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Jamaican Tody

The Jamaican tody is endemic to Jamaica.

Melissa Mayntz

(adjective) Describes a bird species that is native and confined to one specific area and is found nowhere else in the world as a wild, breeding species. While similar species may be found elsewhere, a bird is considered endemic if its unique species is only found in one area. Birds in captivity (zoos, aviaries) do not count when discussing the limitations of an endemic species.

Different factors can force birds to be endemic to an area. Most commonly, geography limits the birds' spread, and many endemic species are found on islands. Other geographic characteristics such as mountains and deserts can contribute to a species' isolation and endemic status. Climate and specialized food preferences can also help define endemic species.

Enthusiastic birders frequently travel to remote locations to see endemic bird species and add them to their life list. Many birding tour companies offer itineraries focused on a destination's endemic birds for that purpose. Similarly, birding festivals may use endemic species as featured birds to attract guests. In many cases, a bird's common name may include its endemic location, but this is not a certainty and should not be used to guarantee an endemic sighting.

Photo – Jamaican Tody © Melissa Mayntz



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