This painting of a banana palm with the banana flower attracting the little honeycreeper birds, known as bananaquits, is a common sight here in Antigua. The interior of the magenta flower contains, if you will, rows of baby bananas which are a tender sweet treat for the hungry bananaquits. (In the absence of the birds, the flower matures into the banana fruit, with the pinky magenta outer covering falling off).
Banana flowers are also used for decoration and in some species, the decorative flower is used uniquely in table top arrangements for special occasions.
Bananaquits are very gregarious birds and can gather in large groups, squabbling amongst themselves, each trying to grab food before his neighbour does. They are also very attractive, with their bright yellow breasts, white streak on the head and bright red dash of colour on the beak. Variations in the black and white and grey on the head and neck are found in the different Caribbean islands. the ones in Antigua have completely black heads.
Bananas are not grown extensively in Antigua because it is a dry island with no natural water sources. Much of Antigua’s banana supply comes from the neighbouring island of Dominica, land of 365 rivers.
Watercolour 22×30″ 56x92cm