A Molting Grassquit + I’m back
Did you miss me? I’m finally free from the mayhem of college for a few days and naturally the first thing I did was pick up my camera (LOL).
I was woken up by an extremely exuberant Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) chirping his little heart out. The Blue-black Grassquit is a very common and widespread species inhabiting a variety of open habitats from weedy fields to second growth throughout much of the neotropics. Males sing conspicuously from fences and grass stalks, hurtling their entire body into the air with each song.
The adult male has glossy blue-black plumage overall with a pointed short conical bill; blackish upper mandible and greyish lower mandible. The adult female has olive-brown upperparts, with darker brown plumage and tail. The underparts are buffy-white, with streaked dark brown chest and body sides. The belly and vent are whitish and there is a whitish eye-ring.
The immature birds resembles the female, but young male is darker and it reaches its adult plumage at about one year old. I was fortunate to spot one that was molting hence the brown feathers on the male.
The blue-black Grassquit feeds mainly on seeds and small insects. It is usually seen alone or in pairs, sometimes in loose flocks at food sources. During breeding season, the male performs spectacular displays related to pair formation. Several males gather at the same place and perform conspicuous displays where it jumps straight up from its’ perch, uttering its sharp, buzzy song. It makes a brief turn in the air at about 50 to 90 cm high, and drops back to the original perch.. Each male has different displaying rate and defends its small territory.