Todus – Todies

Smallest and most active feeders of all the birds found in diversified habitats; laying huge eggs as compared to bird’s size

Todies are a group of vibrant, diminutive birds found primarily in the Caribbean. Despite their small size, todies have a substantial impact on their ecosystem and display a rich set of behaviors that make them fascinating subjects of study.

Todies are characterized by their stocky build, large heads relative to their body size, and bright plumage. Their wings exhibit a lustrous green sheen, while their undersides are often a softer shade, with variations depending on the species. The beak is typically red with a black tip, an unusual color combination among birds, which adds to their distinctive appearance. Their size ranges from 10 to 11.5 centimeters in length, and they weigh between 5 to 7 grams, making them one of the smallest bird species within their habitat.

Although they share similarities with kingfishers in their robust build and with hummingbirds in their rapid wingbeats and small size, todies are unique in their ecological niche and behavior. They do not feed on nectar like hummingbirds but are insectivorous, and unlike kingfishers, they do not typically fish for their food.

Todies have a diet that consists mainly of small insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, bugs, butterflies, ants, and wasps. They are active foragers, often seen darting from perches to catch prey in mid-air or picking insects off of foliage.

When it comes to breeding, todies are burrowers. They excavate tunnels in steep banks or in the soft, rotten wood of trees using their beaks and feet. These nests provide a safe and controlled environment for their eggs and the subsequent chicks. Nesting sites are typically reused or modified year after year, showing a remarkable level of nest site fidelity.

Each tody species has its own set of vocalizations, which are particularly prominent during the breeding season. These vocalizations are used for mate attraction, territory defense, and communication between mates and offspring.