Bananaquit is a bird of the tropical Americas, with a range that covers much
of northern South America, Central America, southern Mexico, and the
Caribbean. In the United States, they are vagrants to
southern Florida, with birds likely coming from nearby breeding populations
in the Bahamas. Their taxonomy has been questioned over the years, but
they are currently placed in their own Coerebinae family by most groups.
Subregional variation in plumage and behavior has led some to suggest that
there are actually three distinct species of Bananaquit. They are
locally known as "sugar birds" in some locations, given their love of
nectar, and of offered sugar water at hummingbird feeders.
Habitat: Found in tropical forest areas and
woodland edges, typically at "edge" habitat. They have adapted well to
a human presence, and can also be found in areas with significant
residential or agricultural activity, provided adequate food sources are
Diet: Feeds heavily on the nectar of flowers when
available. Also will feed on soft fruits and berries, and will sometimes eat
insects and spiders.
Behavior: Forages by clambering through
vegetation, probing vegetation and crevices for insects and spiders. Will
directly retrieve nectar of smaller flowers, but for large flowers where
they are unable to reach the nectar directly, they will pierce the base of
flowers to obtain access to where then nectar is located. They will
also pierce fruits and berries for the juice.
Nesting: The nest of a Bananaquit is globe-shaped
with an opening towards the bottom, created of grasses, moss, weed stems,
and other vegetative material. It is placed in a shrub or small tree,
usually within 12 feet of the ground. The female lays 2 or 3 eggs, and
she alone incubates the eggs.
Song: The song of a Bananaquit is a series of
buzzing wheezy notes.
Migration: Considered a permanent resident
throughout their range.
Distinctive if seen well.
Feeders: Will attend hummingbird feeders for
nectar. Will also come to feeders for fresh fruit.
Photo Information: Photo taken in June 2015 - St.
John's, U.S. Virgin Islands - Terry Sohl