BAHAMA YELLOWTHROAT: ABACO’S ENDEMIC WARBLER


BAHAMA YELLOWTHROAT: AN ENDEMIC WARBLER

The Bahama Yellowthroat (Geothlypis rostrata) is a resident breeder species of warbler endemic to the Bahamas, closely related to the migratory Common Yellowthroat. The other birds endemic to Abaco / Bahamas are the Bahama Swallow, BAHAMA WOODSTAR and ABACO PARROT

HABITAT Dense low scrub, usually in drier areas than used by wintering Common Yellowthroats. It builds a cup nest low in dense vegetation and lays two eggs. Like other yellowthroats it feeds on insects and other small invertebrates in low vegetation

THE 3 VARIETIES The adult Bahama Yellowthroat is 15 cm long with a large bill. There are 3 subspecies: G. r. rostrata on Andros and New Providence islands (uncommon to rare);  G. r. tanneri on Grand Bahama, Great Abaco and associated islands (common); and G. r. coryi on Eleuthera and Cat islands (common). The noticeable distinction between these 3 types seems to be in the forecrown colour (not one I myself would readily spot…)

DIFFERENCES FROM COMMON YELLOWTHROAT The Bahama Yellowthroat is slightly larger than wintering Common Yellowthroat and has a heavier bill and ‘slower, more deliberate movements’. Males have ‘more extensively yellow underparts, a larger facemask extending onto the nape, and in the case of coryi the distinctive yellow forecrown. Females have a grey wash to the head not shown by Common Yellowthroat’.

Bahama Yellowthroat (Adult female), Little Abaco                                    Photo credit ©Mike Danzenbaker  http://www.avesphoto.com

SONG Described as a loud wichety wichety wichety wich, similar to that of Common Yellowthroat, with the call a softer jip than that of Common Yellowthroat. This is meaningless to me – lots of warblery birds sound like that as far as I can make out. Here is a very short recording of a BY on Abaco courtesy of Xeno-Canto, but it’s not saying wichety to me – more like whee-hew 

Below is a short self-crediting video to illustrate the song of a Bahama Yellowthroat on Grand Cayman. There’s a hint of wichety there.

CONSERVATION The Bahama Yellowthroat population overall is quite small and is outnumbered in winter by migrant Common Yellowthroats. It appears not to be endangered. Its conservation is currently listed as ‘Least Concern’ (see Wiki-Box above). The population may be decreasing slightly due to habitat destruction, but not yet sufficiently to bring the species within the ‘vulnerable’ classification.

Here is an excellent clear image of an adult male by Craig Nash who has taken many wonderful photos around Delphi and further afield – see the 4 ‘Peregrine’s Blog’ links under the Blogroll in the SIDEBAR Highly recommended.                        [I am also clearing copyright permission to add a few other photos – I haven’t taken my own BY photo yet…]Photo credit: Craig Nash

Sources: various, including relevant books (see reviews in BOOKS BirdLife International and good old Wiki 

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