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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.

Continue learning about The Creatures of Dominican Republic – Page 4 Pictures

Women, Children & Pregnancy

Women, Children and Pregnancy

1. Luck | 2. Parenting | 3. Cures | 4. Menstruation | 5. New Mother | 6. Sex

Bad Luck / Good Luck

*When a baby is just born you say “God Bless You” to prevent the child from getting the evil eye

*Mal de ojo/ The evil eye is especially thought to cause illness in babies. It happens when somebody looks at a child with envy and makes compliments without without saying “God bless you”. If children become sick suddenly and without any physical reason and a doctor has no explanation is is for sure caused by mal de ojo.

*The “Ásabache” is a black hand or fist, sometimes a red and black bean that is used to ward off the mal ojo/ evil eye. Usually worn around the neck, even on a gold chain. Always a good baby shower gift.

*Never remove the ‘asabache’ until someone says it’s nonsense

*Put a small bracelet of beads on the child’s ankle or wrist to ward off evil and to bring prosperity.

*Be aware of brujas/ witches who try and eat babies (the Legend of the Bruja)

*The name is an important part of the person and can be used to bring evil to the person if it is known. Because of this a persons real name is usually kept secret. If your real name is known then you could be bewitched or sold to the devil by a Vendegete, or cursed by a brujo/ witch.This is why nick names, known here as Apodo, are given to children by their parents. These names usually are nothing like their given name but usually has something to do with their appearance. This way, by using the fake name it conceals their true identities from anyone trying to curse them.

*A small bag worn around the neck of little children is filled with garlic to ward off evil spirits, evil eyes and sickness.

*A small piece of black fabric must be tied around the right arm of a new born This fabric draws in and collects negative energy keeping it from the baby.

*In some areas of Dominican Republic prior to baptism they are given a baño/ bath to ward of the evil eye. This bath contains a mashed clove of garlic and three grains of salt added to the Agua Bendita/ Holy Water. This mix is sprinkled on the child.

*If a child dies without being baptized they pass the time playing tricks on humans. For example, when you can’t find your eyeglasses or sewing scissors, even though sure you left them in a particular spot, it is probably because they were hidden by the Duendes.(more on Duendes)

Parenting

*Some parents in Dominican Republic hang a baseball glove on the crib of a newborn baby boy as a good luck charm because they wish him to become a great baseball player.

*If you let a child see his or her reflection before they’re two years old they won’t talk.

*Do not get your baby’s haircut before he is one. If you do he won’t talk!

*If the hammock of the boy is rocked without him in it, this will cause the boy to become crazy.

*When a child bends over and looks at you from between their legs, it is said that they want another little brother or sister.

*Permitting a dog or cat, depending on who is telling the tale, to sleep on a child’s bed will make them not be able to have children.

*Throwing a child’s milk or baby tooth on the rooftop when they lose it will make the new tooth come in strong and straight. (more information on this and the Ratoncito Pérez)

Cures

*If a baby is getting sick or congested take a hair off a menstruating woman’s head and tie it around the babies wrist for 24 hours and the child will not get sick.

*When a baby has hiccups, put a hair from the mother’s head on the baby’s head until the hiccups go away.

*To prevent hiccups when feeding a baby place a string from it’s blanket on the forehead.

*Whenever you say something nice about a newborn you must say que “Dios lo bendiga”/ God Bless. Not doing so may cause the baby to become ill or cause some other catastrophe.

Menstruation

*Do not eat guineos / bananas if you are menstruating.

*Do not squeeze limons / lemons when you are having mensuration.

*Girls during the time of their development cannot eat green fruit or fruta agria / sour fruit.

*If you pass over top of your husband when you are pregnant he will get all the morning sickness.

*A woman having her menstruation cannot enter a freshly seeded field because it will damage the crop

*Pregnant women are prohibited from eat cherries, lemons, codfish, and herring with fried eggs (typical breakfast)

*When a woman has her menstruation she cannot touch any cleaning products because she will get very sick.

Pregnancy

*Have as many babies as you can since they are all born with a loaf of bread under their arms.

*If your are pregnant and you hold a girl, and the baby kicks you will have a girl, and vice versa.

*You must never say no if a pregnant woman asks you for something that you are eating, if you do you’ll get a sty. To be on the safe side ALWAYS ask pregnant women if they would like some want of what you’re eating.

*A pregnant woman should not walk underneath a guanabana tree or eat guanabana as she may lose her child.

A very large Pineapple – Piña

*Pregnant women cannot eat piña / pineapple.

*Do not look at anyone that is deformed while pregnant of the baby will come out looking that way.

*Pregnant women should not go into the ocean.

*If you see a dead lizard in your house a woman will come out pregnant.

*If your face looks rounder, the baby will be a girl, and if you gain weight on your rear end, the baby will be a boy

New Mother

*A new mother cannot have citrus fruits.

*A women after having a child cannot wash her hair hair for 41 days or remove her socks for 41 days after giving birth.

*You must give a woman who just had birth sopa de gallina vieja / old hen soup.

*If you drop a spoon and the bowl of the spoon is up (it looks like a pregnant women) a new family member will be arriving soon.

Sex

*Having sex on a Good Friday (Easter Friday) is a bad thing. People who do, supposedly, will be stuck the rest of the day.