The adult female (not displayed) is reddish-brown on the upperparts. The crown is dark brown. Cheeks, neck and throat to upper breast are cinnamon. Rest of underparts is pale grey.
The immature resembles female.

The Jamaican Becard is found only in Jamaica.

The Jamaican Becard is mainly found in tall open forests and edges in hills and low mountains. But it also frequents more closed forests, woodlands, wooded pastures and gardens at mid-elevations.

The Jamaican Becard gives loud, squeaky calls that allow to detect the bird. It gives a rapid “kelelelelelee-oh” with the first notes rising and the last falling. This sound is rather plaintive.
It also produces two hoarse “queeck” followed by a musical phrase but not well defined, gradually rising in pitch and then falling towards the end.

The Jamaican Becard feeds on insects and fruits. As primarily arboreal species, it usually forages mainly at middle and upper levels of trees. The bird forages by hovering or snatching, catching the prey while flying, or by flycatching and hawking when both bird and prey are on the wing. But it also gleans food items from vegetation and tree foliage.

The Jamaican Becard moves slowly through the foliage, or perches on a branch while moving the head from side to side. As soon as the prey is detected, the bird sallies and catches it while hovering, before to return to a perch where the prey is beaten before to be swallowed. The bird often adopts a vertical perching posture.
The prey include various species of insects, spiders, and occasionally lizards (Anolis). It also consumes fruits, especially from Ficus.

The Jamaican Becard is resident in Jamaica, with some movements to lower elevations outside of breeding season.

The flight is agile when the bird is foraging by hovering and flycatching.

The breeding season occurs between March and June. The Jamaican Becard builds a huge nest, a large mass of a variety of plant materials. This bulky, globular structure has an entrance hole at the bottom and is suspended from a tree branch. It can be placed above the canopy, but sometimes lower within woodlands or even in an open area.
The female lays 3 dull white eggs with dark grey markings around the broader end.
This species produces more than one brood per season.

The Jamaican Becard is widespread and fairly common in Jamaica, in spite of intense forest clearance. However, the species is adapted to secondary habitats and is fairly tolerant of disturbed areas.
The population is suspected to be stable.
The Jamaican Becard is not globally threatened, and currently evaluated as Least Concern.

Fr: Bécarde de la Jamaïque
Ang: Jamaican Becard
All: Jamaikabekarde
Esp: Anambé Jamaicano
Ita: Beccaio della Giamaica
Nd: Jamaicaanse Bekarde
Sd: jamaicabekard


Ken Havard
My Bird Gallery & Flickr gallery 1 & Flickr gallery 2

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 9 - by Josep del Hoyo - Andrew Elliot - David Christie - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334695

BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES – by Herbert Raffaele, Kristin Williams et Tracy Pedersen – Helm – ISBN: 9780713649055 
A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by James Bond – Editeur: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999 – ISBN: 0618002103, 9780618002108 – 256 pages 

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica De Ann Haynes-Sutton, Yves-Jacques Rey-Millet, Audrey Downer, Robert Sutton – Editeur: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010 – ISBN: 1408133229, 9781408133224 – 336 pages

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

Neotropical Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

SORA - Food and foraging ecology of the Jamaican Becard


Home page

Page Order Passeriformes

Summary cards


Jamaican Becard
Pachyramphus niger

Passeriformes Order – Tityridae Family

The Jamaican Becard is endemic to Jamaica where it occurs in forests and edges in hills and low mountains.
It feeds on insects and fruits by moving slowly through the foliage beneath the canopy. It nests in a huge mass of plant   materials suspended from a tree branch.
The Jamaican Becard is locally fairly common throughout its restricted range, in spite of forest clearance. The species is not globally threatened.

Length: 18 cm
Weight: 39-41 g

Male and female have large, rounded head and large black bill.
The Jamaican Becard adult male is entirely black, glossy black above and sooty black below. There is a small white patch at base of wing, only visible in flight.
The bill is black. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are blackish.