Thursday, 17 February 2011

Crimson topaz

Topaza pella

Photo by Jim Watt (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This South American species is found in the northern parts of the Amazon Basin, in northern Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname and the Guyanas.

In this species males are considerably larger than female. Males are 21-23 cm long and weigh 10-14 g while females are 13-14 cm long and weigh 10 g.

This species is found in tropical and subtropical lowland rainforests, up to an altitude of 500 m. It is often found in the canopy, in gallery-forest along rivers and creeks.

The crimson topaz feeds mainly on nectar from flowers of different plants species. It also catches flying insects in the air.

Breeding season varies according to the range, but in the Guyanas, the crimson topaz breeds twice, in January-April, and again in July-November. The nest is a cup-shaped bowl made with pale coloured plant fibres, often of Bombax seeds. These fibres are fastened with spider webs. The female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-23 days. The chicks fledge after 3 weeks, but they remain with the female for another 3 weeks.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as uncommon. There is no information about population trends, but the species is not considered threatened at present.

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