The Cuban tody (Todus multicolor) is a bird species in the family Todidae that is restricted to Cuba and adjacent islands. The family Todidae is confined to the Greater Antilles and includes five species. The genus Todus was split from kingfishers of genus Alcedo and established in 1760. However, the todies appear to be most closely related to the motmots, and especially the Tody Motmot (Hylomanes momotula), a small solitary bird of humid tropical and subtropical forests.
The species is characterized by small size (11 cm (4.3 in), 59 g (2.1 oz)), large head relative to body size, and a thin, flat bill. In fact, this bird is so small that it could fit in the palm of a grown person’s hand. The Cuban tody weighs between six to six and half grams.
The most brightly colored member of the genus, the coloration of the Cuban tody includes iridescent green upperparts, pale whitish-grey underparts, and red highlights. This species is distinguished by its pink flanks, red throat, yellow lores, and blue ear patch. The bill is bicolored: black on top and red on the bottom.
Distribution and habitat
The Cuban tody is a year-round resident of portions of Cuba and islands just off the Cuban coast. Analysis of song variation suggests that the Cuban tody is structured into two populations, corresponding to eastern and western Cuba.
The tody, like many resident Cuban bird species, is a habitat generalist. It is known to live in dry lowlands, evergreen forests, coastal vegetation, and near streams and rivers. Cuban todies may be difficult to see; Vaurie reported, "Only one seen at the Cape, in dense underbrush, but several heard.
Justification (IUCN Red List)
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.