Creatures Of Dominican Republic 3 – Winged

Creatures of The Dominican Republic – Winged

Some of the birds and creatures with winds found in The Dominican Republic.

The Hispaniolan Woodpecker/ Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola | The Village Weaver / Madame Sagá | Black Witch Moth

The Hispaniolan Woodpecker/ Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola (Melanerpes striatus)

The Hispaniolan Woodpecker - Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola in Zona Colonial
The Hispaniolan Woodpecker – Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola in Zona Colonial

The Hispaniola Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker is only found on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in the countries of Dominican Republic and Haiti. They can be found throughout the entire island.

This noisy woodpecker travels in groups and is very social, unlike most woodpeckers. They also watch out for other colonies members nesting young.

The Hispaniolan Woodpecker in the Colonial Zone
The Hispaniolan Woodpecker in the Colonial Zone

They are easily spotted because of their pointy beaks, their yellow and black striped body feathers, their greenish grey rump and the distinctive red head. Of course, these birds have the noticeable red on their heads. The males red striped goes from the forehead to their heck and the female species red markings are much smaller and can only be seen extending from the nape to its neck.

A Hispaniolan Woodpecker/ Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola on the wall of the Alcazar Colón
A Hispaniolan Woodpecker/ Pájaro Carpintero de la Hispaniola on the wall of the Alcazar Colón

Here in the Dominican Republic, many parts of the country do not like these boisterous birds. One of their favorite nesting places is in cacao (cocoa) trees damaging the tree and they also like to poke through the seed pod making it easy access for insects and other organisms that can damage the crop. According to (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09670878509370969#preview) pod damage was assessed at 3.7% in 1981 and 3.5% in 1982, close to the 4% estimate by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic. The Ministry established a bounty program on the Hispaniola Woodpecker in 1976, our study suggested this bounty should be discontinued. The program was found to be not cost effective, and did not reduce damage, and had an adverse effect on other avifauna.

http://planetbirds.blogspot.com/2011/06/hispaniolan-woodpecker.html

Madame Sagá also known as The Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)

The yellow and blackish brown Village Weaver sitting atop the round nest he built in the trees of Parque Colon in the Colonial Zone.
The yellow and blackish brown Village Weaver sitting atop the round nest he built in the trees of Parque Colon in the Colonial Zone.

Madame Sagá was first record in Dominican Republic in 1796 originally arriving as a cage bird on the slave ships from Africa. In Africa there are many species in this family. They are common all over the country now and only recently have been spotted in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo.

The male is usually bright orange to yellow with a black hood, brown nape and red iris. The female is yellow-green. To me, a person not very knowledgeable about birds, they looked bright yellow with black heads and beaks with red eyes. They are eye-catching easy to spot.

Madame Sagá entering the round nest through the small opening in the trees of Parque Colón in the Colonial Zone.
Madame Sagá entering the round nest through the small opening in the trees of Parque Colón in the Colonial Zone.

The males build the round nests with a small opening. They are nicely woven usually using with palm leaves. Then he waits hoping the female will choose him because he is the best mate and nest builder. They nest in colonies laying between 2 to 4 pale green to blue eggs between April and September. You can usually hear them before you see these bright birds are their colonies can be very loud especially in the mornings.

The nest of the Madame Sagá / Village Weaver close-up
The nest of the Madame Sagá / Village Weaver close-up

Madame Sagá feeds on rice and grains making it very unpopular with the rice and millet farmers. This pretty and noisy bird may be small but it loves to eat and eat. They are considered pests by the Dominican farmers.

The Black Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata)

The Black Witch Moth bringer of good fortune or death picture taken in Dominican Republic
The Black Witch Moth bringer of good fortune or death picture taken in Dominican Republic

The Black Witch Moth is called so because is considered to be a warning of death in Mexican and some places in the Caribbean. Other places in the Caribbean this giant moth is considered to bring good luck by blessing people with money. In Spanish it is known as “Mariposa de la muerte”. It is also called the Bat Moth because it is close in size to a small bat.

The Black Witch Moth close up in a dorway in Zona Colonial, Dominican Republic
The Black Witch Moth close up in a dorway in Zona Colonial, Dominican Republic

This huge moth starts out as a large caterpillar that can be up to 3 inches in length. It has beautiful intricate patterns of black and greenish brown spots and stripes. These caterpillars grow into the large moths with the males wing span reaching up to 7 inches and many are even bigger. Their markings are very beautiful and at night, when they usually fly, they are many times mistaken for a bat because of their size. They will not hurt you and are lovely to watch.

A beautifully colored Ascalapha odorata / Black Witch Moth in Dominican Republic close-up
A beautifully colored Ascalapha odorata / Black Witch Moth in Dominican Republic close-up

Black Witch Moth caterpillars eat legumes and especially like acacia and mesquite. They are harmless and not considered to be a pest. They do not have stingers or teeth.

Black Witch Moth in Dominican Republic has a very large wind span
Black Witch Moth in Dominican Republic has a very large wind span

They originally were found in Mexico and Central America but now can be found in North America as well.

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