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Toro Negro Bird Watching Ponce Puerto Rico


The practice of birdwatching on the Island promotes economically productive, environmentally friendly and socially responsible tourism.

More than 300 species of birds on the Island can be seen on expeditions through our nature reserves. Furthermore, of that amount, at least 17 are endemic species. 

One of the ideal local attractions for bird and nature lovers is the Toro Negro Forest Puerto Rico

Here are some to watch on next visit.

There is a form log to document your experience.

Puerto Rican Tody

The Puerto Rican tody (Todus mexicanus) is a bird endemic to Puerto Rico. It is locally known in Spanish as "San Pedrito" ("little Saint Peter") and "medio peso" ("half-dollar bird").


Todies are the closest relative to the motmots of Central America. It is thought that the Jamaican tody (Todus todus) gave rise to the Puerto Rican tody after hurricane dispersals, but the relationship between both species has not yet been confirmed. Studies show the Todus genus probably developed before the Pleistocene. Mitochondrial gene studies point to the motmots as their closest relative, although egg white protein electrophoresis studies suggest a relationship to kingfishers.

The Puerto Rican tody's specific epithetmexicanus (Latin for "from Mexico"), is a misnomer; it is thought that the ornithologist who first described it, René Lesson, erroneously wrote the type specimen's retrieval location as Mexico.

The Puerto Rican tody makes up one of the five endemic Todus species of the Greater AntillesHispaniola has two endemic species, while CubaJamaica and Puerto Rico each have one.


Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) RWD.jpg

The Puerto Rican tody is a small, brightly colored, non-passerine forest bird. It is one of the smallest representative of the order Coraciiformes, with an average body length of 11 cm and weight of 5 to 6 g. The upperparts of the Puerto Rican tody are an emerald green color, and it has light-yellow flanks and underside tail coverts, and a white belly and chest. The "San Pedrito", also known as "Medio Peso" by the local people, has a red throat and lower bill, which in itself is long and broad. It can be as long or longer than the head, and as half as long as the wing. Their legs and feet are a brownish color and the tarsus is similar in length to the bill. Both males and females have a short tail, ranging from two-thirds to three-fourths as long as the wings. Males and females are not sexually dichromatic, and their only difference is their eye color; males have gray eyes whereas females' eyes are white.[6] The young have similar colored feathers as the adults, but lack the red markings, have a grayish colored belly and have shorter bills.[4][7] The Puerto Rican tody differs from the other todies in that it is the only species without pink or yellow-green colored feathers on its flanks.


The Puerto Rican tody can be found throughout the main island of Puerto Rico. It is found predominantly in forested areas, especially in high-altitude damp forests where insect concentrations are higher, as well as in dense thickets, such as the Guánica Forest located in the southern region of the island.


Todies have small territories. In lowland forests a tody's territory size is approximately 0.7 hectares (1.8 acres), but in higher elevations, where insect prey is less abundant, the territory size can increase up to two hectares per pair. Breeding territories are centered around the nest burrow and are smaller than their home ranges which are defended by the pair year-round.

Agonistic displays

When the Puerto Rican tody encounters an intruder it fluffs up and raises its crest. If disturbed, a bobbing up and down motion accompanied by vocalizations is portrayed; though both males and females are capable of this display, males tend to bob more. This bobbing display has also been seen after feeding and during nest building. Chasing intruders, wing flicking and wing rattles are also some of the other exhibited displays. The majority of these territorial defense displays is reserved for other todies, as they tend to be very tolerant of other species.



The Puerto Rican tody is primarily insectivorous (85.9% of its diet). Todies eats katydids, grasshoppers, crickets, earwigs, dragonflies, flies, beetles, spiders (8.2%), and occasionally small lizards (3.5%) and frogs. Todies are considered voracious eaters.

Todies forage and feed using different methods, including air-feeding and leaf feeding, the latter being the most common method of foraging. When they leaf feed they sit quietly in high perches and scan the surface below with fast, jerky head motions, often tilting their bills upwards. When the tody sees an insect on a leaf, it will capture it while in a short-curved flight.

When todies air-feed, they have their bills pointed upward, and they fly from the perch snatching the insect and return to a different perch. Todies feed from different surfaces; the most common is leaves and the least common is the ground. The act of perching between foraging flights lasts for an average of 9.0 seconds and reach an average of 1.0 captures per minute in rain forests and 1.7 captures per minute in dense thicket habitats.

The nestling's diet is different. Adults primarily feed their nestlings with the insect families Homoptera (30%), Coleoptera (25%) and Lepidoptera (16%), but they have been found to supplement the hatchling's diet with Clusia krugiana fruit (18.4%). Apart from insects and seeds, the adults also feed their nestlings frogs and lizards, although between those two, frogs are more common.


