phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family


The only member of its family, the palmchat was first described in 1766. The bird is typically 7.5 to 8 inches (19 to 20 centimeters) long and has a fairly long tail. Its upper parts are olive brown, with a dark yellow-green area across its rump and on the edges of its primary wing feathers. Its under parts are creamy white with heavy brown streaks, while its strong bill is yellow and its eyes are russet. Adult males and females look very similar, but immature birds have darker throats. Although it is distantly related to the North American waxwings, its plumage is not soft and velvety. It is a vocal bird, and may be recognized by its cheerful gurgles and "cheep" calls. It does not have a song, but rather blurts out noises and single notes.


The palmchat is one of only two birds native to the Caribbean (the other is the Jamaican tody). It is native to the West Indian island of Hispaniola, which is split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, including the Saona and Gonave islands.


Palmchats forage and breed almost exclusively in savannas, flat grasslands, dotted with royal palms and in valleys, and tend to stay at elevations between sea level and 4,900 feet (1,500 meters). It is also happy to live in city parks and other areas heavily trafficked by humans as long as food trees are present.

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