PALMCHAT Dulidae The Palmchat is endemic to the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean where it is common. In fact, it was the very first bird we saw in the Dominican Republic from our hotel in the capital city of Santo Domingo. It particularly favors Royal palms Roystonea, and gregarious gangs of Palmchats are frequent wherever the palms occur. They build large communal nests but our visit was apparently during the non-breeding season.


Traditional taxonomists generally place the Palmchat in its own family because of pecularities that suggest it is not closely related to any of the major passerine groups; it nearest realtives are often considered to be the waxwings. Sibley & Monroe (1990) concurred, although they reduced it to a tribe [Dulinae] in the Bombycillidae. It is a moderately odd bird in the field, looking most like a coarse-plumaged tanager or Old World oriole, but differing in being rather vocal (but just gurggles and "cheeps") and in its gregarious behavior.

Palmchats eat fruit and berries, but at the botanical gardens in Santo Domingo this particular bird was pulling off and eating whole flowers!

Photos: All the photos of Palmchat Dulus dominicus were taken in Jan 1999 in the Santo Domingo botanical gardens, Dominican Republic.
All photos Don Roberson.

Literature cited:

Sibley, Charles G., and Burt L. Monroe. 1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.