Also called the brown-throated parakeet, the
brown-throated conure is a small member
of the parrot family. It is native to Panama,
northern South America and adjacent islands.
This species was introduced to the Virgin Islands
by being brought from Curacao to St. Thomas.
Brown-throated Conure (Aratinga pertinax)
Conures feed on fruits and seeds from a variety
of trees and shrubs. The birds nest colonially in
They travel in pairs or small flocks, often
communicating with loud calls and squawks.
Brown-throated Conures (A. pertinax)
Also called yellow-breasts or sugar birds, bananaquits are small and active birds that are found in virtually every habitat in the Virgin Islands.
They eat a wide variety of foods, including plant nectar, fruits, and insects.
They are frequent visitors to hummingbird feeders
and even enter homes to take sugar or food
scraps from the table.
Banaquits live in pairs and build oval shaped
nests. They typically lay 2 - 3 eggs per clutch.
Hatching occurs after about 12 - 14 days.
Bananaquits also frequently construct separate nests used for roosting. These nests are smaller
and not quite as sturdy as nests intended for
Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)
The green-throated carib is a common
hummingbird in the Virgin Islands.
These small fast birds pollinate plants
by zipping from flower to flower to drink nectar.
Hummingbirds often visit a series of flowers
in a specific sequence in order to give
the plants time to replenish their nectar supply.
Green-throated Carib (Sericotes holosericeus)
Green-throated carib visiting a hibiscus flower
They can be quite aggressive when defending
their feeding territories, including hummingbird
feeders. Female green-throated caribs are
slightly smaller than males, but have a longer
and more curved bill.
They can be observed visiting a variety of plants
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Also known as the doctorbird, the antillean crested hummingbird is a tiny bird that weighs just a fraction of an ounce. The doctorbird has a short, strait bill and a crest of feathers on top of the head.
Males and females appear similar, but the crest can be more pronounced in the male and males tend to have darker underparts. Like the green-throated carib, doctorbirds pollinate plants by visiting flowers to feed on nectar. Pictured is a doctorbird visiting an aloe flower.
The gray kingbird is a common
bird in the Virgin Islands.
It is very easy to observe, since it
frequently perches on exposed
branches during the day making a
The gray kingbird belongs to a group
of birds called 'flycatchers.' As this
name implies, a kingbird feeds mostly by
darting from it's perch to catch flying
insects. Kingbirds also sometimes feed
on berries and large seeds.
Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)
Pearly-eyed thrashers are another common bird that are easily observed. However, getting a long, close look at a thrasher may be difficult, as the birds make good use of their color camouflage and hide amongst plants and tree branches. Pearly-eyed thrashers can be easily recognized by the whitish eye surrounding a dark pupil. They make loud distinctive calls, making them more easily heard than seen.
Thrashers eat a variety of fruits, berries, insects, and small animals. They aggressively compete with other birds for nest space, and may eat the eggs of other species, including brown throated conures.
Sometimes called the black witch,
the smooth-billed ani can be surrounded
by superstition. According to the folklore
of some Virgin Islanders, an appearance
by an ani can be the harbinger of a death
in the family. Typically, anis are uncommon
in the areas where this belief is held.
Elsewhere in the Virgin Islands, anis can
be common and the author of this website
has been visited by these birds on many
occasions, fortunately without corresponding
misfortune in his family.
These coal black birds nest communally,
with several females laying eggs in a single
nest. They can sometimes be seen removing
ticks from cattle and other livestock.
The kestrel is a commonly seen bird of
prey in the Virgin Islands.
These falcons are easily recognized by
their small size and distinctive facial pattern.
They feed upon other birds, rats, mice,
The pictured kestrel is making a meal
Kestrels have vision that is about eight
times as acute as that of humans.
They use this keen sight to hunt and
Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Zenaida Doves (Zenaida aurita)
Also called wood doves and mountain doves, zenaida doves are easily observed. They can reach a total length of approximatly twelve inches.
These doves can often be seen walking on the ground feeding on seeds and occasionally fruit.
They also frequently perch on trees and wires.
Their gentle cooing provides a musical backdrop to the day. Zenaida doves mainly breed between February and August, laying two white eggs in nests built in trees and occasionally on the ground.
Bahama ducks are small ducks that can be
found in coastal lagoons, mangrove swamps,
salt ponds, and freshwater ponds and lakes.
Bahama ducks feed on plants and insects in shallow waters by dunking their heads and
tipping their tails in the air.
During courtship, males make subdued honking
calls and shake their bodies.
Bahama ducks are also known as
Bahama Duck (Anas bahamensis)
Moorhens are very attractive birds that are
fun to watch. They are clearly distinguished
by their colorful markings, long yellow legs
and large feet.
Common Moorhen (Gallinula cerceris)
Moorhens can be found in fresh water
ponds and marshes.
They eat a wide variety of foods including
insects, frogs, fish, snails, spiders, seeds
and the leaves and fruits of aquatic plants.
Common Moorhen (G. cerceris)
with head submerged