, rounder-winged bee-eaters typically hunt from branches and twigs closer to the ground, whereas the larger species hunt from tree tops or telegraph wires. One unusual technique often used by carmine bee-eaters is to ride the back of bustards. Prey can be spotted from a distance; European Bee-eaters are able to spot a bee 60 m away, and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters have been observed flying out 100 m to catch large wasps. Prey is approached directly or from behind. Prey that lands on the ground or on plants is usually not pursued. Small prey may be eaten on the wing, but larger prey are returned to the perch to be beaten against the perch to kill them and break them up. Insects with poisonous stings are first smacked on the branch, then, with the eyes closed, rubbed to discharge the venom. This behaviour is innate, as demonstrated by a juvenile bird in captivity, which performed the task when first presented with wild bees. This bird was stung on the first five tries, but by ten bees, it was as adept at handling bees as adult birds.
Bee-eaters consume a wide range of insects; beyond a few distasteful butterflies they consume almost any insect from tiny Drosophila flies to large beetles and dragonflies. At some point bee-eaters have been recorded eating beetles, mayflies, stoneflies, cicadas, termites, crickets and grasshoppers, mantises, true flies and moths. For many species the dominant prey item are stinging members of the order Hymenoptera, namely wasps and bees. In a survey of 20 studies the proportion of the diet made up by bees and wasps varied from 20% to 96%, with the average being 70%. Of these honeybees can comprise a large part of the diet - as much as 89% of the overall diet.


A male Blue-throated Bee-eater presents his mate with a captured insect
Bee-eaters are seasonally monogamous, and some species are monogamous over multiple seasons. Migratory species however are thought to form new pair bonds each breeding season. The courtship displays of the bee-eaters are rather unspectacular, with the exception of the "butterfly display" (where the wings of both sexes are held out while calling) of the White-throated Bee-eater. Most members of the family engage in courtship feeding, where the male presents prey items to the female, and such feeding can account for much if not all of the energy females require for egg creation.
Like almost all Coraciiformes the bee-eaters are cavity nesters. In the case of the bee-eaters the nests are burrows dug into the ground, either into the sides of earth cliffs or directly into level ground. Both types of nesting site are vulnerable, those on level ground are vulnerable to trampling and small predators, whereas those in cliffs, which are often the banks of rivers, are vulnerable to flash floods, which can wipe out dozens or hundreds of nests. Many species nest either on cliffs or on level ground but prefer cliffs, however the Böhm's Bee-eater always nests on level ground. The burrows are dug by both birds in the pair as well as any helpers that have joined the pair. The soil or sand is loosened with jabs of the sharp bill, then the feet are used to kick out the loose substrate. There may be several false starts where nests are dug partway before being abandoned; in solitary species this can give the impression of colonial living even when they are not. The process of nest building can take as long as twenty days to complete, during which the bill can be both blunted and shortened. Nests are generally used only for a single season and are rarely used twice by the bee-eaters, but abandoned bee-eater nests may be used by a host of birds, snakes and bats as shelter and breeding places.
Bee-eaters may nest as single pairs, loose colonies or dense colonies. Smaller species tend to nest solitarily, while medium sized species do so in the smaller colonies and larger and migratory species nest in large colonies that can number in the thousands. In some instances colonies may contain more than one species of bee-eater.

