Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) with his crest up
Taken in Placencia... I love it when they come down close, look me right in the face and say, ''Whippoorwill !!
There are a ton of possibilities from the Latin for 'yellow' that could have been ascribed as the specific epithet: 'flavus,' 'crocus,' 'luteus,' or 'buxeus,' but in this case 'sulphuratus' describes the yellow underparts of this bird. The generic epithet actually derives from how it was originally described by the German naturalist Georg Marcgraveas: 'pitangua-guacu' which comes from the Tupi language.
This is also one of those birds whose common name in several languages is onomatopoeic evoking its call of 'kiss-ka-dee' in English, 'bem-te-vi' in Portuguese (Brazil) or 'bien-te-veo' in Spanish.
Mostly found in Belize, the Great Kiskadee occupies a wide variety of habitats and is quite a voracious hunter of insects, frogs, snakes, lizards, and even mice. In the 50s two hundred were exported from Trinidad to Bermuda in an attempt to control the number of lizards there; twenty years later the population of Great Kiskadees on the island had expanded to around 60,000 but because this bird is omnivorous, it failed to control the number of lizards!
Photograph by Bubba Crigler
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