The species has single broods and is monogamous. Its courtship reaches its peak between February and May and occurs in the breeding area, not far from the nesting site. The ritual consists of chasing each other while rattling the wings. Both male and females achieve a "flank" display before copulating, where they fluff out their flanks causing a spherical ball appearance. The female lifts her tail and enters into a submissive posture to facilitate copulation. During courtship their vocalization becomes agitated and accelerated.[7]

Nesting and incubatio

The Puerto Rican tody has an unusual nesting technique. During and eight week period, the male and female todies excavate a 25 to 35 cm long, narrow burrow with a right angle in an earth bank. They create their nest at the end of this burrow. This process usually occurs between the months of February and June, before the start of the wet season. Females start laying their eggs 3 to 4 weeks after the nest has been completed.[The female lays 1 to 4 bright white eggs, with an average of 2.3 eggs, on consecutive nights. The weight of each egg is equivalent to about one quarter of the females body weight. The responsibility of incubating the eggs is shared by both the male and the female for an average of 21 days, and later on other adult todies (usually previous offsprings) may assist in the development process of the chicks after the chicks have fledged. If nestlings are killed, as well as during incubation and brooding, the mate will bring prey items to the nest.

The clutch size and breeding productivity of this species seems to be greater in shaded coffee plantations compared to species in secondary forests in the north-central area of the island.[2] Todies use half the burrows they excavate. Of all the burrows excavated in their territory, 62.5% and 33% of the nests in dense thickets and rainforest habitats are used respectively. Even though every year new burrows are excavated, 89% of them are 10 meters away from the old ones.


Puerto Rican todies are rarely seen on the ground; they usually prefer perching, unless when nesting. When todies are on the ground they hop. An unusual fact is that to enter their burrow they have a favorite perching spot on which they land before heading to their nest The Puerto Rican tody, unlike other Coraciiformes, roosts alone in trees both during the day and at nighttime.

Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) in El Yunque National Forest.jpg


The Puerto Rican tody has been researched extensively because of its unusual body temperature, body temperature control and temperature control abilities. Puerto Rican todies exhibit lower body temperatures than other todies, and have also exhibited heterothermy over a range of temperatures. Most coraciiformes have a body temperature of 40 °C, but Puerto Rican todies can maintain a body temperature of 36.7 °C. This allows them to spend 33% less energy than other Coraciiformes. Puerto Rican Todies can lower their body temperatures by 14 °C.

This physiological response varies by both season and sex; only females in breeding season are capable of becoming torpid, although not all individuals become torpid at the same body temperature. During this torpid stage, they are unresponsive, have their eyes closed and erected plumage, but are capable of taking flight soon after an increase in temperature.

Status and conservation

This tody is a common endemic species to the island of Puerto Rico. It is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN During the past, the Puerto Rican tody suffered from human predation as it was captured as food. Currently it suffers from nest predation by introduced Indian mongooses.] Other threats include habitat destruction and the transition of shaded coffee plantations into sun coffee plantations

Puerto Rican Owl

The Puerto Rican owl (Gymnasio nudipes) or múcaro común (Spanish via Taino), formerly known as the Puerto Rican screech owl, is a mid-sized "true owl" in the subfamily Striginae. It is endemic to the island of Puerto Rico

Taxonomy and systematics

The Puerto Rican owl was formally described in 1800 by the French zoologist François Marie Daudin from specimens collected in Puerto Rico. He coined the binomial name Strix nudipes. The species was subsequently placed either in the genus Otus with the scops owls or in Megascops with the screech owls. It is now the only species assigned to the genus Gymnasio that was introduced in 1854 specifically for the Puerto Rican owl by Charles Lucien Bonaparte.The genus name combines the Ancient Greek gumnos meaning "bare" or "naked" with the Latin asio, a type of eared owl. The specific epithet nudipes is Latin meaning "bare-footed".

A species endemic to the Virgin Islands was described in 1860 by George Newbold Lawrence under the binomial Gymnoglaux newtoni. This is treated as a subspecies of the Puerto Rican owl , but its identity as a separate subspecies has been questioned because it is based on minor differences in plumage. The taxon is probably extinct, as surveys of the Virgin Islands conducted since 1995 have failed to detect any Puerto Rican owls.

molecular phylogenetic study of the owls published in 2019 found that the Puerto Rican owl is a sister species to the flammulated owl (Psiloscops flammeolus), a migratory species in North America.


The Puerto Rican owl is 20 to 25 cm (7.9 to 9.8 in) long with a wingspan of 154 to 171 cm (61 to 67 in). It weighs 100 to 170 g (3.5 to 6.0 oz), with females being slightly heavier than males. It has a rounded head with no "ear" tufts. It has three color morphs; the brown one predominates, the rufous one is fairly common, and the gray one is rare. The brown morph has brown upperparts with irregular paler brown bars and vermiculation. The tail is also brown with paler vermiculation. The wing coverts have some whitish spots. Its facial discs have narrow light and dark brown bars; the supercilium and lores are white. The underparts are mostly white with much brown or dusky streaking, barring, and vermiculation. The belly and undertail coverts are usually plain white. The legs are not feathered, which is unusual in owls, and led to another former common name, the Puerto Rican bare-legged owl. The eye is brown, the bill greenish yellow, and the legs and feet pale brown to grayish yellow. The rufous morph replaces the brown with pale reddish brown or ochre buff. Putative subspecies G. n. newtoni has somewhat paler upperparts and less heavily streaked underparts than the nominate.

