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Puerto Rican Tody


Puerto Rican Tody

KingdomOrderFamilyGenusSpecies
AnimaliaCoraciiformesTodidaeTodusTodus mexicanus

The diminutive Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) is a tiny 11 cm emerald and yellow insectivore, weighing just 5-6 grams. Locally dubbed “San Pedrito” (Little Saint Peter) or “medio peso” (half-dollar) for its coin-sized body, this noisy rainforest bird is endemic across Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican Tody, San Pedrito, medio peso, Little Saint Peter Bird, Half Dollar Bird
IUCN Status: Least-Concern
  • Common Name(s): Puerto Rican Tody, San Pedrito, Medio Peso, Little Saint Peter Bird, Half Dollar Bird
  • Family: Todidae
  • Body Dimensions: 11 cm
  • Male Plumage Color(s): Emerald Green Back, Yellow Flanks, Red Throat
  • Female Plumage Color(s): Emerald Green Back, Yellow Flanks, Red Throat
  • Habitat: Rainforests
  • Diet: Insects, Spiders, Lizards, Frogs
  • Native Countries: Puerto Rico
  • Continent(s): North America
  • Taxonomy Classification Year: 1838
  • Taxonomist(s): René-Primevère Lesson

Puerto Rican Tody Fun Facts

Puerto Rican Tody
Image Source: ©[WMarissen] from Getty Images via Canva
  • With gray eyes, males sport a red throat matching their lower mandible, while females have white eyes. Almost perpetually bobbing its oversized bill, the Puerto Rican Tody sallies from high perches to snatch up insects and spiders from leaves below[1].
  • Nesting February-June, pairs excavate 25-35 cm burrows, laying 1-4 bright white eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks over 3 weeks until they become fledged.
  • Interestingly, this species can lower its body temperature by 14°C to conserve energy. Females even enter torpor while breeding.
  • The Puerto Rican Tody inhabits damp montane broadleaf forests rich in insects, its primary food. But coffee plantations and thickets also provide adequate habitat. Still, nest predation by introduced Indian mongooses and Habitat Loss to development pose concerns.
  • While clashes between territorial todies spark aggressive displays, these tiny birds tolerate other species. Roosting solitarily, the Puerto Rican Tody’s reliance on abundant mature trees and insect prey highlights rainforest conservation values.
  • Considered Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, protecting prime breeding sites and habitat will help ensure Puerto Rico’s smallest endemic avian resident—the “half dollar bird” tody – retains its diminutive place on the island[2].
Suggested Reading: Other Birds In Puerto Rico

Cite This Page

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BioExplorer.net. (2024, June 09). Puerto Rican Tody. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/birds/puerto-rican-tody/.
BioExplorer.net. "Puerto Rican Tody" Bio Explorer, 09 June 2024, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/birds/puerto-rican-tody/.
BioExplorer.net. "Puerto Rican Tody" Bio Explorer, June 09 2024. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/birds/puerto-rican-tody/.
Key References
  • [1]“Overview – Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) – Neotropical Birds”. Accessed December 26, 2023. Link.
  • [2]“The birds of North and Middle America : a descriptive catalogue of the higher groups, genera, species, and subspecies of birds known to occur in North America, from the Arctic lands to the Isthmus of Panama, the West Indies and other islands of the Caribbean sea, and the Galapagos Archipelago : Ridgway, Robert, 1850-1929 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive”. Accessed December 26, 2023. Link.

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