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A photo of a Cuban Pewee (Contopus caribaeus)
Cuban Pewee

Cuban Pewee

Contopus caribaeus

The Cuban pewee, known scientifically as Contopus caribaeus, is a diminutive member of the Tyrannidae family. This avian species is characterized by its dark olive-grey plumage above and a more subdued grey to buff coloration below. A distinctive white crescent-shaped marking adorns the area just behind its eye, setting it apart from other birds.

Identification Tips

When observing the Cuban pewee, look for its broad, flat bill, notable for its bicolored appearance with a yellow lower mandible. The white crescent behind the eye is a key feature for identification. This bird measures approximately 16 cm (6.3 inches) in length.

Habitat

The Cuban pewee thrives in a variety of environments, including subtropical or tropical dry forests, moist lowland forests, montane forests, and even areas of heavily degraded former forest.

Distribution

This species is endemic to Cuba and can also be found in the northern Bahamas.

Behaviour

The Cuban pewee is a solitary bird, often seen perched quietly as it scans for flying insects. It is known for its agility in the air as it catches its prey with precision.

Song & Calls

The call of the Cuban pewee is a distinctive, long, descending whistle, which can be heard across its habitat.

Breeding

Breeding season for the Cuban pewee occurs from March to June. The nest is a small, cup-shaped structure, where the female lays up to 4 eggs. These eggs are white with heavy dark spotting at the larger end.

Similar Species

The Cuban pewee was once considered conspecific with the Hispaniolan pewee (C. hispaniolensis) and Jamaican pewee (C. pallidus), but it is now recognized as a separate species.

Diet and Feeding

As a flycatcher, the Cuban pewee's diet consists primarily of flying insects, which it catches with adept aerial maneuvers.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Cuban pewee as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers.

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