Distribution and habitat

The Puerto Rican owl is found throughout the main island of Puerto Rico. The putative subspecies G. n. newtoni certainly occurred on St. CroixSt. John, and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands but has not been positively recorded there since the mid 1800s. It possibly occurred on other Virgin Islands and on Vieques and Culebra, but no documentation supports those assertions. On Puerto Rico its primary natural habitat is humid lowland forest but it also occurs in dry forest and urban areas. "Any small territory with available nest cavities is ideal for this species."[5]


The Puerto Rican owl is a nocturnal hunter. Its primary prey is large arthropods such as cockroachesgrasshoppers, and moths. It also regularly eats small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, rodents, and birds.


The Puerto Rican owl's breeding season spans from April to June. It nests in cavities in trees and lays a clutch of up to three white eggs. Little else is known about its breeding phenology.


The Puerto Rican owl's territorial song is "a short, relatively deep, somewhat guttural, toad-like quavering trill...rrurrrrrrr." It also makes "a soft cackling gu-gu and "a loud coo-coo"; the latter call provides the local colloquial name "cuckoo bird".


The IUCN has assessed the Puerto Rican owl as being of Least Concern. Though it has a relatively small range, its population exceeds 10,000 mature individuals and is believed to be stable. No specific threats have been identified.[1] Its disappearance from the Virgin Islands is thought to have happened because the native forests there were mostly cleared by the end of the nineteenth century.

Puerto Rican Woodpecker

The Puerto Rican carpenter (Melanerpes portoricensis) is one of the five species of carpenters of the genus Melanerpes present in the Antilles. This particular species is endemic to Puerto Rico and Vieques. The colors of the carpenter from Puerto Rico are white, with dark blue that resemble the colors of the Puerto Rico flag.

A medium-sized woodpecker that often forms small flocks and can be found in most forested habitats. No other species in its range has a bright dark blue back and a pink forehead. It produces soft drummers, called strong ones, that often reveal its presence. More commonly it gives an emphatic "Pik!" Which is often repeated, sometimes in a quick series.


  1.  BirdLife International ( 2004 ). «Melanerpes portoricensis»Red List of threatened species of the IUCN 2006 ( in English )ISSN 2307-8235. Consulted on May 11, 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

Grey kingbird

The gray kingbird or grey kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis), also known as pitirrepetchary or white-breasted kingbird, is a passerine bird. The species was first described on the island of Hispaniola, then called Santo Domingo, thus the dominicensis name.


This tyrant flycatcher is found in tall trees and shrubs, including the edges of savanna and marshes. It makes a flimsy cup nest in a tree. The female incubates the typical clutch of two cream eggs, which are marked with reddish brown.


The adult gray kingbird is an average-sized kingbird. It measures 23 cm (9.1 in) in length and weighs from 37 to 52 g (1.3 to 1.8 oz).The upperparts are gray, with brownish wings and tail, and the underparts are white with a gray tinge to the chest. The head has a concealed yellow crown stripe, and a dusky mask through the eyes. The dark bill is heavier than that of the related, slightly smaller, tropical kingbird. The sexes are similar, but young birds have rufous edges on the wing coverts, rump and tail.


The call is a loud rolling trill, pipiri, pipiri, which is the reason behind many of its local onomatopoeiac names, like pestigre or pitirre, in the Spanish-speaking Greater Antilles, or petchary in some of the English-speaking islands.

Diet and behaviour

Gray kingbirds wait on an exposed perch high in a tree, occasionally sallying out to feed on insects (such as beesdragonflieswasps and beetles), their staple diet. They also eat small fruits and berries depending on its availability. Fruits and berries make up one fifth of their daily diet. Spiders and small lizards are occasionally eaten.

Like other kingbirds, these birds aggressively defend their territory against intruders, including mammals and much larger birds such as crested caracarasred-tailed hawks and broad-winged hawks by mobbing.


It is found in increasing numbers in the state of Florida, and is more often found inland though it had been previously restricted to the coast. It breeds from the extreme southeast of the United States, mainly in Florida, as well as Central America, and through the West Indies south to VenezuelaTrinidad and Tobagothe Guianas, and Colombia. Northern populations are migratory, wintering on the Caribbean coast of Central America and northern South America. Several vagrant populations are known to exist in the Northeastern United States.

Loggerhead kingbird

The loggerhead kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus) is a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae.

Distribution and habitat

It is found in throughout the West Indies, in the BahamasCayman IslandsCubaHispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), JamaicaPuerto Rico, and, very rarely, in southern Florida. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.


This large kingbird measures 23 cm (9.1 in) long. It is dark grey above and white below. The head is black while the throat and cheeks are white. Like many kingbird species, the loggerhead possesses an orange or yellow crown patch, but it is well concealed and rarely visible in the field. The tail is squared and ends with a buffy-white band.


It feeds on flying insects, small fruit and berries, and small lizards

Puerto Rican tanager

The Puerto Rican tanager (Nesospingus speculiferus) is a small passerine bird endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico. It is the only member of the genus Nesospingus and has historically been placed in the tanager family, but recent studies indicate it as either belonging in its own family Nesospingidae or as being a member of Phaenicophilidae. Its closest relatives are likely the spindalises (family Spindalidae, sometimes also considered a member of the Phaenicophilidae). The Puerto Rican tanager is known to locals as llorosa, which means 'cryer'.



