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steely

Steely-vented Hummingbird

The Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei) is a medium-sized hummingbird that is a resident breeder from western Nicaragua to Costa Rica, and also in Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. The Central American birds differ in voice and behaviour from those in South America and may be a separate species, the Blue-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia sophiae). Both forms are sometimes placed in the genus Saucerottia, but this is not recognized by most authorities, notably AOU and Howard & Moore.

This hummingbird inhabits open woodland such as second growth, coffee plantations, gardens, savanna, and the edges and gaps of evergreen forests. It occurs from sea level up to 1800 m.

The nest is a cup of plant down and cobwebs, decorated outside with lichen and placed on a small outside twig 2-7 m high in a small tree. The female alone incubates the two white eggs.

The Steely-vented Hummingbird is 9 cm long and weighs 4.5 g. It is mainly bronze-green above, becoming more bronze on the wing, lower back and rump, and has a blue-black tail. The male has glittering green underparts, white thighs and a blue vent. The female is duller green below and has grey-buff edges to the vent feathers. Young birds are dull dark bronze-green below.

The Steely-vented Hummingbird has a trilled descending chit call in South America, but the Blue-vented from Central America has a high sharp tsip. The male's song in Costa Rica is a buzzy bzz WEEP wup.

This hummingbird feeds at many types of flowers, including epiphytes and Heliconias, and both sexes are aggressive and territorial, defending favoured areas.

References

  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4

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