Species list in taxonomic order

The bee-eater family consists of two subfamilies - the bearded bee-eaters Nyctyornithinae, and Meropinae, the typical bee-eaters.
  • Genus: Nyctyornis
    • Red-bearded Bee-eater, Nyctyornis amictus
    • Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Nyctyornis athertoni
  • Genus: Meropogon
    • Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Meropogon forsteni
  • Genus: Merops
    • Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus
    • Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus
    • Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis
    • White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis
    • Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Merops hirundinaeus
    • Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Merops philippinus
    • Black Bee-eater, Merops gularis
    • Blue-headed Bee-eater, Merops muelleri
    • Red-throated Bee-eater, Merops bulocki
    • White-fronted Bee-eater, Merops bullockoides
    • Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Merops variegatus
    • Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Merops oreobates
    • Black-headed Bee-eater, Merops breweri
    • Somali Bee-eater, Merops revoilii
    • Böhm's Bee-eater, Merops boehmi
    • Blue-throated Bee-eater, Merops viridis
    • Olive Bee-eater, Merops superciliosus
    • Rainbow Bee-eater, Merops ornatus
    • European Bee-eater, Merops apiaster
    • Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Merops leschenaulti
    • Rosy Bee-eater, Merops malimbicus
    • Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicus
    • Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicoides
Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus)  
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)  
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (Merops hirundineus)  
Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)  
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)  
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)  
Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus)  

>>>>Bananaquit >>>Family Thraupidae >>Genus Coereba


Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Vieillot, 1809
Species:C. flaveola
Binomial name
Coereba flaveola
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Certhiola martinicensis
Certhiola dominicana
The Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) is a species of passerine bird of uncertain relation. It is tentatively placed in the tanager family, but classified as incertae sedis by other authorities such as the American Ornithologists' Union. Its classification is debated, and it is often placed in its own family: Coerebidae. It has recently been suggested the Bananaquit should be split into three species, but this has yet to receive widespread recognition. This small, active nectarivore is found in warmer parts of the Americas, and is generally common.


The Bananaquit was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758 asCerthia flaveola. It was reclassified as the only member of the genus Coereba by Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1809. Prior to 2005 the Bananaquit was assigned to the monotypic family Coerebidae; there is currently no agreement to which family it belongs; some authors place it into the Emberizidae. Since recent studies have shed some light on the Bananaquit's affinities, many authorities consider Coerebidae an obsolete taxon. The Coerebidae used to contain other nectar-eating birds from the tropical Americas, but these have since been moved. The Bananaquit is part of a group that includes Darwin's finches, Tiaris (grassquits), Loxigilla, etc.—most of which were previously placed in Emberizidae, but are now known to actually be part of the Thraupidae. As such this species is tentatively placed in the Thraupidae family unless a study suggests more accurate placement. Nevertheless, its precise relations remain unresolved, so the American Ornithologists' Union classes it as a species incertae sedis.
It is still unclear if any of the island subspecies should be elevated to species, but phylogenetic studies by Seutin et al. and Bellemain et al. have revealed three clades: the nominate group from Jamaica, Hispaniola and the Cayman Islands, the bahamensisgroup from the Bahamas and Quintana Roo, and the bartholemica group from South and Central America, Mexico (except Quintana Roo), the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.Several taxa were not sampled, but most of these are easily placed in the above groups based on zoogeography alone. Exceptions are oblita (San Andrés Island) and tricolor(Providencia Island), and their placement is therefore uncertain. Bellemain et al.suggested that the two taxa bahamensis and bartholemica be split, and in February 2010, the International Ornithological Congresslisted as proposed splits from C. flaveola.

The Bahamas Bananaquit with a whitish throat and upper chest may be a separate species