The Puerto Rican tanager is a small passerine, typically measuring between 18 and 20 cm (7–8 in) in length and weighing around 36 g. Both males and females are olive-brown above with pale grey to white underparts. Adults typically have faint dusky striping on the beast and pure white throats. Adults also have a conspicuous white spot on the wing and a dark crown and face which obscures the eye. Undertail coverts are pale fulvous. Males have a brown-black maxilla and white mandible and females have entirely black bills. Immatures are similar in appearance to adults, but are brownish underneath and lack the white wing spot.


The most frequently heard noise emitted by the Puerto Rican tanager is a harsh call note often described as a chewp or chuck. This is often heard while feeding in flocks and may be extended into a longer chi-chi-chit of varying lengths. The breeding song of the species is light, sweet rapidly sung tswet-tswet-tswet-tswet. Other interaction calls include a soft sigh similar to a heavy exhale and a light tsip-tsip-tsip.


Puerto Rican tanagers are known to roost communally in large bamboo clumps or palms. They are typically the nucleus species in mixed feeding flocks, especially in the winter when neotropical migrants are present in Puerto Rico. During the breeding season, tanagers become very territorial and defend nesting territories. Puerto Rican tanagers are strong flyers, but don't often fly long distances, preferring to make short flights through the canopy or brush.


Puerto Rican tanagers feed mainly on invertebrates and fruits. The species has been reported to occasionally consume lizards and the nestling of other birds, but most of its diet consists of spiders, insects, centipedes, snails, and various fruits. Fruit consumption is determined by season, but they often feed on fruits of the genus Cecropia and ClusiaEleutherodactylus tree frogs, such as the common coquí, are also an important component of the Puerto Rican tanager's diet.


The breeding season lasts from January to late-July, though individuals have been recorded breeding at other times of the year. During this time the males become strongly territorial. Nests are located at the ends of branches 2–10 m off the ground and are usually cup-shaped and approximately 9.2 cm across. They are typically constructed of vines, ferns, roots, and palm fibers and lined with feathers and palm leaves. Females have a clutch of 2-3 elliptical white eggs with reddish-brown splotches.


Communal roosting makes the species an easy target for owls on the island, such as the Puerto Rican owl. They are also a common prey item of the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk.

Distribution and habitat

The Puerto Rican tanager is restricted to mid- to high-elevation (300–1350 m) montane forests on the island of Puerto Rico. It typically inhabits mature and second growth montane subtropical rain and wet forests, as well as subtropical lower montane forests. Much of the population is concentrated on the eastern and western sides of the central cordillera of Puerto Rico, with populations in El Yunque National Forest and Maricao State Forest. Deforestation has contributed to fragmentation of the population, which once stretched across the entire central cordillera, but is now confined to the preserved areas and higher peaks

Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk

The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk(Accipiter striatus venator)falcón de sierra or gavilán pecho rufo in Spanish, is an endemic subspecies of the North American sharp-shinned hawk, occurring only in Puerto Rico. Discovered in 1912 and described as a distinct sub-species, it has been placed on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service list of endangered species because of its rapidly dwindling population in Puerto Rico. It can be found in the Toro Negro State Forest.


Perched on tree limb.

The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk is a small forest hawk measuring approximately 28–33 cm (11–13 in). It has a dark blue/slate gray upper area with reddish-orange stripes on its breast. Immature birds have a brownish hue above and are striped below. It has broad wings and a proportionally long, squared-off tail, enabling it to turn and maneuver rapidly when chasing small birds through the forest canopy. The subspecies shows characteristics of sexual dimorphism, with the female almost 50% larger than the male. This allows each sex to focus their predatory efforts on different sized prey.


The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk feeds primarily on small birds ranging in size from tanagers to hummingbirds. It requires a home range of approximately 150 hectares (370 acres). Females lay two to three white eggs in March or April and incubate them while the male searches for food. Average incubation period is approximately 32 days. Fledglings leave the nest 30 days after hatching.


Restricted to five isolated mountain forest areas within the subtropical lower mountain wet forests and subtropical wet forest life zones of the main island of Puerto Rico, the subspecies has suffered a 40% decline in population since 1992. As of 1997, its estimated population is approximately 150 birds. Human causes in population decline are from deforestation due to road construction, power lines, and communications facilities installations which have significantly reduced its habitat area. Natural disasters such as hurricanes also contribute significantly to population declines. Nest failures due to fledgling infestation with botfly larvae, warble fly larvae, and nest predation by the pearly-eyed thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) have also contributed to its population reduction. Although an overall population of 129 birds has been reported on the island (Delannoy, 1992), in El Yunque National Forest, the only two sharp-shinned hawks sighted at that time were a solitary territorial pair that were sighted in the south-central part of the forest. After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Peregrine Fund found only 19 sharp-shinneds on the island, and has launched a crisis fund campaign to solicit donations to help preserve the species.



Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawks select plantation and natural forest nest sites with similar vegetative structure and mountainous topography. Closed canopies and dense vegetation are sought by the hawks in the selection of nesting sites. They place their platform nests below the canopy on horizontal branches usually against the trunk or in crotches away from the trunk. Construction of nesting platforms usually begin in January after a breeding pair remain at their nesting sites permanently. Both males and females become more active in the nest building process one month before eggs are laid. Egg laying usually occurs during March and April and a second clutch may be laid rarely from May to July. Second clutches are only laid in the event the first brood of eggs is lost. Typical incubation periods last for one month. Nesting period ends once the juveniles fly short distances from the nest and roost in trees 10 to 15 meters (32 to 48 ft) from the nest. More than half of fledging failures are caused by warble fly larvae.

