Birding Thursday: Buff-Tailed Sicklebill
This was a fun bird to catch while I was in Peru. We had every finger and toe crossed that we were going to get one in our nets and one day our luck was with us and we caught it!
(that’s not the bird in the net, it’s something else…)
Here’s a little bit about this very unique bird:
-Latin name: Eutoxeres condamini
-This is as type of Hermit Hummingbird, none of which we have in the United States.
- This hummingbird can be found in the lower Andes of Peru along with the lower Amazonia, along with Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. It has a very wide range for a Peruvian hummingbird.
-Reading about the size of this hummingbird is one thing, but seeing it in person we were surprised at how large this bird was. They typically can get up to 5-6 inches long and weigh anywhere from 8-12 grams!
-This bird feeds by what is known as trap line feeding, where they visit a circuit of specific plants or trees instead of a territorial area like many other hummingbirds. They are primarily nectar drinkers, going for brightly colored flowers which are more abundant in nectar, but the females do eat insects and spiders during breeding season.
-Breeding takes place during different times of the year depending on where the bird is. Their clutches commonly have two eggs which incubate for 16-18 days and the chicks fledge after 22-24 days. Their nests are found close to the ground often in small pockets underneath leaves and ferns.
I was most fascinated by this hummingbird because of it’s bill and feet. It has one of the most curved bills of all hummingbirds and what I thought were some of the biggest and strongest feet too! It amazed me how they could use such a curved bill to get nectar from so many straight flowers! While handling them I noticed how strong their feet were, and surprising sharp their talons! Quite unique for a hummingbird I think!
I wish we had been able to catch more of these guys but we were only in their area for about two weeks. I hope to go back and catch a few more in the future, whenever that maybe!