Friday, 29 March 2013

Cuba 2: more endemics

A close encounter with the wary and retiring Blue-headed Quail-Dove, one of four quail-dove species we saw in a single morning at Zapata Swamp.
No less beautiful was this Grey-fronted Quail-Dove, seemingly an even shyer species than its congeners. This endemic was formerly lumped with Hispaniola's White-fronted Quail-Dove as Grey-headed Quail-Dove.
A Bare-legged Owl, one of two seen during the trip, plays peek-a-boo from the safety of its daytime roost. This endemic is the sole member of the genus Gymnoglaux.
Rather easier to find was Cuban Pygmy Owl, a diurnal and vocal species with plenty of attitude. Its presence often triggered mobbing behaviour in other birds in the vicinity, particularly warblers.
Cuban Black Hawk was split from Common Black Hawk by the American Ornithologists' Union in 2007 mainly because of morphological and vocal differences. The species seems to prey heavily on crabs.
The toughest endemic bird species we saw, Gundlach's Hawk is widely distributed in Cuba but rare. BirdLife International estimates the total population at just 270 mature individuals, hence its classification as Endangered.


  1. Magnificent blog and very good pictures. Congratulations.

  2. Many thanks for your kind comments, Fernando - appreciated.



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