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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 12, 2021

15 Amaze-wing Facts About The Tody For Kids

Informative and interesting Cuban tody bird facts for everyone.

The tody is a small bird species of the order Coraciiformes. The Todidae family consists of two genera: Todus (living genus) and Palaeotodus (extinct genus). The bird is endemic to Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola islands. It prefers to live in tropical forests and woodlands, such as sub desert areas, pine groves, and pasture borders. Unfortunately, the life years of today are unknown. Its mating season is from April to June and includes unique courtship displays. They lay eggs that are bog in size.

The tody has a strong bill, head, and long tail, but they are not large in size. The wings of the tody are bright green and produce a strange rattling sound. With its powerful bill and legs, it digs the tunnel in the soil where it forms its nest. It is also built inside rotten tree trunks. All types of todies are almost the same but have different belly colors through which they are distinguished from each other. Check out these African gooe facts and cattle egret facts for more as well!

Tody Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tody?

The tody is a small Caribbean bird in the family Todidae.

What class of animal does a tody belong to?

The tody is a small bird that belongs to class Aves of phylum Chordata.

How many todies are there in the world?

The population size of todies is unknown.

Where does a tody live?

Tody is bird species that belong to the order Coraciiformes. It is endemic to larger Caribbean islands, including Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola. The first three islands have only one species each, whereas the Hispaniola island contains two tody species- the broad-billed tody (Todus subulatus), which usually live in the lowlands, and the narrow-billed tody (Todus angustirostris), which live in the highlands.

What is a tody's habitat?

Tody lives in both primary and secondary habitats. These birds prefer tropical forests and woodlands which include limestone regions, pine groves, pasture borders, shaded coffee plantations, cactus deserts, lush mountain rainforests, and streamside vegetation. This bird is limited to the number of insects, good nesting locations, amount of vegetation, and other conditions. They inhabit environments that range from 160 ft (48.7 m) lower than sea level to altitude above 9,800 ft (2987 m). The tody birds favor brushy lands and forests with enough amount of foliage, vines, and epiphytes. Todies can be seen along the borders of streams or rivers.

Who do todies live with?

Todies live in small flocks of around five to six individuals.

How long does a tody live?

The life span of the tody bird is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

Todies mate for life. Their breeding season is from April to June. The courtship displays are loud which include male-female chases and robust wing-clattering and wing-cracking. They go after each other often at lightning speed knitting around vegetation in parabolic arcs and circles. In addition, the courtship includes the flank display, which is highly developed in pink-thighed todies. For instance, when Cuban tody (Todus multicolor) birds display, their tiny bodies turn into green, neckless fuzzballs, which have illuminating rosy flank tufts on the mid-dorsal side. After pairing, they exchange insects as gifts. These small birds are burrow-nesters. They build cylindrical tunnels in vertical soil ridges that are generally low, amphitheater-shaped slippage, and cuts on the side of a road. New tunnels are dug every year, mainly from February to May. Each tunnel takes nearly eight weeks. Todies build the tunnels with their strong bills that act as blades to gouge out the soil. The nest is built in steep banks or rotten tree trunks. They work energetically to build tunnels, primarily visiting up to sixty times in an hour.

The tody bird's eggs are large and unique in the world. The eggs are much larger as related to their own size. The standard weight of an egg is 26% of mature body weight. Generally, todies lay 2-4 eggs in one clutch. Eggs of these aves are tiny, shiny, white, and ovate. The incubation period ranges from 21-22 days, while the nesting period ranges between 19-20 days. Both males and females incubate the eggs spending only 2-3 hours in a day, separately. After hatching, the babies are naked with cushioned heels on the feet and legs with dense pads of bulge skin. The parents feed insects to their chicks. In Puerto Rican tody  (Todus maxicanus) species, adults help other adults during the incubation and nestling period. According to a study, the nests which have helpers contain bigger clutches than the non-helper adults. Nest help is more common in rainforests, where rain limits the foraging rates of todies. This nest-helping technique is unusual in these birds as helpers and the recipients are not genetically related to each other. Chicks possess a small black bill and gray bibs. Their feathers slowly turn crimson Adult todies push their chicks to fly by forcing them off perches. Also, they hover with food in their bill, then pull it away at the nick of time.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of toadies is not threatened. However, the population of Cuban tody considerably declined in 2001 because of habitat destruction. Actually, it is not an endangered species but the population dropped in some areas due to the use of aerial pesticides. The narrow-billed tody is considered Near Threatened species. Todies have somewhat profited from human activities, such as digging burrows in road cuttings and trailside banks.

