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A photo of a Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis)
Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Panterpe insignis

The fiery-throated hummingbird, Panterpe insignis, is a vibrant member of the "mountain gems" tribe Lampornithini. This small bird, measuring between 10.5 to 11 cm in length, is known for its dazzling throat coloration and is the sole representative of its genus.

Identification Tips

When observing the fiery-throated hummingbird, look for the glittering royal blue crown and the stark contrast of the black face and nape. The back shimmers with metallic green, transitioning to bluish-green on the uppertail coverts. The tail is a deep blue-black. The throat's center is a brilliant rosy coppery orange, flanked by golden green, and a violet-blue patch adorns the center of the breast, with the rest of the underparts a bright green to blue-green.

Habitat

This species thrives in a variety of wooded environments, including montane and cloud forests, as well as elfin forests. It can also be found in more open areas such as the lower edges of páramo, secondary forests, and pastures dotted with trees.

Distribution

The fiery-throated hummingbird is native to Costa Rica and Panama, with the nominate subspecies ranging from Costa Rica's Cordillera de Tilarán to western Panama, and the subspecies P. i. eisenmanni found in northwestern Costa Rica's Cordillera de Guanacaste.

Behaviour

This hummingbird is known to descend to lower elevations post-breeding, though it typically stays above 1,400 meters. It is an aggressive and dominant species, particularly at feeding sites.

Song & calls

The fiery-throated hummingbird's vocal repertoire includes a nasal, squeaky "kek…kek…" and a complex, liquid twittering with sudden rises in pitch.

Breeding

Breeding season in Costa Rica occurs from August to January. The female alone constructs a nest of plant fibers adorned with moss and lichen, laying two white eggs. The nest is often situated on a descending bamboo stem or under a bank.

Diet and Feeding

Nectar from various small flowers constitutes the primary diet, with the bird also consuming small arthropods. It may create holes in flowers to access nectar or use those made by other creatures.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the fiery-throated hummingbird as Least Concern. With an estimated population of 50,000 to 500,000 mature individuals, the species is common to abundant within its range, much of which is protected land.

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