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Plain-bellied Emerald

Chrysuronia leucogaster

The Plain-bellied Emerald, a diminutive and vibrant hummingbird, measures between 9 to 10 cm in length. Males typically weigh between 4 to 4.5 grams, while females are around 4.3 grams. This species is characterized by its glittering green crown, golden to bronze-green upperparts, and a distinctive white belly.

Identification Tips

Adult males of the Plain-bellied Emerald have a short, straight to slightly decurved blackish bill with a red base to the mandible. Their crown and neck shimmer with green, while the flanks and throat sides boast a golden to bronze-green hue. The center of the throat and underparts are stark white. Females are similar but have greenish spots on the throat sides and grayish green-tipped tail feathers. Immature birds resemble females but with additional brownish edges on the back feathers.

Habitat

This species thrives in semi-open to open landscapes, including mangroves, forest edges, secondary forests, cerrado, caatinga, and human-modified areas such as plantations, parks, and gardens. It is typically found near sea level but can be seen up to 250 meters in elevation in Venezuela.

Distribution

The Plain-bellied Emerald is found in a coastal range from northeastern Venezuela through the Guianas and into northeastern Brazil as far as Piauí state. A separate subspecies, C. l. bahiae, is located in eastern Brazil from Pernambuco south through to Espírito Santo.

Behaviour

This hummingbird is mostly sedentary, though some local movement has been observed. It is known to defend feeding territories vigorously and forages close to the ground.

Song & Calls

The presumed song of the Plain-bellied Emerald is a series of single 'pseeee' notes repeated in succession. Its calls include a thin 'tsink' and a high-pitched, stuttering series.

Breeding

Breeding season varies by region, occurring in July and August in the Guianas and from October to February in northeastern Brazil. The female constructs a cup nest adorned with lichen on the outside, placing it on a branch or fork within 5 meters of the ground. She incubates two eggs for approximately 14 days, with fledging occurring 20 to 25 days post-hatching.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists of nectar from a variety of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees across at least eleven plant families. In addition to nectar, the Plain-bellied Emerald also consumes insects, which it catches in flight from a perch.

Conservation Status

The IUCN has classified the Plain-bellied Emerald as Least Concern. While the population size and trend are not fully known, there are no immediate threats identified. It is considered a rather common resident in the northern part of its range, though less is known about its status in eastern Brazil.

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