Birds | April 1, 2023 1:18 PM | hangbony
The Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, like most hummingbirds shows various appearances and colors according to the lighting.
When perched in shade, this it appears dull blackish-brown, but when the sun touches lightly its feathers, it becomes a jewel.
It is a small hummingbird, measuring about 3.15 – 3.54 inches in length and weighs around 4 – 5 grams.
Adult males have dark brown body with dull olive gloss. Wings are dark-gray. Tail is bright chestnut with black tip.
Throat and breast are iridescent golden, or occasionally emerald-green.
They have a shiny ruby-red forehead, crown and nape, sometimes more orange.
The black bill is short and straight. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are blackish.
Females have copper-green upperparts. Tail shows olive-green central rectrices whereas the others are bright chestnut. There is a dark purple subterminal band and white tips.
Underparts are pale gray. (Birds from Trinidad and Tobago have sometimes a greenish-golden stripe from the chin, down to the breast.)
Immature birds resemble the adult females. They have a white spot behind the eye. On the tail, the outer rectrices are dark violet with white tips.
Utters high-pitched chirps and whistles. Calls are very short and given from an exposed perch as advertising sounds “tliii, tliii, tliii…” Aggressive calls are series of rapid chattering, uttered by both sexes.
Feeds on nectar from flowers of trees, shrubs, cacti and cultivated plant species. It also catches insects by hawking in the air, and forages in foliage for arthropods.
Found in clearings, open country, cultivated areas and gardens where it forages from low down to treetops.
It is usually seen from sea-level to shrubby arid hillsides, up to 1700 meters of elevation, but often below 500 meters.
Breeds in tropical northern South America, from southern Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, southwards to central Brazil and northern Bolivia.
It also occurs on islands, in the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago.
Nest is tiny and cup-shaped, made with fine materials such as plant fibers and spider webs. The outside is decorated with lichens and pieces of bark. It is saddled in fork of small branch, at about 1 – 4 meters above the ground.
The female lays 2 eggs, and incubates during 15 – 16 days.
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