The Hummingbirds of Cuba

Three species of hummingbirds, the bee hummingbird, Cuban emerald, and the ruby-throated hummingbird, favour Cuba. The bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world, and the ruby-throated hummingbird are members of the bees clade whilst the Cuban emerald is from the emerald clade. Two of the three species, the bee hummingbird and the Cuban emerald, are endemic to Cuba, but the ruby-throated hummingbird is a migratory visitor from North America.

The bee hummingbird's IUCN status is "Near Threatened" as a result of habitat alteration. It is estimated that a smaller proportion, 2%, of Cuba's land is in a natural state as the rest has been transformed for agricultural use—traditionally for pastures and various cultivations and more recently for expansion of cacao, tobacco and coffee[1]. Birding spots where the bee hummingbird may be expected are Bermejas, La Boca, La Turba, Palpite, Soroa, Soplillar, Las Terrazas, and Vinales.

The Cuban emerald is pervasive throughout the main island and on small satellite islands. It is at home in a variety of habitats including forests and gardens. Birding spots in which the Cuban emerald have been observed are Cayo Coco (Coco Cay), Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Paredon (Paredon Cay), La Guira, La Turba, Palpite, Rancho La Belén, Las Terrazas, and Vinales.

The appearance of the ruby-throated hummingbird in Cuba, during winter months, is part of the greater experience of the Greater Antilles and Central America. Its habitats are varied and include deciduous forest, secondary forest, and gardens.

Despite the island's large size, the low count of hummingbird species, three to four, on the island of Cuba is consistent with the expected amount for most islands of the Caribbean including the islands of the Greater Antilles—except Puerto Rico, which has nine species. Notably, Cuba does not have species of the mangos clade which are present on The Bahamas and the nearby Greater Antilles islands of Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico.

Cuba Hummers
Bee Hummingbird
Cuban Emerald
Cuban Tody
Cuban Trogon
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Works Cited

1D'Ambrosio, Ugo. Cuba | Ecoregions | WWF. WWF. [Online] World Wildlife Fund, 2016. [Cited: October 25, 2016.]