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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Three Endemics: A Woodpecker, Bullfinch and a Spindalis

[El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. November 2013]

A scintillating set of endemics and specialties may be seen at the only Tropical Rainforest within the US National Forest system. Species profiled here are:
  1. Puerto Rican Woodpecker
  2. Puerto Rican Bullfinch
  3. Puerto Rican Spindalis
  4. Bananaquit
  5. Scaly-naped Pigeon
  6. Zenaida Dove
  7. Black-throated Blue Warbler
The endemic and sole woodpecker on the island is the Puerto Rican Woodpecker. This spectacled woodpecker has black upperparts, pale underparts and red on the throat and breast.

Puerto Rican Woodpecker

This pair of woodpeckers were observed at El Yunque feeding noisily. As the only woodpecker on the Island, this species is hard to miss and harder to misidentify.

The other endemic spotted in the vicinity is the Puerto Rican Bullfinch.

Puerto Rican Bullfinch

A boldly colored songbird, the Bullfinch is endemic to Puerto Rico and is placed among the Tanager family.

Classified as "Least Concern", this bird is nevertheless not easy to see owing to its shy habits.

Another tanager, the Puerto Rican Spindalis was formerly considered conspecific with Western Spindalis but DNA analysis and differences in vocalization have confirmed the split.

Of course, the most abundant bird on the island has to be the Bananaquit:


A tiny yet ubiquitous bird, the colorful Bananaquit is classified as incertae sedis.

Finally, two pigeons -- the Zenaida (above) and the Scaly Naped:

On the warbler front at El Yunque, what were particularly conspicuous in the Rainforest were the Black-throated Blue warblers:

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Lastly, no dispatch from the tropical rainforest cold be complete without mentioning the Tody:

The true jewels of the Rainforest are the feathered gems of El Yunque which never fail to delight even the most jaded of birders.

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