Most birds would not get the “cute” label the way many mammal species do, but the Tody is a definite contender for the award among avian species.
There are only 5 species of Todies, all found only on Caribbean islands. However, fossils of a Tody ancestor have been found in Europe, so it is likely that this group was once more widely distributed and is now relegated to island habitats where there is less competition. Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica all have their own (endemic) Tody species, each looking slightly different.
Todies are most closely related to Kingfishers, and in fact, resemble them somewhat in body shape. Like Kingfishers, they sit and wait, hunting from a perch, until they spot an insect or spider nearby, then dart out to grab it.
Isolation on islands allows genetic variation to take different directions, resulting in slight plumage variation in the five different species. The Cuban Tody is a fancier dresser than the Puerto Rican species.
Todies are found all over the island here, and I’m already looking forward to our next encounter with them.