Tody Fun Facts

What do todies look like?

Todies are small and delicate birds that are somewhat similar to mini kingfishers and hummingbirds. The size of todies ranges from 4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm) and weighs between 0.17-0.24 oz (5-7 g). Birds of todidae species possess a wide head, a long bill which is black from above and red from below, illuminating scarlet-red throat patch, gray or sky-blue cheeks, tiny, moderately rounded tail, and shimmering green wings. The wings produce a strange, whirring rattling sound during flight. Puerto Rican, broad-billed, and narrow-billed toadies lack red throat patches but this is present in the Jamaican tody, the Cuban tody, and all other species. All types of toddies have bright emerald-green feathers on the dorsal side of their bodies, with a broad range of colors on the breast, sides, and belly. These various colors are different in every species. Some have white, cream, or gray color while others have green, pink, yellow, or blue. Most toadies have yellow underparts. Almost all toadies are extremely vocal, except the Jamaican tody which rarely vocalizes in the non-breeding season.

Cuban tody or todus can be distinguished from other todies with its red throat.

How cute are they?

Toddies are extremely beautiful birds that have multicolored plumage. They are a delight to the eyes of people who like to watch birds.

How do they communicate?

The tody birds of order Coraciiformes communicate through various calls. For example, the Cuban tody (Todus multicolor) communicate through a 'tot-tot-tot-tot' sound. However, the most characteristic sound is 'pprreeeee-pprreeeee'.

How big is a tody?

The size of a tody is 4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm), which is five times bigger than a bee hummingbird.

How fast can a tody fly?

The speed of a tody bird is unknown.

How much does a tody weigh?

The weight of a tody ranges between 0.17-0.24 oz (5-7 g).  

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names of male and female tody, separately.

What would you call a baby tody?

The baby tody is generally known as a chick, young ones, hatchling, nestling, or offspring.

What do they eat?

Todies feed on small lizards and insects. They eat insects from about fifty families including crickets, flies, bugs, cockroaches, bees, mantises, mayflies, ants, damselflies, beetles, moths, butterflies, and wasps. Occasionally, they eat spiders, millipedes, seeds, and a small amount of fruit. They avoid dangerous animals like scorpions, snakes, and whip scorpions. All types of todies use a special technique known as underlay-sally to catch insects. During this, they inspect various insects on undersides of leaves with their head aimed upward. They are alert and shake their head and eyes continuously, darting up in the sky at a low angle and flying a small flight patch, to capture an insect. These birds try to forage at a low or middle level of forest strata. Broad-billed birds feed above the narrow-billed todies.

Are they dangerous?

No, todies are non-dangerous birds. In fact, they are lovable and friendly.

Would they make a good pet?

Todies are one of the most beautiful and colorful species of birds. People keep them as pets because of their tiny size and multicolored plumage.

Did you know...

The Cuban tody (Todus multicolor) is the most colorful bird among all tody species.

Different types of tody

The tody is placed in two genera: Todas and Palaeotodus. Some species in genus Todas include the Cuban tody (Todus multicolor), Jamaican tody (Todus todus ), narrow-build tody (Todus angustirostris) and Puerto Rican tody (Todus maxicanus). The genus Palaeotodus consists of extinct species, such as P. emryi, P.escampsiensis, and P.itardiensis.

What does the tody bird mean in Cuba?

It is endemic to the Cuban island. Hence, the name. However, many people in Cuba eat this bird as food. Otherwise, people like to watch them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our little corella facts and meadowlark facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Tody coloring pages.

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