Courtship and foraging


Most activity during early occupancy of nesting sites consisted of courtship displays and territorial flights. Both the males and females partake in courtship displays which typically last from sunrise until mid-morning. In February, females stop foraging and remain near the nesting site. Only the female provides incubation and the role of the male is to provide all food to the female.[7]


The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk's diet consists predominantly of small birds the size of tanagers, 30 grams (1.1 ounces) or smaller. Due to the larger size of the female, it is possible that some thrashers, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) are taken with some regularity.

Jamaican red-tailed hawk (guaraguao)

The Jamaican red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis jamaicensis) is the nominate subspecies of the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), a bird of prey of North America. The subspecies B. j. jamaicensis occurs in the northern West Indies, including JamaicaHispaniolaPuerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles, but not the Bahamas or Cuba, where it is replaced by the Cuban red-tailed hawk (B. j. solitudinis). El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico, holds some of the highest known density of Jamaican red-tailed hawks. The bird is referred to as a guaraguao (a Taino term) in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.


This is the smallest-bodied subspecies of the red-tailed hawk. In males, the wing chord can range from 330 to 339 mm (13.0 to 13.3 in), averaging 334.9 mm (13.19 in), and, in females, it ranges from 350 to 371 mm (13.8 to 14.6 in), averaging 364.9 mm (14.37 in). Additionally, males and females average 194.8 and 210 mm (7.67 and 8.27 in) in tail length, 81.3 and 83.4 mm (3.20 and 3.28 in) in tarsal length and 26.1 and 28.2 mm (1.03 and 1.11 in) in culmen length. In terms of body mass, two Puerto Rican males were found to average 795 g (1.753 lb) and two females averaged 1,023 g (2.255 lb).Although claimed as the most sexually dimorphic subspecies by size, neither body mass nor linear dimensions seem to support this. This subspecies has less mottling than northern red-tails on the back, lacks the white tip at the end of the rectrices and, most characteristically, has a very broad, but raggedly edged, black belly band.

Puerto Rican Spindalis

The Puerto Rican spindalis (Spindalis portoricensis) is a bird endemic to the island of Puerto Rico, where it is commonly known as reina mora. The species is widely distributed throughout the island and is an important part of the Puerto Rican ecosystem because of its help in seed dispersal and plant reproduction. The Puerto Rican spindalis is the unofficial national bird[N 1] of Puerto Rico.


The Puerto Rican spindalis was originally classified as Spindalis zena portoricensis, making it a subspecies of the western spindalis (Spindalis zena). In 1997, an article was published which presented an extensive analysis of the genus Spindalis. The report concluded, based on differences in weight, color, pattern, distribution, and voice, that a split of S. zena was necessary. Four distinct species were identified—Spindalis dominicensisSpindalis nigricephalaSpindalis portoricensis and Spindalis zenaS. zena was also subdivided into five subspecies: S. z. pretreiS. z. salviniS. z. benedictiS. z. townsendi and S. z. zena. Specifically, the difference in vocalization, and morphology, distinguish S. portoricensis from S. dominicensis.


The Puerto Rican spindalis exhibits sexual dimorphism with males being brightly colored and females being dully colored. Males are green colored above with an orange neck and chest. They have a black head with two white stripes running across it, with one above and one below the eyes. The tail and wings are gray to black with small white stripes at the tips. In contrast, the female is a dull olive-green color with slightly noticeable white stripes. Sexual dimorphism is also noticeable in weight and size. Females are slightly heavier but smaller in length than males. The male's weight ranges from 22.5 to 37.0 grams with an average of 30.8 grams while the female's ranges from 28.0 to 41.1 grams with an average of 33.5 grams. The length of the male's wings ranges from 82 to 88.5 mm with an average of 85.2 mm while the female's range from 80 to 85.5 mm with an average of 82.6 mm. The length of the male's tail ranges from 59 to 68 mm with an average of 63.3 mm while the female's range from 56 to 65.5 mm with an average of 60.6 mm.

Distribution and habitat

Bird count of the Puerto Rican spindalis (2004)

The Puerto Rican spindalis is currently found more commonly in plantations than in their natural habitat, the forests of Maricao and the El Yunque National Forest. It may also be found in gardens, scavenging for flower nectar, and other areas where fruits are grown. It can be attracted by a sugar solution. It is distributed throughout the entire main island of Puerto Rico and is rarely found above 1000 meters in elevation.

Ecology and behavior

The Puerto Rican spindalis are usually found in pairs but may travel in small flocks. These birds also engage in a behavior called mobbing. This is when a flock of birds, from one or more species, attack a known predator, usually to defend their eggs or hatchlings. Such behavior has been observed being directed against the Puerto Rican boa by immature Puerto Rican spindalis.

External audio
Bird Call
audio icon Puerto Rican spindalis vocals[dead link]

The vocalization of the Puerto Rican spindalis is not as complex as that of other Spindalis species; only the songs of S. dominicensis are less elaborate. As with all Spindalis, the males emit high pitched sounds at 8 kHz or higher, usually from treetops high above the ground. Females, on the other hand, sing "whisper songs" usually from dense areas close to the ground. The most common vocalization is described as a "continuing series of high-pitched, thin, sibilant notes, given in a rhythmic pattern."[citation needed] Other vocalizations include a fast tweet and a short chi chi chi.


