A bird that well and truly lives up to his name using his marvelous tail as a perfect prop to stunning effect in his intricate displays!
MEET THE MARVELOUS SPATULETAIL
The marvelous spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis), is a medium-sized bird hummingbird, and the only member of the genus Loddigesia. Their bodies are really quite small, and are sometimes described as “about the size of a slightly fluffy ping-pong ball.” Its beak is about the size of a matchstick. The male has a blue crest of feathers on top of his head, with a brilliant turquoise throat patch. There is a black line down the center of the otherwise white chest and abdomen. His flanks and lower abdomen are light green. His upper parts are bronzy-brown. He has only four long feathers in his tail, two of which are long racquet-shaped outer tail feathers that cross at the end in large violet-blue discs known as ‘spatules. He has the ability to move these tail feathers independently, they grow three to four times the bird’s body length depending on the age of the bird.
The female also has a tail, though it is much short than the male, with drop-shaped rackets. She posses’s a white throat and lacks the colorful throat patch and black line that can be seen on the mail.
Juveniles of this species lack the capsules the adults have.
This species is found only on the eastern side of the Rio Utcubamba valley, in the Cordillera del Colán, Amazonas, and one site in San Martîn, northern Peru at an elevation of 7000 ft (2100-2900m) (Birdlife International 2000).
Photo Courtesy of thibaudaronson – https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/114707771 / CC BY-SA 4.0
This shy hummingbird favors living along forest edges as well as isolated woodlots on steep slopes. Their favorite being thorny, almost impenetrable Rubus thickets mixed with Alnus trees.
Marvellous Spatuletails main source of food is nectar found in a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs, and epiphytes. They particularly look for the red-flowered lily Astomemeria formosissima as well as flowers on the “mupa mupa” trees. They use their long, extendible, straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering in place with their tails coked upward.
The breeding season typically starts in late October and goes on until early May. During this time the male will dance around a twig at very high speed, hopping over and over the twig, backward and forwards. He has been clocked doing this about 14 times in 7 seconds, doing his best to impress a female. Once she has picked a male 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 lined with soft material, strengthened with a 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 7 – 10 days old.
The main threat to this hummingbird is habitat destruction, caused by slash and burn agriculture and illegal wood-cutting. Another danger is illegal hunting: Male spatuletails are at times targeted by hunters using slingshots, as some believe that his heart is an aphrodisiac.
WATCH A SHORT VIDEO OF THIS BIRD RIGHT HERE BELOW:
H/T Wikipedia – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
His Coat Of Glittering Green Is Graphically Enhanced By His Furiously Fiery Tail As He Flashes It About Wherever He Goes!
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