Return of Bird of the Week: Violet-bellied Hummingbird


Violet-bellied Hummingbird, West Slope of the Andes, Ecuador

Violet-bellied Hummingbird, West Slope of the Andes, Ecuador

Among birders’ favorite hummingbirds has to be the Violet-bellied. Not only is the male’s coloration spectacular; this species favors the flowers of the understory, making it more accessible than most hummingbirds. And it is sometimes attracted to feeders. It’s a handsome bird from this angle, but when it catches the light right, well.

Violet-bellied Hummingbird, West Slope of the Andes, Ecuador

Violet-bellied Hummingbird, West Slope of the Andes, Ecuador

It can make your eyes water when you see it through your binoculars.

This is a small hummingbird, about 7.5 cm ā€“ just under three inches ā€“ long, weighing just 3.4 grams. But it certainly has the most flash per gram of any bird in the Western Hemisphere.

Very little is known about the species. There are believed to be three subspecies, one each in eastern Panama, Columbia and Ecuador/northern Peru. The Ecuadoran subspecies has a brighter head than the others.

Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Darien Province, Panama

Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Darien Province, Panama

The wide distribution of the species and its tolerance for forest edges and second growth presumably means it is buffered to some extent from habitat disturbance; but the limits of its habitat tolerances have not been documented. At present, it is not believed to be under immediate threat. But like so many Neotropic species, that’s just an educated guess.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.