The Puerto Rican spindalis commonly eats fruit from Schefflera morototoniCecropia schreberianaCordia sulcataFicus species, Phoradendron species and Inga vera trees, with fruit from S. morototoni being the most important. Because of the difficulty of digestion and the small amount of energy that fruit and leaves provide, these birds also include insects and small lizards as part of their diet.


The Puerto Rican spindalis builds cup-shaped nests from various plant matter. Two to four eggs are laid at a time. Eggs are usually light blue in color with brown patches around the large end, but regional variations are known to exist. They measure, on average, 23.7 by 17.3 mm.

Riccordia maugaeus

The buzzer of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican emerald or Puerto Rican emerald(Riccordia maugaeus),is a species of bird apodiform of the family Trochilidae — hummingbirds — previously located in the genus Chlorostilbon. Is endemic of archipelago of Puerto Rico.

Distribution and habitat

It is distributed by
habitats throughout Puerto Rico, from mangroves coastal to forested mountain peaks, in open forests, coffee plantations, from sea level to 800 m of altitude.


This small iridescent green buzzer measures 9 to 10 cm. It is easy to identify by its small size, bright green body, forked tail and silky head without a crest. The male is green in the back and chest, with a black tail, while the female is white in chest and the tail feathers have a white tip.6


Original description

The species R. maugaeus was first described by naturalists French Jean-Baptiste Audebert and Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1801 under the scientific name Trochilus maugaeus; its type locality is: « Puerto Rico ».


The generic female name «Riccordia» comes from the specific name Ornismya ricordii whose epithet «ricordii» commemorates the doctor and naturalist French Alexandre Ricord ( born in 1798 ); and the species name «maugaeus» commemorates the zoologist and French gatherer René Maugé de Cely ( died in 1802 ).


The present species, together with Chlorostilbon swainsonii and C. ricordii were previously located in the genre Chlorostilbon. A study genetic-molecular de McGuire et al. ( 2014 ) showed that Chlorostilbon it was polyphyleticIn the proposed classification to create a group monophyletic, these species as well as the species Cyanophaia bicolor, which was shown to be embedded in the clade formed by these species of Chlorostilbon cited, were transferred to the resurrected gender Riccordia which had been proposed in 1854 by the ornithologist German Ludwig Reichenbach with Ornismya ricordii as type species. This change taxonomic was followed by the main classifications.

Puerto Rican Oriole

The Puerto Rican oriole (Icterus portoricensis) is a species of bird in the family Icteridae, and genus Icterus or New World blackbirds. This species is a part of a subgroup of orioles (Clade A) that includes the North American orchard orioleIcterus spurius, and the hooded orioleIcterus cucullatus.

The Puerto Rican oriole was previously grouped with Cuban oriole (Icterus melanopsis), Hispaniolan oriole (Icterus dominicensis), and Bahama oriole (Icterus northropi) as a single species, (Icterus dominicensis). In 2010, all four species became recognized as full species by the American Ornithologists' Union.


The oriole is endemic to Puerto Rico. Its natural habitats are the tropical forests, mangrove forests, and plantations. The bird also shows a natural preference for nesting in palm trees.[3]


After breeding, adult Puerto Rican orioles and their young will remain together in a family group. It primarily forages in dense vegetation looking for a wide range of foods that includes fruits, insects, lizards, and nuts and grains.


Males and females are similar in size and color. Males weigh about 41.0 grams and females weigh about 36.6 g. The average wingspan of males and females is 96.9 and 92.1 mm, respectively.[4] In 2008, Hofmann, Cronin, and Omland, conducted a study that showed there is little color difference in the feathers between the males and females of many tropical orioles, including the Puerto Rican oriole. This means that males and females both have elaborate colors, in contrast many temperate-zoned birds have brightly colored males and dull colored females.

Adults are black with yellow on their lower belly and shoulder. The closely related Hispaniolan oriole (Icterus dominicensis) and Bahama oriole (Icterus northropi) have more yellow on their bodies, but, the Cuban oriole (Icterus melanopsis) has more black.

Juveniles are tawny colored with an olive tint to their rump. Puerto Rican orioles develop their bright colors as they age. The tawny color offers a selective advantage to the adolescents since by helping with camouflage in the dense forest. This is likely the ancestral state for the genus Icterus.


Both males and females of the Puerto Rican oriole sing with no obvious difference in song structure. The song of the Puerto Rican oriole is composed of clicks or “high pitched whistles”  and has a frequency range between 3.6 and 5.3 kHz. The bird combines between 15 and 27 different notes to make up their song. Due to gender and geographic bias in studying predominantly male samples of temperate-zone birds, which do not exhibit female song, it has historically been assumed that only males of the Puerto Rican orioles sing. However, in 2009, Price, Lanyon, and Omland conducted a study that shows that both males and females of many tropical orioles sing. This has been substantiated by 2016 documentation of female song in Puerto Rican orioles by Campbell et al., proving that song is not a method of communication solely possessed by malesThe research theorizes that the prevalence of female song correlates to a tropical lifestyle wherein there is increased female-female competition and territory defense that necessitates such communication. Additionally, ancestral state reconstruction of the Caribbean oriole clade shows that female song is an ancestral trait.


