tody

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tody

(tō`dē), common name for small (3–4 in./9–10 cm) West Indian birds of the family Todidae, comprising the single genus Todus. Bright green above with red throats, they are forest birds called robins by Jamaicans, although not related to the robin.

They are typically divided into four lowland species, one each on the islands of Jamaica (T. todus), Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Hispaniola. A fifth mountain species is found also on Hispaniola. The lowland species are distinguished chiefly by call and breast coloration, and it has been suggested that they might be best considered as geographic races in a single species. The narrow-billed tody (T. angustrirostris) differs from the others in preferring high, humid forests.

Tody bills are typically broad and flattened, with serrated edges and stiff, whiskerlike rictal bristles. Typically observed perched in pairs on branches, todies wait until they spy prey, then quickly fly off to catch an insect on the wing or a small lizard on the ground. In flight, their wings make a loud, whirring noise which the birds can control and which is often associated with the mating season.

Todies nest in narrow ground tunnels, laying two to three, rarely four, white eggs per clutch. The nestlings are born gray-throated but soon molt to red. In Haiti, tody eggs are eaten.

Todies are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Coraciiformes, family Todidae.

References in periodicals archive ?
Why some individual todies show only mild hypothermia, whereas others exhibit dramatic decreases in [T.
a]'s the hyperthermia exhibited by todies at high [T.
We found no association between the occurrence of torpor in todies and any of several measures of body condition (see Table 3); other studies have reported torpor in birds that appeared to be in good condition (e.
Although todies experience temperatures as low as 15[degrees]C only infrequently in nature, exposure to this temperature most likely provides an environment of energetic stress for the birds not unlike that brought on by a shortage of food or some other factor.
Hormonal differences between the sexes may further explain the absence of torpor in male todies.
Oligocene fossils of todies and motmots (Momotidae) from Wyoming and France, for example, indicate that the current ranges of these two groups are relictual (Olson 1976, Mourer-Chauvir[acute{e}] 1986, Feduccia 1996).
The correspondence between climatic cooling at more northerly latitudes and the retreat of todies, motmots, and many other kinds of birds historically more widespread to the tropics suggests that the current distribution of many tropical species may be the result, at least in part, of an inability to adapt to cooler environmental conditions.
Todies maintain a low active-phase body temperature, utilize heterothermy, hypothermia, and, under certain conditions, torpor.
A comparative study of Todies (Ayes, Todidae), with emphasis on the Puerto Rican Tody, Todus mexicanus.
Comparative study of Todies (Todidae), with emphasis on the Puerto Rican Tody Tadus mexicanus.