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Todies: Todidae

Physical Characteristics

Todies are tiny, delicate, rather chunky kingfisher-like birds. They have a broad head; a long, narrow, and somewhat flattened bill that is colored red or orange-red below and black above; sky-blue to gray cheeks; bright scarlet-red throat patch; short, slightly rounded tail; and shining green wings. All species have brilliant emerald-green feathers on their upper bodies, with various colors on the breast, sides, and stomach depending on the species, some pale (whitish, cream, or grayish) and others having mixtures of pink, yellow, green, and blue. Individual species are identified most often by the different colors of their sides, stomach, and cheeks.

The shape of the bill is designed for efficient eating. It easily snaps up insects from the undersides of leaves in short, sweeping movements. Most species have short, rounded wings and loosely fluffed plumage (feathers). The short wings are efficient for their short flights. Other species fly longer distances, and have longer wings. Males and females are similar in physical characteristics. Adult todies show no changes in feather color between the seasons. The five species are: Cuban tody, narrow-billed tody, Puerto Rican tody, Jamaican tody, and broad-billed tody.

Todies somewhat resemble miniature kingfishers and often are mistaken for hummingbirds. They are 4 to 4.6 inches (10.1 to 11.7 centimeters) long, and weigh between 0.19 and 0.27 ounces (5.4 and 7.7 grams).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsTodies: Todidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Cuban Tody (todus Multicolor): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, TODIES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS