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Bananaquit
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Coerebidae (but see text)
Genus: Coereba
Vieillot, 1809
Species: C. flaveola
Binomial name
Coereba flaveola
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Bananaquit, Coereba flaveola, is a species of passerine bird. Its classification is debated, and it is often placed in its own family. It feeds predominately on nectar.

Contents

Taxonomy

The Bananaquit was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Certhia flaveola.[2] It was reclassified as the only member of the genus Coereba by Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1809.[3] Prior to 2005 the Bananaquit was assigned to the monotypic family Coerebidae; there is currently no agreement to which family it belongs; some authors place it into the Emberizidae.[4] The Coerebidae used to contain other nectar-eating birds from the tropical Americas, but these have since been moved. The Bananaquit is part of a group that includes the Darwin's finches, Tiaris (grassquits), Loxigilla, etc.—most of which were previously placed in Emberizidae, but are now known to actually be part of the Thraupidae[5]. Nevertheless, the precise phylogeny remains unresolved. The AOU thus classes it as species incertae sedis.[6]

Description

The Bananaquit is a very small bird attaining an average length of 11 cm. It has a slender, curved bill, adapted to taking nectar from flowers. It sometimes pierces flowers from the side, taking the nectar without pollinating the plant.[7] It cannot hover like a hummingbird, and must always perch while feeding. It will also eat fruit and insects. It often visits gardens and may become very tame. Its nickname, the sugar bird, comes from its affinity for bowls or bird feeders stocked with granular sugar, a common method of attracting these birds in the United States Virgin Islands. Birds in the genera Coereba, Dacnis, and allied genera belonging to the family Coerebidae, are all referred to as sugar birds.

The Bananaquit has dark grey upperparts, a black crown to the head and yellow underparts and rump. It has a prominent white eyestripe. The sexes are alike.

The Bananaquit builds a spherical lined nest with a side entrance hole, laying up to three eggs, which are incubated solely by the female.[4]

Distribution

It is resident in tropical South America north to southern Mexico and the Caribbean. It is found throughout the West Indies, except Cuba.[8] Birds from the Bahamas are rare visitors to Florida.[7]

On Grenada and Saint Vincent, most Bananaquits have black plumage, suggesting divergence from other West Indian populations.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International, 2009
  2. ^ Linnaeus, 1758, p. 119
  3. ^ Vieillot, 1809, p. 70
  4. ^ a b Monteiro Pereira, 2008, p. 120
  5. ^ Burns et al., 2002
  6. ^ American Ornithologists' Union, 2008
  7. ^ a b Dunning, 2001
  8. ^ Raffaele et al., 1998, p. 415

Literature cited

External links

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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Talk:Coereba article)

From Wikispecies

This genus has often been placed, usually by itself, in a separate family Coerebidae. However genetic studies link it to a group of taxa within the Emberizidae, including Euneornis, Loxigilla, Loxipasser, Melanospiza, Melopyrrha of the West Indies, Tiaris of primarily the Caribbean Basin, and all of the Geospizinae (Galapagos finches)[1].

Pending any decision to rank all these genera elsewhere, Coereba is here also included in the Emberizidae.


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