Conservation status

As a family, todies seem reasonably secure. Overall, they remain common in natural habitats with high insect abundance. Only the narrow-billed tody is considered Near Threatened. Todies have partly benefited from human activities, excavating burrows in road cuttings and trailside banks. Clear-cutting and urbanization spell doom. They also cannot adapt to gardens, orchards, or pastures.

Little information is available concerning increasing pesticide use. On Cuba's Cayo Coco, currently undergoing rapid tourism expansion, malathion is sprayed aerially in wetlands and forests; hand-held fogging sprayers are also commonly used around hotels to combat mosquitoes. Pesticides decimate tody populations.

Coffee plantations formerly thrived under shady, indigenous trees. Here, todies enjoyed healthy populations and controlled insect numbers. From the 1980s on, international corporations discovered that growing coffee in direct sunlight was more profitable, although the beans were more bitter. Todies cannot adapt to modern coffee plantations, where pesticides are used liberally.

Although natural predators on wildlife are inevitable, introduced predators present greater threats. Todies are no exception; their numbers are everywhere seriously reduced by Indian mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus), voracious mammals that destroy approximately 80% of tody burrows in Puerto Rico's rainforests. As the world's human population increases exponentially, human predation also increases. Many West Indians are sufficiently poor that they seek supplemen tal protein, however scant. Because tody nest holes are common along roads and trails, they succumb to such predation.

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