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Tooth-billed Hummingbird

Androdon aequatorialis

The Tooth-billed Hummingbird, known scientifically as Androdon aequatorialis, is a unique avian gem within the Trochilidae family. This bird is the sole representative of its genus, Androdon. It is distinguished by its shiny green plumage with a coppery crown, and the underparts are a whitish hue streaked with dusky shades. The tail is rounded, greyish, with a broad black subterminal band and white tips. A striking white band adorns the rump. The species is named for the small tooth-like serrations found on the inner part of the distal half of its bill, which measures approximately 4 cm in length. Males boast a small hook at the tip of their bill and more pronounced tooth-like spikes, and their plumage is generally brighter than that of females.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Tooth-billed Hummingbird, look for its long, almost straight bill with distinctive serrations and the dark-streaked whitish underparts. The iridescent green upper parts and the conspicuous white rump band are key features. The male's hooked bill tip is another characteristic to note. This species is essentially unmistakable within its range.

Habitat

This hummingbird inhabits humid primary forests and adjacent secondary growth areas. It can be found at elevations up to 1,560 meters, with varying altitudinal preferences across its range.

Distribution

The Tooth-billed Hummingbird graces the humid forests of western Colombia, north-western Ecuador (as far south as Pichincha Province), and the far eastern reaches of Panama in Darién Province.

Behaviour

The Tooth-billed Hummingbird is known for its swift flight and trap-lining feeding strategy, moving from flower to flower to consume nectar. It also uses its serrated bill to adeptly catch small spiders and insects, and males may use the hooked bill tip to extract prey from rolled leaves and cavities. This species is often seen gleaning beneath large leaves, with a characteristic tail flick.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of this hummingbird includes high-pitched tsit-tseé-tsu and penetrating cheet notes, adding an acoustic layer to its elusive presence in the forest.

Breeding

Breeding behavior remains largely a mystery, but evidence suggests that breeding condition occurs from January to March in Colombia. In Ecuador, males have been observed forming leks from February to May, a behavior more commonly associated with the Phaethornithinae subfamily.

Similar Species

Within its habitat, the Tooth-billed Hummingbird is unique and not easily confused with other species due to its distinctive bill and plumage characteristics.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists primarily of nectar from flowers, particularly those of the Ericaceae and Gesneriaceae families. The bird's serrated bill is also well-suited for capturing small arthropods.

Conservation status

The Tooth-billed Hummingbird is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, thanks to its relatively large range. However, it is scarce, localized, and associated with the highly threatened humid sections of the Chocó region.

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Tooth-billed Hummingbirds on Birda

Sightings
A map showing the sighting location
Profile picture for Chris Bell
Chris Bell
05 Oct 2023 - 6:15am
Colombia

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