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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSERIFORMES > EMBERIZIDAE > ZAPATA SPARROW [Torreornis inexpectata]

Zapata Sparrow Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Zapata Sparrow, Torreornis inexpectata, is a medium sized grey and yellow bird that lives in the grasslands of the Zapata Swamp and elsewhere on the island of Cuba. Measuring about 16.5 cm (6.5 in) in length, it is grey and yellow overall with a dark reddish-brown crown and olive-grey upperparts.

The Zapata Sparrow is confined and endemic to Cuba. It was discovered by Spanish zoologist, Fermín Zanón Cervera in March 1927 around Santo Tomás in Zapata Swamp. Two other populations have since been discovered, on the island of Cayo Coco in Camaguey province and in a coastal region in Guantanamo province. As the species is no longer confined to Zapata the alternative name of Cuban Sparrow is sometimes suggested.

Each population is assigned to a different race due to differences in plumage and ecology. The nominate race T. i. inexpectana at Zapata is found in extensive sawgrass swamps, the similarly-plumaged Cayo Coco race T. i. varonai is found in forests and shrubbery and the duller eastern race T. i. sigmani frequents arid areas of thorn-scrub and cacti.

The bird's song is described as "metallic high-pitched trill at intervals tziii-tzziii-tzziii ... and quiet tic-tic-tic". In the dry seasons the Zapata population feeds on seeds and flowers primarily, as well as, insects, spiders, snails and their eggs. In the wet season the Zapata Sparrow is know to eat small lizards. It is thought to breed between March and June.

Typical threats are fires in the dry season, drainage of the wetlands, destruction due to agriculture and tourism.





                                     



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