Tag Archives: Pyrrhulagra

Pyrrhulagra grandis (Lawrence)

St. Kitts Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra grandis)

The St. Kitts Bullfinch was described in 1882, originally as a subspecies of the Puerto Rican Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra portoricensis (Daudin)) (see photo).

… a short description: 

Similar to P. portoricensis but much larger and with the rufous markings darker (intermediate between ferruginous and vinaceous-rufous); that of the throat more restricted, scarcely extending to the chest, and that of the under tail-coverts mixed with black.” [1]

The species was endemic to the island of St. Kitts, where it was restricted to the higher slopes of Mt. Misery, the highest part of the island, it may very likely once have been found all over the island and very likely also on the neighboring islands of Nevis and St. Eustatius, which were connected with St. Kitts during the last glacial period. 


The St. Kitts Bullfinch was originally known from nine specimens all of which had been collected in 1880 by Frederick A. Ober, an American naturalist, and the species was considered extinct since that date, however, a specimen that previously had been overlooked, was found in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., USA; this specimen was collected in 1929 or 1937. [2][3]



[1] Robert Ridgeway: The birds of North and Middle America: A descriptive catalogue of the higher groups, genera, species, and subspecies of birds known to occur in North America, from the arctic lands to the isthmus of Panama, the West Indies and other islands of the Caribbean sea, and the Galapagos Archipelago: Part I. family Fringillidae – the finches. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 1901
[2] Storrs L. Olson: The last St. Kitts Bullfinch Loxigilla portoricensis grandis (Emberizinae) and the extinction of its race. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 104(4): 121-123. 1984
[3] Orlando H. Garrido; James W. Wiley: The taxonomic status of the Puerto Rican Bullfinch (Loxigilla portoricensis) (Emberizidae) in Puerto Rico and St. Kitts. Ornithologia Neotropical 14: 91-98. 2003


Puerto Rican Bullfinch (Loxigilla portoricensis)
Photo: Carlos Davi Hernández



edited: 10.11.2020

Pyrrhulagra sp. ‘Barbuda’

Barbudan Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra sp.)

This form is known from at least two subfossil remains, a quadrate and a rostrum, found on the island of Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda, in the Lesser Antilles.

The remains were compared to other closely related forms and most agree with the bones of the largest subspecies of the Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra violacea ssp. ruficollis (J. F. Gmelin)) from Jamaica, which is about the same size as the now extinct St. Kitts Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra grandis (Lawrence)). [1]

The Barbudan Bullfinch may have been identical with the St. Kitts species or it might have been a distinct species, I personally like to refer to it as a distinct species. [2]



[1] Gregory K. Pregill; David W. Steadman; David R. Watters: Late Quaternary vertebrate faunas of the Lesser Antilles: historical components of Caribbean biogeography. Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History 30: 1-51. 1994
[2] D. W. Steadman; R. L. Norton; M. R. Browning; W. J. Arendt: The birds of St Kitts, Lesser Antilles. Caribbean Journal of Science 33(1–2):S. 1–20. 1997


edited: 17.02.2020