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Cuban Bullfinch

From Opus

Photo © by Jack BrodieCayo Coco, Cuba, 23 March 2011
Photo © by Jack Brodie
Cayo Coco, Cuba, 23 March 2011
Melopyrrha nigra


[edit] Identification

Length: 14-15 cm (5.5-5.75 in).
Male: black with white along edge of wing; thick curved bill. At least on Cuba, the black is somewhat glossy.
Female: Cuban race is grayish-black, Cayman race is paler, more olive-gray.

[edit] Distribution

Only found in Cuba, where it is common and widespread, and Grand Cayman, where it is most abundant at South Sound Swamp, North Side and North Sound Estates.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is the only West Indian bullfinch species that does not belong to the genus Loxigilla -- upper mandible is much more curved. Sometimes placed in the genus Pyrrhulagra[5]

[edit] Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • M. n. nigra:
  • Cuba and Isle of Pines
  • M. n. taylori:

These two subspecies has recently been proposed as full species

[edit] Habitat

Found at all elevations, in woodlands, mangroves, brushy areas, and undergrowth in pine areas.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes seeds, fruit and insects.

[edit] Breeding

Breeds March through August, usually until July. Both pair members construct a large spherical bulky mass with side entrance. Three to five eggs are whitish with a greenish cast, spotted with reddish brown and lilac concentrated at the larger end.

[edit] Vocalisations

Song is a thin melodious trill that ascends or descends in pitch.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Arthur Grosset
  3. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of Cuban Bullfinch
  4. Ayón Güemes, X., E. Ruiz Rojas, and E. E. Iñigo-Elias (2013). Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  5. Rising, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Cuban Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra nigra). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 November 2018).

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