The Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) is a bird found in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Antilles.
Its genus, Margarops, is considered monotypic today; formerly the Scaly-breasted Thrasher was placed here too. The present species, however, is now known to be closer to the Cinclocerthia tremblers (Hunt et al. 2001, Barber et al. 2004).
It prefers to live in bushes and trees in mountain forests and coffee plantations.
While this is not a migratory bird, considerable gene flow between populations appears to have taken place at least until fairly recently in its evolutionary history.
Still, two subspecies can be identified:
Margarops fuscatus fuscatus which is found between the Greater Antilles and Antigua and Barbuda,
M. f. densirostris, occurring from Montserrat and Guadeloupe southwards.
When exactly the Pearly-eyed Thrasher lineage diverged from its relatives cannot be said with reasonable certainty at the moment, as no fossils are known and the standard molecular clock model cannot be applied to the Mimidae as mutation rates seem to have varied over time.(Hunt et al. 2003)
Feeding / Diet
The Pearly-eyed Thrasher is described as an aggressive, opportunistic omnivore that feeds primarily on large insects, but also feeds on fruits and berries, and will occasionally eat lizards, frogs, small crabs and other bird’s eggs and nestlings.
It grows to 28 to 30 cm (11 to 11.8 inches) in length.
Nesting / Breeding
This species nests in cavities. On Puerto Rico, it is known to compete with the critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon for nesting sites and may even destroy the eggs of this species.
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