The Bananaquit of Costa Rica
Bananaquits find their home from southern Mexico and a number of Caribbean islands to Costa Rica, Paraguay and Northern Argentina. They seemingly prefer lowland forests and scrubland, but can also be found near gardens and homes in search of nectar.
Mating & Reproduction
These birds mate primarily in the periods of the most flowering depending on their location. Because the birds survive on a diet based on nectar, they will wait until their food source is abundant. When flowers are blooming, a ritual of bowing, bobbing and showcasing the bright yellow feathers of the Bananaquit’s chest is done to catch the attention of a fertile female.
The rainy season from around May through June is generally when Bananaquits will mate, but the times may change depending on the area.
Once a pair has been formed, they endeavor to weave a globular nest made of leaves, grass and twigs. The female then lays a clutch of two to four pale eggs, and the male departs to sleep in a separate nest.
Along with its main diet of nectar, the Bananaquit can also be found consuming small bits of fruit and insects. If the Bananaquit is found feeding near gardens, it can be tamed or its brood could potentially. Bananaquits will also visit feeders for sugar water; proving further that they are not afraid of human habitations.
The entrance to the globular nests constructed by Bananaquits is on the bottom of the nest. Bananaquits may build several nests to suit their purposes. Some may be for breeding while others are for purposes such as sleeping. Several Bananaquits might use the same nest for sleeping.
Bananaquits are usually 4-5 inches long, and they are often colored yellow, black and white. There are a few color morphs that change with their locations. The color morphs differ in appearance most commonly around their throats which can range from black to white.
The taxonomy of Bananaquits has been much debated among ornithologists, and it is uncertain whether Bananaquits belong to the tanager family or are part of their own family known as Coerebidae.
Bananaquits do not aid flowers in pollination, so it is observed that they steal nectar from plants.
Locations in Costa Rica: Corcovado National Park, Barra Honda National Park, La Selva Biological Station, Marino Ballena National Park, Cahuita National Park
Diet: nectar, fruit, insects
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Habitat: lowland forests, scrubland
Size: length=4-5 inches weight=up to 10 grams (males are larger than females)
Species: Coereba flaveola