Lesser Antillean bullfinch (Loxigilla noctis)
The Lesser Antillean bullfinch is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List (1).
Found only on the Lesser Antillean chain of islands in the Caribbean, the Lesser Antillean bullfinch (Loxigilla noctis) is a stout finch with a very thick, short bill that is adapted to take the husks off seeds. The Lesser Antillean bullfinch displays marked sexual dimorphism, the male being primarily identified by a diagnostic reddish-brown throat and chin, which sits in stark contrast to the otherwise predominantly black plumage. There is also an inconspicuous red spot above the lores (the space between the eye and the bill), and the under-tail coverts often have a wash of reddish-brown (2).
The female Lesser Antillean bullfinch has dark olive-grey upperparts, with some brown on the wings, and greyish underparts. The under-tail coverts are tawny. The Lesser Antillean bullfinch may be further identified by its call, which is a simple twittering with an occasional harsh note, sharp trill or a sharp ‘tseep-tseep’ (2).
The Lesser Antillean bullfinch is confined to the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean (3).
The Lesser Antillean bullfinch is typically found in the shrubby undergrowth of forests, but may also inhabit gardens on Barbados (2).
The Lesser Antillean bullfinch usually builds a globular nest in a bush or low tree, with the entrance at the side of the nest. Usually two or three spotted eggs are laid. Like other bullfinches, the Lesser Antillean bullfinch probably feeds mainly on seeds, by skilfully removing the husks with its large bill. It may also feed on the buds and petals of flowers, as well as on fruit, such as plantain, coffee and peppers (2).
While the status of the Lesser Antillean bullfinch has not yet been fully evaluated, this species is generally thought to be common throughout much of its range (4).
In the absence of any major threats to the Lesser Antillean bullfinch, it has not been the target of any known conservation measures.
Find out more about the Lesser Antillean bullfinch and other birds:
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- Coverts: small feathers concealing the bases of larger flight feathers, usually on the wings or tail.
- Sexual dimorphism: when males and females of the same species differ in appearance.
IUCN Red List (March, 2011)
- Bond, J. (1993) A Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies. Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.
BirdLife International (March, 2011)
- Raffaele, H.A., Wiley, J., Garrido, O., Keith, A. and Raffaele, J. (2003) Birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.