Cuban tody

Todus multicolor

TAXONOMY

Todus multicolor John Gould, 1837, Cuba. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Todier de Cuba; German: Vielfarbentodi; Spanish: Barrancoli Cubano.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS 4.3 in (10.8 cm), wing chord 1.7 in (4.4 cm), estimated weight 0.21-0.23 oz (6-6.5 g). Most brilliantly colored tody, with smallest bill. Rosy flanks, yellow undertail coverts. Sky-blue cheek patch and wrists; yellow base of bill, whitish belly. Yellow-green, almost iridescent eyebrow.

DISTRIBUTION

Cuba, including Isle of Pines (Isle of Youth) and larger cays off Cuba's north coast.

HABITAT

Ecologically adaptable. Locally common in xeric (extremely dry), moist, and wet forests; mountains; and lowlands, especially in gullies. Only tody inhabiting shoreline vegetation. Highest elevation recorded 8,184 ft (2,494 m) (Sierra Maestra).

Todus multicolor

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Todus multicolor

Resident

No recorded movements. FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Primarily insectivorous, plus spiders and lizards. Mean foraging height 9 ft (2.6 m) in arid scrub.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous with striking courtship, exhibiting bright pink flanks. Smallest eggs in family. Breeds April to June. Excavates burrows in earth banks, rotten logs, natural limestone cavities, and (rarely) cave entrances. On Cayo Coco, uses sand at entrances of crab burrows.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. In 1970, common in protected Guantanamo Naval Base. Cuba's poverty and unstable economy may affect tody populations. Recent pesticide use has reduced tody populations.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

May be eaten in economically depressed areas and, like all todies, a delight to young and old. ♦

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