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Cuban Bullfinch - BirdForum Opus

Male of subspecies nigra. Photo © by THE_FERN. Cueva del jabali, Cayo Coco, Cuba, April 2024
Melopyrrha nigra

Includes: Grand Cayman Bullfinch


Length: 14-15 cm (5.5-5.75 in).
Male: black with white along edge of wing; thick curved bill. At least on Cuba, the black is somewhat glossy.
Female: Cuban race is grayish-black, Cayman race is paler, more olive-gray.


Only found in Cuba, where it is common and widespread, and Grand Cayman, where it is most abundant at South Sound Swamp, North Side and North Sound Estates.

Male. Photo © by Jack Brodie
Cayo Coco, Cuba, 23 March 2011


This is the only West Indian bullfinch species that does not belong to the genus Loxigilla -- upper mandible is much more curved. Sometimes placed in the genus Pyrrhulagra [5].

Subspecies taylori may be split as "Grand Cayman Bullfinch" leaving subspecies nigra as "Cuban Bullfinch" (strict sense).


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:


Found at all elevations, in woodlands, mangroves, brushy areas, and undergrowth in pine areas.



The diet includes seeds, fruit and insects.


Breeds March through August, usually until July. Both pair members construct a large spherical bulky mass with side entrance. Three to five eggs are whitish with a greenish cast, spotted with reddish brown and lilac concentrated at the larger end.


Song is a thin melodious trill that ascends or descends in pitch.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Arthur Grosset
  3. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of Cuban Bullfinch
  4. Ayón Güemes, X., E. Ruiz Rojas, and E. E. Iñigo-Elias (2013). Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.cubbul1.01
  5. Rising, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Cuban Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra nigra). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/62157 on 30 November 2018).

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