This hummingbird was first reported in by the bird collector Andrew Matthews who worked for George Loddiges. Locals also capture males specifically for their attractive tail feathers and for food -- as their dried hearts are said to have aphrodisiac properties. To this end, they planted over 30, native trees and bushes that specifically meet the needs of the Marvellous Spatuletail. This so-called conservation easement is the first of its kind in Peru.
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This hummingbird was first reported in by the bird collector Andrew Matthews who worked for George Loddiges. Locals also capture males specifically for their attractive tail feathers and for food -- as their dried hearts are said to have aphrodisiac properties.
To this end, they planted over 30, native trees and bushes that specifically meet the needs of the Marvellous Spatuletail. This so-called conservation easement is the first of its kind in Peru.
They also work together to develop a sustainable eco-tourism program. Several organizations are currently working in partnership to conduct an education program, survey additional sites and raise funds for land acquisition in the La Florida region.
As tourism is growing in this area, efforts to preserve this species are intensifying amongst the locals. For example, Mr. Montenegro - formerly a potato farmer - is now growing plants that specifically attract around 30 bird species and children are being discouraged from harming hummingbirds.
In recent history, the only place where this hummingbird can be found is near Florida, where it occurs in low densities and may only be seasonally present. Its numbers are continuing to decline Birdlife International Other unconfirmed records placed this bird near Tingo, Utcubamba and Leimebamba. This may be explained by the fact, that the males are hunted and killed for the perceived aphrodisiac properties of their hearts and their long tails.
This shy Spatuletail is typically found along the forest edge and isolated woodlots on steep slopes. They favor the thorny, impenetrable Rubus thickets admixed with Alnus trees. Description The Marvellous Spatuletail is a medium-sized hummngtbird that averages 10 - 15 cm in length including its tail. The body itself is very small --it has been described as being "about the size of a slightly fluffy ping-pong ball. The plumage is mostly white and green below and bronzy-brown above.
The male has blue crest feathers on top of his head, a brilliant turquoise gorget throat patch , and a black line down the center of the otherwise white chest and abdomen. The sides of the chest and abdomen are green. He has only four long feathers in its tail, two of which are long racquet-shaped outer tail feathers that cross each other and end in large violet-blue discs or "spatules".
The male can move these feathers independently. She has a white throat and lacks the colorful throat patch and black line that can be seen in the male. Juveniles lack the spatules of the adults. Similar Species: The Booted Racket-tail is much greener with rounded head. During this mating display, the males make snapping sounds - which originally was thought to be generated by their long spatule disks clapping together.
However, it was found that even though the spatules wobble very closely together, the noise was actually coming from its mouth. During this display, the males will dance with a twig at super high speed, hopping over and over, backwards and forwards, across the twig mid-air. He is described to do so about 14 times in 7 seconds.
As part of this display, the male hovers in front of the female while furiously waving his spatules about. The female is responsible for building the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a shrub, bush or tree.
She lines the nest with soft plant fibers, animal hair and feather down, and strengthens the structure with spider webbing and other sticky material, giving it an elastic quality to allow it to stretch to double its size as the chicks grow and need more room. The nest is typically found on a low, thin horizontal branch. The average clutch consists of two white eggs, which she incubates alone, while the male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. The young are born blind, immobile and without any down.
The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food mostly partially-digested insects since nectar is an insufficient source of protein for the growing chicks. As is the case with other hummingbird species, the chicks are brooded only 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 7 - 10 days old. They particularly seek out the red-flowered lily Alstroemeria Bomarea formosissima as well as flowers of the "mupa mupa" trees. 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.
Sometimes they may be seen hanging on the flower while feeding. Many native and cultivated plants on whose flowers these birds feed heavily rely on them for pollination.
The mostly tubular-shaped flowers actually exclude most bees and butterflies from feeding on them and, subsequently, from pollinating the plants. At their feeding plants, this fairly small species is dominated by more aggressive birds, such as sylphs, train-bearers, and violetears Hecht They also take some small spiders and insects - important sources of protein particularly needed during the breeding season to ensure the proper development of their young.
Insects are often caught in flight hawking ; snatched off leaves or branches, or are taken from spider webs. A nesting female can capture up to 2, insects a day. Males establish feeding territories, where they aggressively chase away other males as well as large insects - such as bumblebees and hawk moths - that want to feed in their territory.
They use aerial flights and intimidating displays to defend their territories.
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