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Name

  • Common Name (English): Green Violetear Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus

Etymology

Colibri is the word most widely used in Latin America to refer to birds of the family Trochilidae. Apparently, the word originates with the indigenous people of the Caribbean. The name thalassinus comes from the Latin “thalasinus” or the Greek “thalassinos” meaning ocean green, in clear allusion to its predominantly green plumage.

Distribution and habitat

This species can be found from Mexico to the northwest of Argentina, at altitudes ranging from 1200 to 3000m. In Venezuela, it is found in the Sierra de Perijá, and the Andes from Táchira to Lara, Falcón, Yaracuy, Cordillera de la Costa, Distrito Capital, Miranda, Sucre and Monagas. It is a resident and short-distance migrant in seasonal forest, cloud forest, forest edge, secondary forest and shade coffee plantations. It makes significant altitudinal migrations following the flowering season of the plants. These birds are widely distributed in the mountains.

Biology and Conservation

Their diet is based on flower nectar and some small insects, which they capture mid-air. The green violetear usually forages in the lower and middle strata. It is territorial and defends flower patches, although in areas close to the moor, it may choose to forage for flowers in the long vegetation. Also, it often meets other species in flowering trees – especially in Guamo, Bucare and Araguaney trees. The female builds her cup-shaped nest with moss and some leaves, plant fibres, mosses and lichens, at a height of a few metres. The female incubates the two eggs and then takes care of the chicks for approximately 25 days until they are ready to fly.

Green violetears have the habit of perching in open places, from where they sing persistently. They are in the category of least concern according to the IUCN.

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