Not much bigger than a bumblebee, this is a tiny coquette of a bird with a snow-white belly flecked with bronze, all topped off with a rakish swept-back hairdo.
Meet the Black-crested Coquette
The black-crested coquette (Lophornis helenae), is a species of hummingbird in the Trochilidae family. Resembling a large insect this hummingbird has a short red bill with a black tip. His back is glossy green, the rump black with a white stripe that separates the greenback from the black rump. The belly is a green-bronze spotted combination. The head is topped off with a black and green crest. The throat is sparkling green with showy black-and-buff throat feathers extending from his lower throat. Their most recognizable features are their feathery crests and white stripe on their rump.
Photo Courtesy of ryanacandee / CC BY 2.0
Adult females lack the crest and throat patch of the adult male.
Her plumage is more brownish and generally duller.
The Black-crested Coquette is native to many Central American countries, including, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
These birds like to live in habitats that include subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests or moist montanes as well as heavily degraded former forested areas. They can quite often be found along the rainforest edge.
Black-crested Croquettes like to dine on nectar taken from a wide variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers on trees, herbs, shrubs, and epiphytes. Looking for nectar with a high sugar content 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. Males establish feeding territories, where they are known to chase away other males as well as large insects – such as bumblebees and hawk moths.
During the breeding season, the female is responsible for building a cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and camouflaged on the outside with green moss. The nest is built in a protected shrub or tree, about 1 – 5 m from the ground. The nest is lined with soft material, strengthened with spider web. She lays a clutch of up to two white eggs which she incubates for about 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 days old.
Though uncommon, at this time the Black-crested Coquette is not yet classed as a threatened species. The current population is relatively stable despite a decline of 10% over the last ten years.
Photo Courtesy of Francesco Veronesi / CC BY 2.0
Watch this bird right here in the video below:
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