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Bananaquit - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Fabio
Porto © by Alegre, Brazil, April 2005
Many birds from Brazil seems paler grey on the upperparts than birds from the Caribbean.
Coereba flaveola


Subspecies aterrima- Darker
Photo © by njlarsen
Mt. Hartman, Grenada, 24 April 2024

10.5-11cm (4-4¼ in)
Dark grey upperparts, black crown, yellow underparts and rump, prominent white eyestripe, slender, curved bill.
The sexes are alike, except that the adult male develops red gape edges.


The subspecies differ in coloration, especially the throat, but also presence/absence of a white spot on the wing, and the amount of contrast on the rump (most are yellow). Population in St. Vincent and Grenada have an all-black color phase. Several subspecies on islands off Venezuela are sooty (some even blackish) all over.

Likely male. Photo © by Jonathan Farmer
Barbados, April 2009


Mexico throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America to Bolivia and Argentina.


The Bananaquit is the only member of its genus and the only member of its family.


Forty-one subspecies are included in the Clements checklist[1]

  • C. f. bahamensis: Bahamas (Great Bahama and Little Abaco to Grand Turk)

Caribbean Group

Subspecies intermedia
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Umbrellabird Lodge, Buenaventura Reserve, Piñas, El Oro Province, Ecuador, November 2014

Mainland Group

  • C. f. mexicana: South-eastern Mexico (Veracruz) to western Panama (Veraguas) and Coiba Island
  • C. f. cerinoclunis: Pearl Islands (Bay of Panama)
  • C. f. columbiana: Tropical eastern Panama to south-western Colombia and southern Venezuela (Amazonas)
Subspecies lowii
Photo © by Jeluba
Gran Roques, Venezuela
Photo © by Ronsphotos
Antigua and Barbuda, November 2016
  • C. f. caucae: Western Colombia (upper Cauca Valley)
  • C. f. gorgonae: Gorgona Island (off western Colombia)
  • C. f. intermedia: South-Western Colombia to northern Peru, south-western Venezuela and western Brazil
  • C. f. bolivari: Eastern Venezuela (lower Orinoco River Valley)
  • C. f. guianensis: Tropical eastern Venezuela (Bolívar) and adjacent Guyana
  • C. f. roraimae: Tepuis of south-eastern Venezuela, north-western Brazil and adjacent south-western Guyana
  • C. f. pacifica: Arid north-western Peru (Lambayeque, western La Libertad and Ancash)
  • C. f. magnirostris: Northern Peru (upper Marañón Valley)
  • C. f. dispar: Central Peru (San Martín) to north-western Bolivia (La Paz)
  • C. f. chloropyga: Tropical southern Peru to Bolivia, Paraguay, western Brazil and north-eastern Argentina
  • C. f. alleni: Plateau of central Brazil (Mato Grosso) and eastern Bolivia

A recent paper[4] describes that not all subspecies are well differentiated at the DNA level. The paper also proposes that the origin of the Bananaquit was in the Bahamas or in the western Greater Antilles and that the species in several rounds have spread from there through the Lesser Antilles to the mainland where it has then spread to much of South America and Central America.


Adaptable from gardens to rainforest. Observed at heights up to around 800 m asl.


When feeding on nectar, this species often has to make a hole in the lower part of a long flower
Photo © by NJLarsen
Canopy Lodge, El Valle, Cocle, Panama, 14 August 2022

A very active bird, rarely still. Not afraid of human presence. In some areas known to come to tables on outdoor restaurants and eat sugar out of the jar.


The diet consists of nectar, small fruit, berries and insects. Insects are fed to the young.


Builds a covered nest with a side entrance. Nesting usually takes place around onset of rainy season if one exists, but in some areas known to breed year round.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. BirdForum Member observations
  4. Paper describing a phylogeographic analysis of the Bananaquit
  5. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2017)

Recommended Citation

External Links

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