And finally: the sounds of the scoundrel!

In order to complete what quite unplanned became a mini-series on the Bananaquit, I need to post a little hint of their vocalizations. They produce a very complex song, which to my ears does not sound that melodic. But if you listen carefully to a Bananaquit in the wild, you’ll start to notice different, but distinct patterns. It is their way of transmitting, often lifesaving, messages. The ones that weaved their nest into the bare electricity wires in our unused […] Read more »

The most melodious song

These beautiful vocalizations are of the Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus), one of the most common birds on Curacao, as well as on Bonaire and Aruba. The local name is Chuchubi, which approximates one of the sound-combinations that these birds produce. They are strictly territorial and will defend their nesting grounds against intruders, even of their own species, with lots of aggression. Especially in early morning and late afternoon the song is most melodious. The birds have favorite perches in high […] Read more »

The curse of the wildlife photographer

Often, while trying to move as stealthy as possible in order to shoot that one perfect picture of some rare wading bird, this bird vocalization informs me irritatingly that my efforts will be in vain for at least the coming hour. The bird responsible for this alarm sound is the Black winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). As a result of its call, all birds in the vicinity will take to the wing, except the caller him or herself. In papiamentu the […] Read more »

Nocturnal feel-good artist

These melodious sounds are made by the Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), locally known on Curacao as the Chonchorogai. It is the only local bird that will perform its musical magic during the night. Although this species is relatively common in subtropical and temperate Central and South America, Curacao and Aruba are the only places where the birds occur in a lowland arid tropical environment. On these Islands they sing in a distinct ‘dialect’. On Bonaire the species might have been […] Read more »

Cicada concert

As mentioned in the previous article (The singing cicada) it is the male half of the cicada population that is responsible for the loud concerts given during daily hours. Some species in other countries will adhere to a fixed time slot (for example in Suriname the concert will start around 6 in the afternoon). This recording is from the Christoffel park on Curacao where the insects are active during all hours of the day, and you can easily distinguish the […] Read more »

White-tailed Hawk communication

You can clearly distinguish two White-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) voices here. It is a recording of a pair communicating with each other. These birds are one of the few top-predator species on Curacao, and require relatively large unspoilt areas in order to survive. Because of this the Island is home to only about 50 pairs or so. The male and female will bond for life, and will construct several semi-permanent nests in high spots. One of these nests will be […] Read more »

Sound of the deer

This sound is made by the deer species Odocoileus virginianus currasavicus, endemic to the Island of Curaçao. These sounds are produced as an indication of danger and will be acted upon by all deer in the vicinity. Especially the young are imprinted to react to this sound, together with the white flash caused by the raised tail of the mother. They will always follow this white guidance. Read more »