Know Your Islands
Appreciating and caring for Cayman’s birds will help ensure that future generations will be able to experience the beauty of Cayman’s local and migratory populations.
It is important that we are able to recognize these beautiful creatures and appreciate when to become involved in their protection and care.
The following information was sourced from ‘Birds of the Cayman Islands’, written by Patricia Bradley and the photographs were taken by Frank Roulstone and Carol Winker.
Coereba flaveola sharpie
Bananaquits are found throughout the Caribbean, but the bananaquit found in the Cayman Islands is a unique subspecies.
It prefers to find its home in dry bushland, but forages and breeds in all habitats. This little bird eats mainly nectar from flowers of plants but it also takes insects and fruits from trees, including Logwood, Buttonwood, and Pop-nut.
The bananaquit breeds throughout the year with peaks in spring and summer, constantly building round woven nests with an entrance at the side. It has 2-3 fledglings.
This bird has been the most severely impacted of all the breeding birds following Hurricane Ivan. Less than 50 birds are known – three groups at bird feeders and a pair in the wild.
Habitat degradation and loss of food have been identified as the two most important causes of the decline in the number of birds.
This bird is our smallest resident and low-level grass feeder. It lives in disturbed habitats including gardens, open grassy fields, roadsides and scrub bushland.
The grassquit resides in small flocks and likes to use empty bananaquit nests for roosting at night.
The adult male has greyish olive green upperparts and a bright orange eyebrow and throat patch surrounded by a black patch on the breast. The female is much duller with a pale yellow eyebrow and throat with no black on the breast.
There are some things you can do to make your yard bird-friendly including putting out birdbaths, bird feeders, and building bird houses. You could also get involved with the Cayman Wildlife Connection and help care for local birds and other wildlife. Please email [email protected], www.nationaltrust.org.ky, or 949-0121.
The weekly column from the National Trust is submitted by Marnie Lang, development and education specialist at the Trust. The Trust can be contacted at 949-0121 or via email at www.nationaltrust.org.ky