Antillean Euphonias

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Finch Information


Global Names ... Distribution / Subspecies and Ranges ... Description ... Breeding / Nesting ... Diet / Feeding ... Calls / Vocalizations


The Antillean Euphonias (Euphonia musica) are also sometimes known as Blue-crowned Euphonias, Blue-hooded Euphonias or Puerto Rican Euphonias.


Distribution / Range

These finches are found on all the main islands of the Lesser Antilles, and the Greater Antilles from Hispaniola eastwards. (The Lesser and Greater Antilles are located at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea just north of South America.)

The Antillean Euphonias occur naturally in tropical or subtropical lowland and mountain forests, heavily degraded former forest, dry scrubforests and shaded coffee plantations.


Subspecies and Distribution:

  • Euphonia musica musica (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - Nominate Race
    • Range: Hispaniola (located between Cuba and Puerto Rico) and Gonâve Islands (an island of Haiti).

  • Euphonia musica sclateri (P. L. Sclater, 1854)
    • Range: Puerto Rico located in the northeastern Caribbean

  • Euphonia musica flavifrons (Sparrman, 1789)
    • Range: Lesser Antilles (southern Caribbean, just north of South America), where they occur on the islands of Barbuda, Antigua, Guadeloupe, La Désirade, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Grenada.

Description

Antillean Euphonias measure about 3.9 - 4.7 inches (10 - 12 centimeters) in length (including the tail) and weigh between 0.4 - 0.5 ounces (13 - 16 grams).

The male Antillean Euphonia has a bright blue crown, an orange forehead. His upper plumage, wings, tail and cheeks are black. The plumage below is bright yellow..

The female plumage is mostly dull olive green. She has a lighter blue crown than the male.


Breeding / Nesting

Most breeding occurs January to July. The Antillean Euphonias construct domed fiber or moss nests, with a side entrance that hang in vegetation and bromeliads or are often concealed among tree epiphytes. The average clutch consists of 3 - 4 white eggs with reddish-brown speckling on the large end. Both parents feed and raise their young.


Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ???? ... Czech: Libohlásek antilský, libohlásek žluto?elý ... Danish: Antileuphonia ... Dutch: Antillenorganist ... Finnish: Mistelimarjukka ... French: Euphone des Antilles, Organiste louis-d'or, Tangara à calotte bleue ... German: Antillen Organist, Antillenorganist ... Guadeloupean Creole French: Avant-Noël ... Haitian Creole French: Louidò ... Italian: Eufonia delle Antille ... Japanese: sanshokufuukinchou ... Norwegian: Antilleufonia ... Polish: Organka spiewna, Organka ?piewna ... Portuguese: Gaturamo-rei ... Russian: ???????? ... Slovak: Organista spevavý ... Spanish: Eufonia Antillana, Canario del País, Eufonia capuchiazul, Fruterito de Corona Azul, Jilguerillo, Jilguero, Tangará Cabeza Celeste ... Swedish: Antilleufonia


Diet / Feeding

Their diet consists of a variety of tree-borne fruits. In particular, euphonias are considered mistletoe specialists. Antillean Euphonias typically move to places where mistletoe berries are the most abundant. Their gut is specially adapted for mistletoe berries, which are poisonous. Several are often seen feeding on a single clump of mistletoe. They also feed on seeds or fruits of other plants, including the Trumpet-wood tree (Cecropia peltata).


Vocalizations

Euphonias are known for their almost constant singing and the Antillean Euphonias are more often heard than seen, as they mostly remain high in the canopies of the forest. Their best known call sounds like a rapidly repeated "titititi", sometimes followed by a longer "zeeeeeeee". Their calls are often described as sounding like tiny bells.

The Antillean Euphonias are popular cage birds due to their beautiful plumage and melodious songs, but they are now protected in many areas, making it illegal for them to be captured and kept as pets.


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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