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Amazilia Hummingbird

Amazilis amazilia

The Amazilia hummingbird, scientifically known as Amazilis amazilia, is a member of the "emeralds" tribe Trochilini within the subfamily Trochilinae. This species is the sole representative of its genus and is adorned with a striking plumage that varies among its six subspecies, primarily in the colors of their throat and belly.

Identification Tips

Adults of both sexes possess a straight, medium-length bill that is pinkish-red with a black tip. Males of the nominate subspecies display golden-green upperparts and rufous uppertail coverts, with a tail that is mostly rufous but with bronze-green outer feathers. Their throat shimmers with a golden to turquoise-green, while the lower breast and belly are rufous. Females are similar but have additional white on the chin and throat and a paler rufous belly. Juveniles resemble females but with brownish edges on the feathers of their upperparts.

Habitat

The Amazilia hummingbird favors open semi-arid to arid landscapes, such as scrublands, thorn forests, xerophytic steppes, and deserts. It is also a common sight in cultivated areas and urban parks and gardens.

Distribution

This species is native to western Ecuador and Peru. It is a non-migratory bird, although some post-breeding elevational dispersal is observed.

Behaviour

Males are known to be territorial, defending their feeding territories from other hummingbirds and bananaquits. The Amazilia hummingbird spends a significant portion of its time perched, foraging for nectar, and occasionally hunting insects and spiders.

Song & Calls

The song of the Amazilia hummingbird is a series of squeaky notes that descend in pitch, with variations among subspecies. Calls include a "tsip" and a dry "zrrt," which can sometimes be extended into stuttering rattles.

Breeding

Breeding occurs throughout the year for most subspecies, with the exception of A. a. alticola, which breeds from November to March. Females construct a cup nest of plant fibers and cobwebs, often adorned with lichen, placed on a flat branch. The clutch typically consists of two eggs, incubated for 16 to 18 days, with fledging occurring 17 to 25 days post-hatching.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Amazilia hummingbird as Least Concern, with a large range but unknown population size and trend. No immediate threats have been identified, and the species is generally considered uncommon to common. However, deforestation poses a potential threat to the subspecies A. a. alticola, and A. a. caeruleigularis has a very patchy distribution within its restricted range.

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