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Name

  • Common Name (English): Crimson Topaz
  • Scientific Name: Topaza pella

Etymology

The name Topaza comes from the Latin topazus, name given to the stone jasper. The specific epithet pella originates from the Latin pellos, meaning dark-coloured. Both names were given in clear allusion to the spectacular contrasting bright red and black plumage exhibited by the males.

Distribution and habitat

The Topacio Candela Colicanelo is native to South America.  Its distribution includes Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil and Ecuador. In Venezuela, it is found east of Bolivar State, from the upper Caura River through the Paragua River and Sierra de Imataca to the border with Brazil. It is a rare resident in humid jungles, jungle edges and gallery forests, at up to 500m elevation.

Biology and Conservation

Like all hummingbirds, they are birds of extraordinary flying ability. They live near streams and watercourses. They feed in the middle and upper levels of the forest, hunting insects and sucking nectar from various flowers. They can defend small flower patches. The cup-shaped nest is usually built at low altitude and near water. The female usually lays two eggs, which she incubates herself. It is also the female that takes care of the young. According to the IUCN, the crimson topaz is in the category of least concern.

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