ST. KITTS BULLFINCH
(Loxiguilla Portoricensis Grandis)
Subspecies of the Puerto Rico Bullfinch
The Caribbean has many endemic Birds. Research indicates that the Caribbean (excluding Trinidad & Tobago) has 770 different species, of which 148 are endemic, with 105 being single island endemic. However, St. Kitts & Nevis were not blessed with many Birds that are endemic to the islands. In fact, at the moment there are no birds that are found uniquely in St. Kitts or Nevis. The one specie that the islands could claim as unique to St. Kitts was the St. Kitts Bullfinch, but regretfully it has been considered extinct and has not been sighted since 1929.
But is it really extinct?
It is thought that natural disasters may likely have caused its demise. Apparently this Bird was very common in the 1890’s but around the turn of the century two major Hurricanes hit the island, and they appeared to have seriously affected their numbers. Worse was to yet come as in 1924 another large Hurricane affected the islands, and then in 1928, the Mother of all Hurricanes, one of the major Hurricanes of the 20th Century directly struck the islands. There was only one recorded sighting of the St. Kitts Bullfinch after that, in the following year, 1929
However, in 1993, local naturalist Campbell Evelyn and his wife reported a sighting in the forest high above Stonefort Village, but regretfully they did not have a camera. It appears that this specie of Bird was holding on precariously to life, but its continued existence would have been threatened by another two massive Hurricanes named Louis and Georges, which affected the island in 1995, and 1998 respectively. Notwithstanding, in 2012 there was a very credible report from Father Sanchez that he heard the call of the St.Kitts Bullfinch on the way hiking to the creator, (see News article).
If you happen to travel in any of our rainforests, particularly in the area of Mount Liamuiga, keep your eyes open for this particular specie as nothing would give us more satisfaction than if we could prove that this specie still exists, and to initiate relevant steps to preserve and protect this unique bird.
Any sightings (or pictures!) please notify us at our contact address on the contact link on the top of this page.
For more information and pictures of the St. Kitts Bullfinch can be found on the following two sites.