Monday, 4 March 2013

Ecuadorian hillstar

Oreotrochilus chimborazo

(Photo from 10,000 Birds)

Common name:
Ecuadorian hillstar (en); beija-flor-de-Chimborazo (pt); colibri du Chimborazo (fr); colibrí del Chimborazo (es); Ecuador-Andenkolibri (de)

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This species is found along the Andes mountain range, in Ecuador and southern Colombia.

These birds are 11,5-13 cm long and weigh 7,5-8 g.

The Ecuadorian hillstar is found in high-altitude grasslands and pastures, and sometimes also in humid rocky slopes, on volcanic mountains up to the snowline. They occur at altitudes of 3.500-5.200 m.

They feed on the nectar of various flowers, particularly the orange flowers of the Chuquiragua scrub, but also take several insects and spiders.

Ecuadorian hillstars can breed all year round, with a peak in October-February. The nest is a small cup made of moss, roots, dry grass, feathers, rabbit fur and vegetable down, typically placed in a cave, gully or crevice in a steep ravine, often below an overhang. The nest may also be suspended from small ferns or built in trees such as Polypelis, up to 6 m above the ground. The female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-19 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 3-4 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a restricted breeding range and is described as common and patchily distributed. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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