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A photo of a Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica), male
Crowned Woodnymph, Male

Crowned Woodnymph

Thalurania colombica

The Crowned Woodnymph, known scientifically as Thalurania colombica, is a dazzling species of hummingbird belonging to the emeralds tribe, Trochilini. This avian jewel exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males adorned in violet and green, while females wear a more subdued palette of greens and grays.

Identification Tips

Male Crowned Woodnymphs measure between 9.5 to 11.5 cm in length and weigh a mere 4 to 5.5 grams. They boast a violet forehead, crown, upper back, and belly, with a dark bronzy green nape and a bluish green lower back and rump. Their throat and chest shimmer in glittering green, and they possess a deeply forked, blue-black tail. Females, slightly smaller at 8.5 to 9.2 cm and weighing 3.5 to 4.2 grams, have bright green upperparts and a pale gray underbelly, with their tails featuring blue-black with white-tipped outer feathers.

Habitat

These birds favor the interiors, edges, and clearings of humid primary and mature secondary forests. They are also found in semi-open landscapes such as coffee and cacao plantations and gardens, but avoid open scrublands.

Distribution

The Crowned Woodnymph is found from Belize and Guatemala to far-northern Peru, with seven recognized subspecies distributed across this range.

Behaviour

This species exhibits altitudinal movement post-breeding in Costa Rica and local movements to follow flowering events. Both sexes defend rich nectar sources, with females showing more aggression in territory defense.

Song & Calls

The presumed song of the Crowned Woodnymph is a monotonous, plaintive squeaky chip, "ksit…ksit…ksit..", and it also produces short dry chips that can form a trill or chatter.

Breeding

Breeding seasons vary geographically, with nests being cups of treefern scales and plant down, adorned with lichen and moss, and typically placed under a leaf on a horizontal twig. The clutch size is two eggs, though incubation and fledging periods are not well documented.

Similar Species

The Mexican Woodnymph was once considered a subspecies of the Crowned Woodnymph but is now treated as a separate species.

Diet and Feeding

The Crowned Woodnymph feeds on nectar from various flowering plants, preferring to forage in covered or semi-open areas. It also consumes small arthropods, capturing them by hawking from a perch or gleaning from foliage.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Crowned Woodnymph as Least Concern. Despite a very large range and adaptability to fragmented forests, the population is believed to be decreasing, though no immediate threats have been identified.

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