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Bronzy Hermit

Glaucis aeneus

The bronzy hermit, Glaucis aeneus, is a diminutive and enchanting species of hummingbird belonging to the family Trochilidae. This avian jewel measures a mere 9 to 10 centimeters in length, with males typically ranging between 3 to 6.5 grams in weight and females slightly lighter at 3 to 6 grams.

Identification Tips

Both sexes of the bronzy hermit exhibit a similar plumage, characterized by bronzy or coppery green upperparts that glisten in the sunlight. Their throats and breasts are a deep buff color, transitioning to a pale buff belly. A distinctive white "moustache" adorns their faces, set against a dusky backdrop. The tail presents a fascinating color palette: gray-green with white tips on the upperside, and a gradation from reddish near the body to blackish in the middle, culminating in white at the tips. The male's bill is decurved with serrated edges, while the female's bill is more curved and lacks serrations.

Habitat

The bronzy hermit thrives in semi-open landscapes, where it frequents disturbed primary forests, mature secondary forests, swamp forests, and shrublands. These habitats offer the rich nectar sources and insect life that these birds depend upon.

Distribution

This species is geographically split into two populations. One resides from eastern Honduras through eastern Nicaragua, eastern and western Costa Rica, to western Panama. The other population is found from western Colombia to northwestern Ecuador, as far south as Pichincha Province.

Behaviour

The bronzy hermit is a sedentary bird, believed to be non-migratory across its range. It is a solitary feeder, often seen flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar or deftly plucking small arthropods from spider webs and foliage.

Song & calls

The bronzy hermit's vocal repertoire includes a high-pitched descending song, reminiscent of 'tsee-tsee-tsi-tsi-tsitstitsi', interspersed irregularly with a series of 'seee' notes. Its flight call is a sharp, high-pitched 'tzeeet!', often heard as it darts through its forested domain.

Breeding

The breeding season of the bronzy hermit varies geographically and has not been fully defined. Its nest is a work of art, a cone-shaped cup crafted from plant fibers and spider webs, adorned with lichens for camouflage. This delicate structure is suspended from the underside of a drooping leaf. A typical clutch consists of two eggs.

Similar Species

The bronzy hermit is often confused with the rufous-breasted hermit (G. hirsutus), but they are now considered a superspecies due to subtle differences in morphology and plumage.

Diet and Feeding

Nectar from Heliconia and other plants comprises the bulk of the bronzy hermit's diet. However, it also consumes small arthropods, which it gleans from spider webs, leaves, and twigs, and occasionally captures in flight.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the bronzy hermit as Least Concern. While the exact population numbers and trends are unknown, the species is reported to be "very common" in parts of its range, such as Colombia, and is present in several protected areas.

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Bronzy Hermits on Birda

Sightings
A map showing the sighting location
🦆
Jess Willdigg
24 Jan 2024 - 6:03pm
Costa Rica

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