Broad-billed Tody

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Todus subulatus

Broad-billed Tody

The Broad-billed Tody is a small rotund bird with a short tail, distinctive bright green feathers on its back, head and wings, as well as a plain white breast tinged with yellow.

It has the widest bill of the tody family, measuring 0.6 centimeters wide and 2.1 centimeters long, its body measures 4.5 inches tall and weighs approximately 7.5 grams, making it the largest bird of the genus Todus.

Males and females are nearly indistinguishable. They have a striking red throat, pale pink flanks, slate-colored irises and bright yellow on its underside, where its body meets its tail.

Upperparts is black, while its lower part is entirely red. They have short, rounded feathers that are not streamlined for efficient flight.

Juveniles can be distinguished by the absence of the red throat, instead having pale yellow throats somewhat tinged with red, as well as shorter bills and gray-streaked breasts.

It is a very chatty bird, constantly making noise and bobbing its body among perches.

Main vocalization is a whistle, which a monotonous "terp, terp, terp" sound, with no change in tempo or pitch.

When it encounters a predator, a competitor or is generally being aggressive, it has a "trilly", chattering vocalization.

It also makes unusual guttural sounds, which do not sound like a call and are most likely reserved for the breeding season.

Varied diet consisting of around fifty insect families, with the most foraged invertebrates being grasshoppers and crickets, beetles, moths and butterflies, flies and cockroaches.

It also eats specific fruits belonging to the Brunelliaceae, Chenopodiaceae and Guttiferae families, as well as small vertebrates like small anole lizards.

Prefers arid habitats containing low-land scrubs, sub-desert habitats with plentiful cacti and agave, as well as shaded coffee plantations and pine forests.

Despite being a tropical bird, it is rarely seen in dense rainforest and dislikes wet conditions. It is not a migratory species, and is instead completely sedentary.

Endemic to Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti).

Both the male and female dig a burrow within embankments to house their nest, which are 3.7 centimeters wide and 4.0 centimeters high, while the burrow can be as deep as 60 centimeters.

The female usually lay 1 clutch of 1 to 4 eggs per season. Both parents the incubate the eggs for about 2 - 3 weeks, though the female does incubate a larger percent of the time.

They are considered an inattentive parent, because they spend less than a quarter of its daylight time incubating the eggs.

Tody eggs are the smallest eggs of the Coraciiformes, measuring 1.6 centimeters by 1.4 centimeters and weighing approximately 1.4 grams.

The eggs are glossy white, with no markings, though they often pick up a reddish tint from dirt stains, as well as a rosy tinge from the large orange/red yolk inside, necessary to sustain their unusually long incubation time.


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