There are many exquisite hummingbirds in nature. These tiny creatures have one-of-their-kind plumage, making them precious flying gemstones. It’s quite hard to describe the beauty of their coat. Just too perfect to be true! These birds seem to jump out from fairy books or are the artworks of talented artists. If you have an opportunity to see them in real life, make sure that you take it.
The crowned woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) is among these outstanding birds. These hummingbirds are beautifully covered in iridescent blue and green. Greens are on their cap, throat, and breast while the belly and the rest of its body shine with deep iridescent blue. Who can keep their eyes off these spectacular birds? Image Credits: Instagram/colombia_naturaleza
The tail of this bird is also eye-catching. It’s forked, and dark blue.Let’s admire their stunning plumage in the video below! Comparing with gorgeous male birds, the female of this species is a bit duller with green upperparts. She also has gray underparts with green flecks on the sides of their breast and belly. Her tail is a dusky blue with white tips.
The crowned woodnymph is a member of the hummingbird Trochilidae family. It distributes in Belize and Guatemala, all the way down through Central America, into Columbia and Peru. Thanks to the wide range, the population of these striking birds is now stable. They are listed as least concerned on the IUCN list.
This species is commonly found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical and, or tropical moist montane forests. But they sometimes inhabit heavily degraded former forested areas. Crowned woodnymphs feed mainly on nectar taken from a wide variety of brightly colored, scented, small flowers on trees, herbs, shrubs, and epiphytes. Image Credits: Instagram/steven_easley_birding
Distribution: The Violet-crowned Woodnymph can be found from the Caribbean slope of Guatemala and Belize south to northern Colombia and western Venezuela, where it is common. It inhabits wet lowlands and foothills up to 2500 m (~8,200 feet) – but may move up to higher altitudes outside the breeding season.
Nesting / Breeding: Hummingbirds are solitary in all aspects of life other than breeding; and the male’s only involvement in the reproductive process is the actual mating with the female. They neither live nor migrate in flocks; and there is no pair bond for this species. Males court females by flying in a u-shaped pattern in front of them. He will separate from the female immediately after copulation. One male may mate with several females. In all likelihood, the female will also mate with several males. The males do not participate in choosing the nest location, building the nest or raising the chicks.
The female Violet-crowned Woodnymph is responsible for building the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a shrub, bush or tree – usually about 1 -5 m high on a horizontal branch . She lines the nest with soft plant fibers, animal hair and feather down, and strengthens the structure with spider webbing and other sticky material, giving it an elastic quality to allow it to stretch to double its size as the chicks grow and need more room. The nest is typically found on a low, thin horizontal branch.
The average clutch consists of two white eggs, which she incubates alone for about 15 – 19 days, while the male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. The young are born blind, immobile and without any down. The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food (mostly partially-digested insects since nectar is an insufficient source of protein for the growing chicks). The female pushes the food down the chicks’ throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs. As is the case with other hummingbird species, the chicks are brooded only the first week or two, and left alone even on cooler nights after about 12 days – probably due to the small nest size. The chicks leave the nest when they are about 20 to 26 days old.
Diet / Feeding: The Violet-crowned Woodnymphs primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes. They favor flowers with the highest sugar content (often red-colored and tubular-shaped) and seek out, and aggressively protect, those areas containing flowers with high energy nectar.They use their long, extendible, straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering with their tails cocked upward as they are licking at the nectar up to 13 times per second. Sometimes they may be seen hanging on the flower while feeding.
Many native and cultivated plants on whose flowers these birds feed heavily rely on them for pollination. The mostly tubular-shaped flowers actually exclude most bees and butterflies from feeding on them and, subsequently, from pollinating the plants. In winter, when flowering plants may not be readily available, these birds may drink the sap from holes created by sapsuckers (woodpeckers), as a substitute for nectar.
They may also take advantage of local hummingbird feeders for some sugar water, or drink out of bird baths or water fountains where they will either hover and sip water as it runs over the edge; or they will perch on the edge and drink – like all the other birds; however, they only remain still for a short moment.
They also feed on small spiders and insects – important sources of protein particularly needed during the breeding season to ensure the proper development of their young. Insects are often caught in flight (hawking); snatched off leaves or branches, or are taken from spider webs. A nesting female can capture up to 2,000 insects a day.
Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Thalurania colombica, Costa RicaMales establish feeding territories, where they aggressively chase away other males as well as large insects – such as bumblebees and hawk moths – that want to feed in their territory. They use aerial flights and intimidating displays to defend their territories.
After finding a mate in the breeding season, the female of this bird starts building her nest in a protected shrub or tree, about 1 – 5 m from the ground. This cup-shaped nest is made from plant fibers, green moss, soft material, and spider web. She then lays 2 eggs in her nests and incubates them for 15-19 days. She continues to feed the hatchlings until fully-fledged, for around 20-26 days.
If you love this spectacular tiny hummingbird just share this article with your family and friends.