Thursday, 4 August 2011

Long-tailed hermit

Phaethornis superciliosus

Photo by Rodrigo Gavirião (Flickr)

Common name:
long-tailed hermit (en); rabo-branco-de-bigodes (pt); ermite à brins blancs (fr); ermitaño de cola larga (es); langschwanzeremit (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This South American species is a resident breeder in Venezuela, the Guianas, and north-eastern Brazil.

Size:
The long-billed hermit is 13-15 cm long and weighs 3,5-6,6 g.

Habitat:
These birds can be found in lowland edges of tropical forests, especially along streamsides. They are commonly observed in shady areas of tropical growth and concentrate in a warm, moist habitats where the favorite food plants are abundantly found.

Diet:
Long-billed hermits eat nectar, mostly from Heliconia, Aphelandra, passion flowers Costus laevis and the red passion flower Passiflora vitifolia. In periods when flowers become scarse and the birds require more proteins they also eat insects.

Breeding:
They breed in the wet season, in January-August. The cone-shaped nest in built by the female alone, using cobwebs, plant fibers and saliva, and being securely fastened to the underside of palm leaves. There the female lays 2 white eggs which she incubates alone for 14-19 days. The chicks are fed regurgitated insects by the female, who thus provides them with the necessary protein for their growth. The chicks fledge 18-28 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range but is described as rare. Still, this species is not considered threatened at present.

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