Most members of this genus are thought to be monogamous, establishing lifelong bonds between males and females. The Puerto Rican oriole breeds primarily from February through July. It lays about three eggs per clutch.[3] The eggs are white with a bluish hue with light lavender-gray-brown speckles and spots.[4] The nests are structured as a basket made from woven fibers of palm material, and are usually suspended from the underside of a palm leaf by two points. One threat to oriole nesting is parasitism by the shiny cowbird, especially in coastal habitats

Puerto Rican Bulfinch (Comeñame)

The Puerto Rican bullfinch (Melopyrrha portoricensis) is a small bullfinch tanager endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico. The species can be commonly found in heavy forests throughout Puerto Rico, except on the easternmost tip of the island. It consumes seeds, fruits, insects, and spiders. The nest is spherical, with an entrance on the side. Typically three light green eggs are laid.


The Puerto Rican bullfinch has black feathers with orange areas above the eyes, around its throat, and underneath the tail's base. The species measures from 17 to 19 cm and weighs approximately 32 grams.


The presumably extinct St. Kitts bullfinch (M. grandis), endemic to St. Kitts, was formerly considered a subspecies.


Bullfinches are considered to be mainly frugivorous (and appear to prefer fruit when available) but they also consume other plant and animal material. Even though the diet of the nestling bullfinches is unknown, most frugivorous bird species feed large quantities of animal matter to their young, especially during the early portion of the nestling stage. In later stages of development, it is likely that the chicks are also fed fruit and insects. Because of their behavioral flexibility when it comes to food consumption, foraging methods, and foraging site preferences, they are considered a generalist species

Distribution and habitat

Bullfinches are believed to be most common in dense mountain forests but can also be found in lower forests with dense undergrowth, coffee plantations, thick brushy areas, dry coastal thickets, and rarely in mangroves (6) (7). They have also been described as edge or open-canopy species. Even though it has a widespread distribution over the island, it is suspected that there has been a reduction in range and overall population.


It is thought that the main breeding time for the Puerto Rican bullfinch is from March to June within the subtropical moist forest and subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest (6). Puerto Rican bullfinches seem to nest irregularly throughout the year in the wetter forests of Puerto Rico, where seasonality is much less pronounced. However, in the dry forests of southwestern Puerto Rico, most species restrict their breeding to the spring and early summer rainy season of approximately late April to July. During the dry season from December to April, resources are probably too limiting for birds to successfully rear young in most years (5). Furthermore, it is hypothesized that bullfinches breed opportunistically in the dry forest as well. Therefore it might be possible that bullfinches and other species attempt to breed again during the shorter annual rainy peak in September and October (5).

The Puerto Rican bullfinch has been observed exhibiting cooperative breeding behavior in the Guanica region. The observation consisted of juveniles collecting nesting material along with adults and adding material to nests (5).

This species usually nests close to the ground on trees or shrubs (9). All species of the genus Melopyrrha, which is endemic to the Caribbean, are described as constructing domed or globular nests and laying clutches of 2–3 dull greenish eggs with dark markings (10). The bird builds a spherical structure with woven plants materials and sticks. The inner part is usually lined with pieces of bark. There is a side entrance, but the nest may also be domed or totally enclosed with side-opening. It is placed in tree fork, on tree branch or in tree cavity, but also in shrub or clump of grass (11). From observations, it is thought that the female incubates for 14 days. At hatching, the chicks are naked for 3-4 days, after which the flight-feathers start to grow 10 days later and they fledge 14-15 days after hatching (11).

Nest predation seems to account for most of the nest failures for the species. In the region of Guanica, the pearly-eyed thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) appears to be the most frequent predator. Other possible next predators include red-legged thrushes (Turdus plumbeus), Puerto Rican racers (Borikenophis portoricensis), anoles (Anolis spp.), small Indian mongooses (Urva auropunctata), green iguanas (Iguana iguana), feral cats (Felis catus) and black rats (Rattus rattus) (5). Nets success is believed to be higher when there is more fruit availability, increased precipitation and decreased nest height (5).

Coccyzus vieilloti (pajaro Bobo Mayor)

Taxonomía y etimología

Fue descrito científicamente por el zoólogo francés Charles Lucien Bonaparte en 1850. Su nombre cientítico hace honor al ornitólogo francés Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot. Inicialmente se emplazaba en el género Saurothera (del griego «comedor de lagartos») al que pertenecían las cuatro especies de cucos lagarteros de las islas del Caribe, pero posteriormente todas ellas se trasladaron al género Coccyzus (AOU 2006). No se reconocen subespecies.


Mide de 40 a 48 cm de largo y pesa una media de 80 gramos.3​ El plumaje de sus partes superiores es pardo grisáceo, su cabeza es gris y su garganta y cuello blanquecinos, mientras que su vientre es canela amarillento. Se caracteriza por su larga cola cuyas rémiges laterales tienen las puntas blancas, lo que le proporcionan un aspecto de listado en la parte inferior de la cola. Su pico es largo y estrecho, con la punta ligeramente curvada hacia abajo, que muestra la parte superior oscura y la inferior amarillenta. Presentan anillos perioculares rojos.

