Cuban Blackbird

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Dives Atroviolaceus 

Cuban Blackbird

A medium-sized bird with black plumage overall and strong violet iridescence on the upperparts, mostly violet-blue on the crown.

The upperwing is glossed blue-green, except the bright violet gloss on lesser and median coverts. The tail is like the flight-feathers and is blue-green gloss.

The violet gloss of the underparts is stronger on the breast and almost absent on belly. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are black.

Females resemble the males but have duller plumage, less iridescent, and slightly smaller than males.

Juveniles are much duller, mostly brownish-black, and lack iridescence.

BILL: black, short, thick and blunt-tipped, with curved, not flattened culmen, creating a small hook.

SIZE: measures about 9.8 - 11.02 inches in length.

WEIGHT: weighs about 72 - 80 grams.

COLOR: black, violet iridescence, violet-blue, blue-green black, brownish-black.


Insects, fruits, seeds and nectar from flowers. It may take small lizards too.

Urban parks and gardens, gardens in rural areas, cultivated fields, grassland and open forests.

Cuba, but entirely absent from the Isla de la Juventud and some of the offshore cays.

CALL: A loud, repetitive “to-teee” giving the bird its local name “Toti”.

Also a clear “tee-to” and a typical slightly nasal note “chup” or “chuk”.

It also produces a mewing and series of guttural whistling sounds.

SONG: Melodious and includes different phrases interspersed with short pauses.

They repeat a single, sharp note “twee-twee-twee-twee”.

Another phrase is a mellow “quee-ahh-whaaaa” and a peculiar nasal “wwwwhhhhhhaaaaaa” fairly similar to a distant braying sheep.

It also gives a more complex and warbled song.

NEST: Nest is a cup made of rootlets, hair and feathers, and lined with softer material, usually plant fibers.

EGGS: 3 - 4 white eggs with gray or brown spots.

INCUBATION: 12 days, both adults. 

They forage on the ground and also gleans from palms or flowering trees.

They take nectar from flowers and eat ripe bananas. Often pick insects from cattle like the cowbirds, and eat the insects disturbed by livestock.

They also follow the plough for flushed insects.

Cuban Blackbird Infographic




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