Illustration by Joseph Smit, 1886


  • C. flaveola alleni Lowe, 1912
  • C. flaveola aterrima (Lesson, 1830)
  • C. flaveola atrata (Lawrence, 1878)
  • C. flaveola bahamensis (Reichenbach, 1853)
  • C. flaveola bananivora (Gmelin, 1789)
  • C. flaveola barbadensis (Baird, 1873)
  • C. flaveola bartholemica (Sparrman, 1788)
  • C. flaveola bolivari Zimmer & Phelps, 1946
  • C. flaveola bonairensis Voous, 1955
  • C. flaveola caboti (Baird, 1873)
  • C. flaveola caucae Chapman, 1914
  • C. flaveola cerinoclunis Bangs, 1901
  • C. flaveola chloropyga (Cabanis, 1850)
  • C. flaveola columbiana (Cabanis, 1866)
  • C. flaveola dispar Zimmer, 1942
  • C. flaveola ferryi Cory, 1909
  • C. flaveola flaveola (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • C. flaveola frailensis Phelps & Phelps Jr, 1946
  • C. flaveola gorgonae Thayer & Bangs, 1905
  • C. flaveola guianensis (Cabanis, 1850)
  • C. flaveola intermedia (Salvadori & Festa, 1899)
  • C. flaveola laurae Lowe, 1908
  • C. flaveola lowii Cory, 1909
  • C. flaveola luteola (Cabanis, 1850)
  • C. flaveola magnirostris (Taczanowski, 1880)
  • C. flaveola melanornis Phelps & Phelps 1954
  • C. flaveola mexicana (Sclater, 1857)
  • C. flaveola minima (Bonaparte, 1854)
  • C. flaveola montana Lowe, 1912
  • C. flaveola nectarea Wetmore, 1929
  • C. flaveola newtoni (Baird, 1873)
  • C. flaveola oblita Griscom, 1923
  • C. flaveola obscura Cory, 1913
  • C. flaveola pacifica Lowe, 1912
  • C. flaveola portoricensis (Bryant, 1866)
  • C. flaveola roraimae Chapman, 1929
  • C. flaveola sharpei (Cory, 1886)
  • C. flaveola tricolor (Ridgway, 1884)
  • C. flaveola uropygialis Berlepsch, 1892


The Bananaquit is a common visitor to bird tables and hummingbird feeders. The north Lesser Antillean bartholemica is among the subspecies with the darkest throat
The Bananaquit is a small bird, although there is some degree of size variation across the various subspecies. Length can range from 7.5 to 12.5 centimetres (3.0 to 4.9 in). Weight ranges from 5.5 to 19 grams (0.19 to 0.67 oz).
Most subspecies of the Bananaquit have dark grey (almost black) upperparts, black crown and sides of the head, a prominent white eyestripe, grey throat, white vent, and yellow chest, belly and rump.
The sexes are alike, but juveniles are duller and often have a partially yellow eyebrow and throat. In the subspecies bahamensis and caboti from the Bahamas and Cozumel, respectively, the throat and upper chest are white or very pale grey, while ferryi from La Tortuga Island has a white forehead.
The subspecies lauraelowii and melanornis from small islands off northern Venezuela are overall blackish,while the subspecies aterrima and atrata from Grenada and Saint Vincent have two plumage morphs, one "normal" and another blackish.The pink gape is usually very prominent in the subspecies from islands in the Caribbean Sea.


A Bananaquit feeding on an orange in the Morne Diablotins National Park in Dominica
The Banaquit has a slender, curved bill, adapted to taking nectar from flowers. It sometimes pierces flowers from the side, taking the nectar without pollinating the plant. It also feeds on sweet juices by puncturing fruit with its beak, and will eat small insects on occasion. While feeding, the Banaquit must always perch as it cannot hover like a hummingbird.
The Banaquit is known for its ability to adjust remarkably to human environments. It often visits gardens and may become very tame. Its nickname, the sugar bird, comes from its affinity for bowls or bird feeders stocked with granular sugar, a common method of attracting these birds. The Bananaquit builds a spherical lined nest with a side entrance hole, laying up to three eggs, which are incubated solely by the female. It may also build its nest in man-made objects, such as lampshades and garden trellises. The birds breed all year regardless of season and build new nests throughout the year.


Bananaquit in its nest. Osa Peninsula,Costa Rica
It is resident in tropical South America north to southern Mexico and the Caribbean. It is found throughout the West Indies, except Cuba. Birds from the Bahamas are rare visitors to Florida.It is particularly prevalent on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao and also the most popular species of bird on the islands.
It occurs in a wide range of open to semi-open habitats, including gardens and parks, but it is rare or absent in deserts, dense forests (e.g. large parts of the Amazon Rainforest) and at altitudes above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft).