WC thinks this is the first hummingbird species where WC only has photos of females. It’s not that the males are uncommon; WC just hasn’t gotten any photos of them. That probably means a trip back to Panama or Costa Rica. Hardship duty.
Depending on which ornithologist you talk to, there are six, seven or eight species of Mountain-gems, formally the genus Lampornis. There are at least three subspecies of Purple-throated Mountain-Gems, likely an effect of their isolation on higher mountains. This species is limited to portions of extreme southwest Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It’s a mountain species, and generally in mature, evergreen cloud forests. As is so often the case with Neotropical species, even the glamorous hummingbirds, these are poorly studied.
It’s probably appropriate that WC has only photographed females; they do all the work. In this species, the females build the nest, do all the incubation, and feed the two nestlings. After mating, the males are gone. That nest is a work of art, isn’t it? And impossible to see from more than five feet away.
This is one of the most nectar-focused of the hummingbirds. Insects are generally taken only to feed nestlings, their only source of protein.
The small range and somewhat specialized habitat put the species at risk. Based on very small datasets, the populations may be in decline, likely as a consequence of deforestation.
For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.
You must be logged in to post a comment.