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Violet-headed Hummingbird

Klais guimeti

The Violet-headed Hummingbird, scientifically known as Klais guimeti, is a diminutive avian jewel, measuring a mere 8.1 cm in length. Males of the species boast a resplendent violet or blue crown and throat, with the hue shifting depending on the viewing angle. A distinctive white spot is present behind each eye, contrasting sharply with the dark head. The bird's back shimmers with metallic bluish-green or bronze-green tones, while the underparts transition from green to a more subdued grey belly. The tail mirrors the green of the back, accented with minute white-grey spots, and the wings are a stark black.

Identification Tips

To identify the Violet-headed Hummingbird, look for the male's intense violet or blue head and throat, with the characteristic white postocular spot. The female, though less vivid, can be recognized by her blue cap and greyish underparts. Both sexes share the same wing and tail coloration.

Habitat

This species is found in the lush subtropical or tropical moist lowland and montane forests, as well as in areas of heavy forest degradation. They are often seen flitting about the edges of primary forests, secondary forest clearings, and shrubby areas.

Distribution

The Violet-headed Hummingbird graces a wide range of locales, from Honduras and Nicaragua through Costa Rica and Panama, down into South America, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, northern Brazil, western Venezuela, and northern Bolivia.

Behaviour

Males are known to sing in loose leks, particularly from October to December, with a resurgence in April. They perform their vocal displays from slender dead twigs, high above the ground at the forest edge. Nests are mossy cups constructed near mountain streams, with breeding activities peaking around February.

Song & Calls

The males' chorus is a seasonal affair, tied closely to the flowering and rainy periods, which influence the availability of nectar.

Breeding

The Violet-headed Hummingbird's breeding season is marked by the construction of mossy cup nests, typically situated 1 to 5 meters above the ground near forest streams. The breeding season culminates with the fledging of young in May.

Similar Species

While unique in its genus, the Violet-headed Hummingbird might be confused with other small hummingbirds. However, its distinctive violet head and throat in males and the blue cap in females set it apart.

Diet and Feeding

These hummingbirds have a penchant for nectar, particularly favoring the flowers of understory shrubs. They also capture small insects mid-flight to supplement their diet.

Conservation status

The Violet-headed Hummingbird is classified as Least Concern, demonstrating a remarkable adaptability to human-altered landscapes, such as agricultural clearings and shade-grown coffee plantations.

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Speckled Hummingbird

Adelomyia melanogenys
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