Bermuda is home to two endemic bird species: the Chick-of-the-Village (Vireo griseus Bermudianus) and the Bermuda Petrel or Cahow. Here are 6 facts on the lesser-known Chick-of-the-Village!
1. The Bermuda White-Eyed Vireo (Chick-of-the-Village) is a subspecies of the mainland White-Eyed Vireo, which can be found in North America. Differences between the two birds include the Chick-of-the-Village being less active (with shorter wings) and duller in colour than its North American counterpart. Both, however, share two distinct white bars on their wings.
2. The Chick-of-the-Village may be hard to spot due to its size at only 4.5 inches, but if you listen closely, you may be able to hear it’s joyous song. This songbird is named after its unique and cheery tune.
3. They can be found in suspended nests in trees in parks, gardens and dense woodland areas. Due to urbanization, some of their habitats have been threatened and destroyed. But thankfully, most have found home in our woodland and nature reserves: head over to Spittal Pond or Paget’s Marsh to find this melodic creature.
4. The population of the Chick-of-the-Village used to be much larger than it is today. During the Bermuda cedar scale endemic (1946-1953) the island lost 95% of its trees. With the loss of their natural habitats, the Chick-of-the-Village was threatened with extinction. Currently, they are listed on the Protected Species Act 2003 and the Protection of Birds Act 1975.
5. Their diet is primarily comprised of insects. However, they are known to also eat berries and small lizards (if needed!).
6. These native birds can be found year round on the island. The Chick-of-the-Village usually nests in May and lays 2-3 eggs (unlike their North American relative that lays 4-5). Their eggs are white with tiny black specks.