Cuban tody

The gem-like beautiful bird with a large head, short tail, and a long bill is found only in Cuba and its adjacent islands

Susanne Bollinger

This bird is native to the island of Cuba and is known for its distinctive appearance and interesting behaviors. Measuring just 11cm (4.3 inches) in length, this tiny bird packs a lot of charm into its small frame.

One of the Cuban tody’s most striking features is its colorful plumage. With its bicolored red-black bill, pink flanks, red throat, and yellow lores, it is a vibrant sight to behold amidst the lush greenery of its habitat. Its relatively large head and long, flat bill add to its unique appearance, making it easily recognizable.

In terms of habitat, the Cuban tody can be found in a variety of environments, including evergreen forests, dry lowlands, and coastal vegetation near water. Despite its small size, this bird is quite adaptable and can thrive in diverse ecosystems across the island.

Like many omnivorous birds, the Cuban tody has a varied diet. It feeds on a range of food items, including insects, small fruits, spiders, and even small lizards. This adaptability in the diet allows the Cuban tody to take advantage of whatever food sources are available in its environment, ensuring its survival in different conditions.

Breeding behavior in Cuban todies is also quite interesting. They are typically found in pairs, and they construct tunnel-shaped nests leading to an egg chamber on earthen banks. The construction of these nests is a meticulous process, with the birds using a glue-like substance made from lichen, algae, grass, and small feathers to secure their living quarters. This nesting behavior helps protect the eggs and chicks from potential predators, ensuring the survival of the species.

Despite facing threats such as habitat loss and degradation, the population of the Cuban tody remains stable, and it is currently designated as a species of “Least Concern” by conservation organizations.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Cuba
LC
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No