Birds of Barbados, bullfinch

The Barbados Bullfinch

Among the resident birds of Barbados, the Barbados Bullfinch is the only endemic – it’s found on this island and nowhere else. It’s a true Bajan.

Science alert!

Birdwatchers (or twitchers as they are somewhat unfairly known) will tell you that the Barbados Bullfinch differs from its cousins on the other eastern Caribbean islands by the absence of sexual dichromatism.

In a nutshell, this means the male and female have the same colouring.


A mystery, not only a secret…

Why the Barbados Bullfinch (loxigilla barbadensis to use its scientific name) evolved this way is a mystery. But the drier climate and the absence of any seed-eating competitors may be responsible.

Just call me Sparky…

Locals call it Sparky – and often refer to it as a sparrow. Much simpler.

Keen birder Anthony Zerafa snapped this chap near the west coast’s Bellair Institute. As you can see, scientists here have given many of the birds colour-coded leg bands to help track individuals.

Birds of Barbados

There are up to 24 birds resident in Barbados.

As sugar declines, and the land returns to bush, more species are likely to make the island home.

But more than 230 species have been seen. Most are visitors.

You might also spot a green-backed heron, or the gaulin as locals call it. It’s highly intelligent, sometimes using bait to catch fish.

Birds of Barbados, heron
Birds of Barbados, gray kingbird

Gray Kingbird

The Gray Kingbird is one of the most common birds of Barbados – swooping off its perch, feeding on insects which take to the wing after dark.

While other islands crow about their waterfalls and hikes through virgin forests, Barbados still has its endemic bullfinch.

So, look out for Sparky while you’re sipping a rum punch on your balcony…

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