Monday, 28 July 2014

Racket-tailed coquette

Discosura longicaudus

Photo by Robson Czaban (Beija-flores)

Common name:
racket-tailed coquette (en); bandeirinha (pt); coquette à raquettes (fr); rabudito de raquetas (es); diskuselfe (de)

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This South American species is found in two disjunct areas, one from southern Venezuela and the Guyanas south to the Amazon river, and another along the coast of eastern Brazil, from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio de Janeiro.

The males are 10 cm long, including the long tail streamers, while the females are 7-8 cm long. They weigh 3-4 g.

The racket-tailed coquette is mostly found in moist tropical forests, particularly along rivers and streams, but also uses scrubby, moist savannas and second growths. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 700 m.

They feed mainly on the nectar of various flowers, namely Anacardium occidentale, Leonitis petaefolia, Leonurus sibiricus, Caesalpinoidae dicymbe  and Calliandra sp. They also take some small invertebrates.

Racket-tailed coquettes nest in a cup made of soft plant materials and lined with soft plant fibres and seed down. The nest is built solely by the female and placed in a tree, 3-6 m above the ground, where she lays 2 eggs. The female incubates the eggs alone for 13-14 days. The chicks are raised by the female alone and fledge about 20 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. It is suspected to lose 9-10% of suitable habitat within its distribution over the next 12 years, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, so a small decline is expected in the near future.

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