Distribución y hábitat

El cuco lagartero portorriqueño se encuentra en los bosques de puerto Rico (es común en bosques estatales de GuánicaGuajataca y Vega y en el bosque nacional El Yunque) y las plantaciones de café de toda la isla.


Se puede observar a esta especie en el sotobosque en busca de lagartijas, que son el principal componente de su dieta (aproximadamente el 75%). Además consume grandes insectos, orugas y arañas. Se desplazan despacio por el bosque en busca de presas. Estos cucos no vuelan haciendo círculos ni se lanzan en picado sino que normalmente se vuelan en línea recta.

No practican el parasitismo de puesta como otros cucos. Construyen un nido de ramitas en lo alto de un árbol en el que suelen poner una media de 3 huevos.

turkey vulture (Cathartes aura)

The turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) is the most widespread of the New World vultures.[2] One of three species in the genus Cathartes of the family Cathartidae, the turkey vulture ranges from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. It inhabits a variety of open and semi-open areas, including subtropical forests, shrublands, pastures, and deserts.[1]

Like all New World vultures, it is not closely related to the Old World vultures of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The two groups strongly resemble each other because of convergent evolution; natural selection often leads to similar body plans in animals that adapt independently to similar conditions.

The turkey vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion.[3] It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals.[3] In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses.[4] It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation.[5] It has very few natural predators.[6] In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.[7]


Cathartes aura is the scientific name of the turkey vulture. It is also known in some North American regions as buzzard or turkey buzzard and in some areas of the Caribbean as the John crow or carrion crow.[8]


The turkey vulture received its common name from the resemblance of the adult's bald red head and its dark plumage to that of the male wild turkey, while the name "vulture" is derived from the Latin word vulturus, meaning "tearer", and is a reference to its feeding habits.The word buzzard is used by North Americans to refer to this bird, yet in the Old World that term refers to members of the genus Buteo.The turkey vulture was first formally described by Carl Linnaeus as Vultur aura in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae, and characterised as "V. fuscogriseus, remigibus nigris, rostro albo" ("brown-gray vulture, with black wing flight feathers and a white beak") It is a member of the family Cathartidae, along with the other six species of New World vultures, and included in the genus Cathartes, along with the greater yellow-headed vulture and the lesser yellow-headed vulture. Like other New World vultures, the turkey vulture has a diploid chromosome number of 80.

The taxonomic placement of the turkey vulture and the remaining six species of New World vultures has been in flux. Though both are similar in appearance and have similar ecological roles, the New World and Old World vultures evolved from different ancestors in different parts of the world. Some earlier authorities suggested that the New World vultures were more closely related to storks. More recent authorities maintained their overall position in the order Falconiformes along with the Old World vultures or place them in their own order, Cathartiformes.

However, recent genetic studies indicate that neither New World nor Old World vultures are close to falcons, nor are New World vultures close to storks. Both are basal members of the clade Afroaves, with Old World vultures comprising several groups within the family Accipitridae, also containing eagles, kites, and hawks, while New World vultures in Cathartiformes are a sister group to Accipitriformes (containing the osprey and secretarybird along with Accipitridae]).

There are five subspecies of turkey vulture:

Antrostomus noctitherus (guabayro)

The guabairo or Puerto Rican nightjar(Antrostomus noctittherus) is a species of bird caprimulgiform of the family of the nightjar ( Caprimulgidae ). Inhabits coastal dry forests in certain areas of southwestern Puerto Rico.

It was described from bones found in a cavern and a single specimen captured in 1888. The species was considered to have extinct, this specimen being the last specimen of a "prehistoric" bird". However, in 1961 it was determined that it is still existed; since their presence had gone unnoticed because of their cautious habits and because their habitat had not been investigated.

The current population is estimated to be between 1,400 to 2,000 individuals and it is considered that it will remain stable as long as its habitat is not altered and the presence of predators is controlled - mongoosesrats and catsThe classification of in danger mainly due to the fact that the special habitat on which it depends is highly fragmented in degraded and inadequate areas; reason why its population is distributed in highly dissociated groups.

The areas in which it lives are being protected and it has been proposed to link some of these areas by reforestation with native species plants. However, a planned windmill field that would be located near Guayanilla has obtained a permit in exceptional form from the Endangered Species Act under the argument of permission of "incidental takeit has been indicated that up to 5% of the guabairo population could die from collisions against wind turbines.

Anthracothorax viridis Zubador verde

El zumbador verde​ o mango portorriqueño​ (Anthracothorax viridis), también mango verde, colibrí cerde, mango puertorriqueño verde o zumbador verde de Puerto Rico es una especie grande de colibrí en la familia Trochilidae.


Se encuentra generalmente en las regiones montañosas de la isla, a menudo en el café y otro tipo de plantaciones.


Por lo general, se alimentan del néctar en flores de Heliconia.​ La cola de las hembras adultas muestran color rojo-marrón muy oscuro por la parte inferior y termina la cola con una bien diminuta mancha blanca, la cola de los machos es azul oscuro. La coloración dorsal y el vientre de las hembras es similar a los machos con brillo menos intenso. Las coloración general de cuerpo es levemente menos intensa en la parte dorsal. La coloración no es uniforme entre individuo e individuo, varían desde color verde intenso hasta violeta-negro.

Toro Negro Bird Watching Digital log


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