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Aruba’s Sugar Thief

If you’ve spent much time on the island, you’ve probably gotten to know this beautiful little bird. More formally known as the Bananaquit, you probably have also figured out why it’s called the sugar thief. Toss a few grapes on the balcony and a flock of these tiny birds magically appear.  In fact, they are so fearless they’ll hop right up on your table if you’re eating some fruit. I haven’t managed to convince one to eat out of my hand yet, but I’m working on it.

During one trip, my daughter spent every morning out on the balcony with these colorful creatures.

The Bananaquit (scientific name Coereba flaveola) is common to the Caribbean islands, and is also found in parts of South america.

When forced to fend for itself rather than relying on the kindness of tourists, the sugar thief (suikerdiefje in Dutch) drinks nectar from flowers by piercing the petals, like a hummingbird.  In so doing, it “steals” the nectar without pollinating the plant. One more reason it’s known as a thief.

If you are so inclined, you can listen to the call of the Sugar Thief on this site. Listen to the recordings labelled Bananaquit.

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  1. Pingback: Birds of Aruba

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