Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sapphire-spangled emerald

Amazilia lactea

Photo by Marcelo Cazani (Flickr)

Common name:
sapphire-spangled emerald (en); beija-flor-de-peito-azul (pt); ariane saphirine (fr); diamante pechizafiro (es); saphiramazilie (de)

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This South American species has 3 subspecies with separate breeding ranges. A. l. lactea is found in south-eastern Brazil, from Bahía to Paraná; A. l. barletti is found in central and southern Peru and northern Bolivia, and may also occur in Ecuador; A. l. zimmeri is found in south-eastern Venezuela.

These birds are 9-10 cm long and weigh 3,5-5 g.

The sapphire-spangled emerald is found in moist forests, second growth woodlands, plantations, rural gardens and within urban areas.

They eat the nectar of various plants, both native and exotic, being an important pollinator. They also eat insects, sometimes collecting them from spider webs.

Sapphire-spangled emeralds breed in October- December. The nest is a shallow cup, made of plant fibres, spider webs and lichens, placed in an horizontal branch or vine not far from the ground. The female lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by the female alone and fledge 18-19 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The population is believed to be stable, so the species is not threatened at present.

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