Curacao

An Avian Mecca

more than a year ago
Although Curacao is a relatively small island, it hosts a surprising diversity of birds, which is why it's known as an avian Mecca. The Caribbean islands in general are home to more than 600 species of birds including the hard-to-spot 8cm common blue-tailed emerald. The males are a glittering green colour, but females have a duller hue with grey underparts. They're best known for piercing flowers to get their share of sweet nectar. Chuchubi, AKA the tropical Mockingbird, is by far the best-known flying species of bird on Curacao. A strictly territorial bird, it's famous for its fierce battles with any perceived invaders and its lovely song, which you'll hear quite often. The caracara is the most common of the large birds of prey on the island. Its slightly gawky way of flying makes it stand out from the crowd and it has the unusual habit of building nests in tall cactuses. On the other hand, if you hear a loud scream emanating from a bright green bird, there's a good chance it's the Caribbean brown-throated parakeet, easily recognised by its yellow head. The bananaquit is by far the most beloved bird on the island due to its sophisticated look. With a yellow belly and black back and wings it looks like it's dressed in a fancy tailcoat. The Dutch call it suikerdiefje, or sugar thief, for its habit of raiding sugar bowls. If you'd like to know more about the island's birds pick up a copy of Helm Field Guides: Birds of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

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