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Take a Second Look

June 13, 2024

Take a Second Look

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Zein Mera Zein Mera

This spring, I was lucky enough to participate in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Eco-Viviencias Experience in Puerto Rico. On our third day, we visited El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest within the US Forest Service, and the largest rainforest in Puerto Rico. During the day, El Yunque is considerably quiet. While the air is not filled with the calls of the coquí frog, a small but beautiful bird cuts through the silence.

With its brilliant green feathers, red neck, and white body, the Puerto Rican tody (Todus mexicanus) takes advantage of the day’s silence to sing its own song. With calls ranging from little chirps to cicada-like screeches, the Puerto Rican tody makes its presence known.

It takes eyes and ears to spot this little bird in the lush rainforest. During our hike in El Yunque, the tody’s calls caught our groups’ attention. We turned our heads to the location from where the chirps originated. The tody’s red front gave away the bird among the palm fronds.

If you find yourself in Puerto Rico, keep an eye out for this endemic bird. It is not a hummingbird but in the same order as kingfishers and bee-eaters. If you spot what seems like a “hummingbird,” or hear distinct chirps, take a second look (especially how it flies), it just might be a Puerto Rican tody.

, Puerto Rico Map It


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