TODIES Todidae The todies are a family endemic to the Caribbean with five species occurring on four islands: Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola (2 species) and Puerto Rico. They are just great little birds -- not much larger than hummingbirds -- that suddenly appear next to the observer inside woodlands. They sit quietly, scanning the undersides of foliage, then dash out to snap something up and return to their perch. Most often they are first located by voice, and most birds seemed to be in pairs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

The one island that has two todies is Hispaniola, where the Broad-billed Tody Todus subulatus occurs in the lowlands and the Narrow-billed Tody T. angustirostris inhabits montane forests. Can you guess which one is shown above right?

Todies are usually considered to be most closely related to motmots of the neotropics. They are not particularly shy but I found them tough to photograph as they tended to stay in the shade. They puff out their crimson throat patches each time they call, endearing them to the observer.

Photos: The Puerto Rican Tody Todus mexicanus (top left; the latin name comes from a mistake on the label of the type specimen) was photographed in Jan 1999 inside dry thornscrub forest at Guanica Reserve, Puerto Rico. The Broad-billed Tody T. subulatus (right) was photographed in Jan 1999 on the grounds of Santo Domingo's botanical garden, Dominican Republic.
All photos Don Roberson.

Literature:

There is no family book of which I'm aware, although I don't have everything.
 


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