The species is characterized by small size (11 cm (4.3 in), 59 g (2.1 oz)), large head relative to body size, and a thin, flat bill. Similar to other todies, the coloration of the Cuban tody includes iridescent green dorsum, pale whitish-grey underparts, and red highlights. This species is distinguished by its pink flanks, red throat, yellow lores, and blue ear patch. The bill is bicolored: black on top and red on the bottom.
Distribution and habitat
The Cuban tody is a year-round resident of portions of Cuba and islands just off the Cuban coast. Analysis of song variation suggests that the Cuban tody is structured into two populations, corresponding to eastern and western Cuba.
The tody, like many resident Cuban bird species, is a habitat generalist. It is known to live in dry lowlands, evergreen forests, coastal vegetation, and near streams and rivers. Cuban todies may be difficult to see; Vaurie reported, "Only one seen at the Cape, in dense underbrush, but several heard."
They are often seen in pairs. When perched, they sometimes repeat a peculiar short "tot-tot-tot-tot", but the most characteristic call is a soft "pprreeee-pprreeee" (which is the origin of its Cuban common name, 'Pedorrera'). Its wings also produce a whirring sound that is used during display flights.
Nests consist of a tunnel about 30 cm (12 in) long in a clay embankment, with a terminal chamber, though sometimes they use a rotten trunk or tree cavity. The walls of the tunnel and the egg chamber are covered with a thick glue-like substance mixed with grass, lichen, algae, small feathers and other materials. Three to four eggs are laid are incubated by both parents.
The Cuban tody diet is dominated by insects, but also may include small fruits, spiders, and small lizards. Although the birds' ecology has been little-studied, they are known to participate in mixed-species flocks. They are also food items: predators include both people in poor areas and mongoose.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Todus multicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Farnsworth, Andrew (2009). Schulenberg, T.S., ed. "Cuban Tody (Todus multicolor)". Neotropical Birds Online. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 18 October 2014. External link in
- Pérez Mena, Eneider E.; Mora, Emanuel C. (2011). "Geographic Song Variation in the Non-Oscine Cuban Tody (Todus multicolor)". The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123 (1): 76–84. doi:10.1676/10-003.1.
- Wallace, G.E.; González Alonso, Hiram; McNicholl, Martin K.; Rodríguez Batista, Daysi; Oviedo Prieto, Ramona; Llanes Sosa, Alejandro; Sánchez Oria, Bárbara; Wallace, Elizabeth A.H. (1996). "Winter surveys of forest-dwelling Neotropical migrant and resident birds in three regions of Cuba". The Condor 98 (4): 745–768. doi:10.2307/1369856. JSTOR 1369856.
- Vaurie, C. (1957). "Field notes on some Cuban birds". The Wilson Bulletin 69 (4): 301–313. JSTOR 4158615.
- Garrido, Orlando H.; Kirkconnell, Arturo (2000). Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba. Ithaca, NY: Comstock, Cornell University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8014-8631-9.
- Hamel, P.B.; Kirkconnell, A. (2005). "Composition of mixed-species flocks of migrant and resident birds in Cuba" (PDF). Cotinga 24: 28–34.
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- Cuban tody videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
- Cuban tody Stamps from Cuba at bird-stamps.org
- Cuban tody photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Cuban tody Photo at surfbirds.com bird wallpapers
- BirdLife species factsheet for Todus multicolor
- Cuban tody species account at NeotropicalBirds (Cornell University)