Antillean Euphonia

Illustration of the Antillean Euphonia/Canario del País

Antillean Euphonia (Eng.), Jilguero, Canario del País (Sp.), Euphonia musica (Sci.), Native, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and most Eastern Caribbean islands.

Illustration 1996-2008 oiseaux.net. Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, Interpretive Media Writer, EYNF/LEF

General Information

Class-Aves, Order-Passeriformes, Family-Thraupidae, Genus-Euphonia, Species-musica. The Antillean Euphonia is found in the Lesser and Greater Antilles islands. Its natural habitats are tropical or subtropical dry forests, tropical or subtropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.

Description

The Antillean Euphonia is one of the most colorful birds that occur in Puerto Rico. The male has a bright yellow rump and underbelly, an orange forehead, a bright blue crown and black backside, tail, wings and cheeks. The female is dull olive green with a lighter blue crown than that of the male. It is typically 3.9 to 4.7 inches (10 to 12 centimeters) in length and weighs between 0.4 and 0.5 ounces (13 to 16 grams).

Habits

Euphonia musica travels in small flocks searching for its favorite food, the fruits of the mistletoe (Phoradendron sp.). Several birds may forage in a single clump of mistletoe, and then travel some distance in an undulating flight to another clump. Antillean Euphonia defecate mistletoe seeds that are quite sticky, clinging to tree branches, which facilitates the dispersal of the parasitic mistletoe plant to different trees. They occasionally eat seeds or fruits of other plants such as the Trumpet-wood tree (Cecropia peltata). The Euphonias call is a single or double tinkling note that sounds like a tiny bell (click here to hear recording). Quite often the call and the flight pattern are the sole way to identify the Euphonia as it flies high overhead in the forest canopy. Euphonias breed from January to July, construct a domed nest with an entrance on the side, often concealed among tree epiphytes; the female lays 3 to 4 white eggs that have reddish-brown speckling on the large end. Until the mid twentieth century, Euphonia were captured and sold locally as cage birds because of their beautiful plumage and melodious song, however native Puerto Rican birds are now protected by law and it is illegal to keep any native avian species as a pet.

Habitat

The Antillean Euphonia is found in mountain forests, shaded coffee plantations and dry scrub forests throughout the island.

Where to look for this animal in the EYNF

The Antillean Euphonia is more often heard than seen, due to its preference for flight in the high canopies of the forest. It can occasionally be spotted in near the upper portion of the Mount Britton Nature trail in the Dwarf Forest.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/elyunque/learning/nature-science/?cid=fsbdev3_042913