Formerly placed with Q. niger in a separate genus, Holoquiscalus, but recent genetic analyses indicate present species is more closely related to Q. nicaraguensis than to other congeners. Races form two groups, “fortirostris group” (including contrusus), with blackish-brown females, and “lugubris group” (remaining six races), with paler brownish females; sometimes thought to represent two separate species, but female coloration evidently variable. Further, a molecular (mtDNA) comparison of some mainland races with island ones revealed sequence divergence of 3.9%, indicating prolonged isolation, but many island races not examined; mtDNA of two individuals from Barbados resembled distant Trinidad individuals, perhaps reflecting human introduction. More information required. Proposed race dispar (described from Kingstown, on St Vincent) refers to occasional vagrants of fortirostris. Eight subspecies recognized.
Introduced (race fortirostris) in N Lesser Antilles (N of Montserrat); nominate race said to have been introduced on Tobago from Trinidad.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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