Three major factors limit tody distribution: vegetation, insect abundance, and territory requirements—especially the availability of suitable nesting banks. They occupy diverse habitats, ranging from 160 ft (50 m) below sea level to eleva-

This Cuban tody (Todus multicolor) shows off the colorful feathers under its bill. (Photo by Doug Wechsler/VIREO. Reproduced by permission.)

tions above 9,800 ft (3,000 m). They favor brush and forest with interlacing foliage, epiphytes, and vines. Specific habitats include lowland or mountain rainforests (very dry to extremely lush, including elfin woodlands), pine groves, second growth, streamside vegetation, pasture borders, limestone karst, cactus deserts, and shaded coffee plantations. These little avian jewels are never garden birds; favoring natural forests, they adapt poorly to human incursion into their domains, except for roadcuts, which are welcomed for nesting.

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