Puerto Rican tody

Todus mexicanus

TAXONOMY

Todus mexicanus Lesson, 1838, Tampico and Vera Cruz, Mexico. Clearly an error: todies do not occur in Mexico.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Todier de Puerto Rico; German: Gelbflankentodi; Spanish: Barrancolí Puertorriqueño.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS 4.4 in (11 cm), wing chord 1.7 in (4.3 cm), weight male 0.22 oz (6.3 g), female 0.21 oz (5.9 g). The least colorful, smallest tody. Flanks yellow, no pink, no blue cheek patch, belly whitish. Sexual dimorphism in eye color: slate (males), white (females). Juveniles have four maturation stages (three weeks) when bill lengthens to adult size, grayish bib brightens to crimson, and yellow flanks develop.

DISTRIBUTION

Puerto Rico.

HABITAT

Rainforests, arid scrub, coffee plantations, moderately wet forests, karst (limestone) topography, often near streams.

Todus mexicanus

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Todus mexicanus Resident

BEHAVIOR

Maintain year-round home ranges and breeding territories. Usually single or paired, never in pure flocks although may temporarily join mixed feeding flocks.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Typical tody. Insectivorous, 50% of diet is flies and beetles. Also spiders, nematodes, millipedes, lizards, and fruits from six families (principally Ficus, Chenopodium, Rubus, Xanthoxy-lum, Psychotria, Clusia). Adults select sizes and variety of nestling foods.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Burrow excavation primarily February to May. Tunnel horizontal, almost always with right-angled curves and enlarged, depressed, unlined terminal chambers. Average burrow length in rainforest 13.9 in (30.5 cm). Nest helping common. Clutch size averages 2-4 eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. No recent information on status but populations diminishing due to habitat destruction and non-shade coffee.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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