Sunday, 9 October 2011

Chestnut-bellied hummingbird

Amazilia castaneiventris

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This species is endemic to Colombia, and it appears to be restricted to the dryer parts of the Magdalena Valley, Colombia, with a core known range in the Chicamocha, Suarez and Chucuri valleys. There are also some recent records from the Chucurri river basin and La Paz.

Chestnut-bellied hummingbirds are 8-9 cm long and weigh just 5 g.

This species inhabits dry valleys and some humid sites, mostly in forest borders, bushy canyons and semi-arid areas vegetated with shrubs and low trees. They show some preference for rivers and streams and seem to be tolerant to habitat degradation, having been recorded in pastures, fruit crops, coffee plantations and xerophytic scrub. They are generally found at altitudes of 850-2.200 m, but may be present as low as 120 m.

They feed on the nectar of various plants including Salvia and Trichanthera, but also cactus, guamo Inga spp., banana Musa sp., and coffee.

These birds breed in December-February. Males may mate with several females, and each female lays 2 eggs which she then incubates alone. There is not much available information on the breeding patterns of this species, but similar species incubate the eggs for 14-19 days. The females raise the chicks alone and in similar species the chicks fledge about 17 days after hatching.

IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a restricted and very fragmented range and the global population size is estimated at just 1.000-2.500 individuals. The species is assumed to be declining, but as it is apparently tolerant of disturbed and human modified habitats, any declines are assumed to be less rapid than the overall rate of habitat conversion within its range. The main threat to this species is habitat fragmentation due to the expansion of coffee and sugarcane plantations, as well as pastures. Livestooks grazing, logging, mining and cocaine production are other potential threats.

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