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A yellow breasted Coereba flaveola pearched between two blue Thunbergia grandiflora flowers
coereba flaveola
Coereba flaveola (Bananaquit)

The bananaquit is a small passerine bird found in the warmer parts of the Americas. It is generally common and considered a resident species across this range. Intriguingly, while it is found throughout the West Indies, it is absent in Cuba. Notably, birds from the Bahamas are occasionally seen in Florida​​. Measuring about 4 to 5 inches in length and weighing between 0.19 to 0.67 ounces, the bananaquit displays notable size variation across its subspecies. Most subspecies exhibit dark grey or almost black upperparts, black crowns and sides of the head, a prominent white eyestripe, grey throat, white vent, and a yellow chest, belly, and rump. One of the most fascinating aspects of the bananaquit is its feeding behavior. It has a slender, curved bill, adapted for nectarivory, allowing it to extract nectar from flowers, including mistletoes. This bird exhibits a form of convergent evolution with other birds that feed on the same flowers, adapting its tongue shape accordingly. Interestingly, it sometimes engages in nectar robbing, piercing flowers from the side to take nectar without pollinating the plant. The bananaquit also feeds on fruits, such as mistletoe fruits and ripe bananas (from which it gets its common name), and occasionally consumes small insects and other arthropods. Unlike hummingbirds, bananaquits must always perch while feeding, as they cannot hover​​. The bananaquit is solitary and nomadic, not showing evidence of claiming individual territories. Males court females without being defensive towards other males. Photographed in Barranquilla, Colombia.

A bananaquit feeding off from the lilac-colored flowers of a Thunbergia grandiflora
A bananaquit hanging upside-down from an inflorescence of lilac-colored Thunbergia grandiflora flowers
The yellow breast and belly of a Coereba flaveola
A Coereba flaveola on a bird feeder

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