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Coereba flaveola

Length: 4.5 inches Wingspan: 7.5 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Gray above, white below, pale yellow belly and rump, black and white striped pattern on head

Bananaquit - Coereba flaveolaThe 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 available.

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.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Bananaquit sightings

Song: The song of a Bananaquit is a series of buzzing wheezy notes.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout their range.

Similar Species: Distinctive if seen well.

Feeders: Will attend hummingbird feeders for nectar.  Will also come to feeders for fresh fruit.

Conservation Status: The Bananaquit has a wide geographic range, and numbers appear to be stable.  The IUCN lists the Bananaquit as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) BirdLife International - Bananaquit

2) The Birds of Trinidad and Tobago - Bananaquit

3) Birds of Aruba - Bananaquit

Photo Information: Photo taken in June 2015 - St. John's, U.S. Virgin Islands - Terry Sohl


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Bananaquit - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Bananaquit Photos
 Bananaquit - Coereba flaveolaBananaquit - Coereba flaveolaBananaquit - Coereba flaveolaBananaquit - Coereba flaveolaBananaquit - Coereba flaveola