Appreciating Cayman’s birds

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 recognise 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 with photos taken by Yves-Jacques Rey-Millet.

Bananaquit (Bananabird)

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 bush land, 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 two to three fledglings.

Yellow-faced Grassquit

Tiaris olivacea

This bird has been the most severely impacted of all the breeding birds following Hurricane Ivan.

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 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.

Email [email protected], visit www.nationaltrust.org.ky, or call 749-1121.

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