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A photo of a Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (Loxigilla noctis), male
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Male

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

Loxigilla noctis

The Lesser Antillean bullfinch, Loxigilla noctis, is a small passerine bird belonging to the family Thraupidae. It is a species that exhibits a charming presence, with males typically adorned in a striking black plumage, while females and juveniles are dressed in a more subdued grey-brown. This bird is a resident breeder in the Lesser Antilles, a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Lesser Antillean bullfinch, look for the male's glossy black feathers and the female's greyish-brown coloration. Both sexes have a robust conical bill, which is an adaptation suited to their seed-based diet. The male's black plumage is contrasted by a red throat and upper breast, making it quite distinctive among the foliage.

Habitat

The natural habitats of the Lesser Antillean bullfinch are varied, including subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and areas of heavily degraded former forest. These birds are quite adaptable and can often be found in gardens and urban areas.

Distribution

This species is endemic to the Lesser Antilles, with its range extending from Saint Barth and Saint Martin in the north, through the central islands including Dominica, Martinique, and Saint Lucia, down to Grenada in the south. It is also found in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Behaviour

The Lesser Antillean bullfinch is known for its curious and bold nature. It is not uncommon for these birds to approach humans, displaying a fearlessness that is quite endearing. They are often seen in pairs or small groups, actively foraging for seeds and insects.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Lesser Antillean bullfinch are a delightful aspect of its behavior. The bird's song is a sweet, warbling melody that adds a musical backdrop to its habitat. Its calls are equally engaging, often described as a series of chirps and whistles that serve as communication among individuals.

Breeding

Breeding behaviors of the Lesser Antillean bullfinch include the construction of cup-shaped nests, where the female lays her eggs. These nests are often situated in the dense foliage of trees or shrubs, providing concealment from potential predators.

Similar Species

The Lesser Antillean bullfinch can be confused with other seed-eating birds in its range. However, its distinctive coloration, particularly the male's, and its robust bill set it apart from similar species.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Lesser Antillean bullfinch primarily consists of seeds, which it adeptly cracks open with its strong bill. It also supplements its diet with insects, providing a source of protein.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Lesser Antillean bullfinch as Least Concern. This status indicates that, currently, there are no immediate threats to the population levels of this species, and it maintains a stable presence within its natural range.

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