The long-billed starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris) is a hummingbird that breeds from southern Mexico to Panama, from Colombia south and east to Bolivia and Brazil, and on Trinidad. It is present throughout South and Central America and is an uncommon but widespread species, which appears to be a local or seasonal migrant, although its movements are not well understood.
The long-billed starthroat hummingbird's greatest range is east of the Andes and covers the entire Amazon Basin and northern South America including the Guianas.
This hummingbird inhabits forest, and is usually seen in woodland clearings, but will sometimes visit gardens. The female long-billed starthroat lays two eggs in a small cup nest in a tree.
The long-billed starthroat is 10.2 cm long and weighs 6.8 g. The black bill is straight and very long, at about 3.5 cm. The male has bronze-green upperparts, a blue crown, white moustachial stripe and reddish throat. The underparts are grey shading to white on the flanks and mid-belly, and the tail is mainly black. The female is similar, but has a green crown and a purple-edged black throat.
Long-billed starthroats feed on nectar, taken from a variety of flowers, and some insects. The song of this species while feeding is a light weet.
Long billed starthroat photographed by Rachel Lee Young at Yerette Hummingbird Sanctuary, Maracas St Joseph
The copper-rumped hummingbird (Amazilia tobaci) is a small bird that breeds in Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago. It is the predominant species of hummingbird in Trinidad and Tobago.
This hummingbird inhabits open country, gardens and cultivation. The female copper-rumped hummingbird lays its eggs in a tiny cup nest on a low branch, or sometimes wires or clotheslines. Incubation takes 16–17 days, and fledging another 19-23, and there may be up to three broods in a season.
The copper-rumped hummingbird is 8.6 cm long and weighs 4.7 g. The bill is fairly long, straight and mostly black with some pink on the lower mandible. The adult has copper-green upperparts, becoming copper-bronze on the rump. The head and underparts are bright green, the thighs are white and the tail and legs are black. The sexes are similar.
The food of this hummingbird is nectar, taken from a wide variety of flowers, and some small insects. Copper-rumped hummingbirds perch conspicuously and defend their territories aggressively against other hummingbirds, bees, and larger bird species; this is especially during mating season, which is early in the year.
The call of this species is a chip, and the song is a high-pitched tyee-tyee-tyoo.
Copper-rumped hummingbird photographed by Rachel Lee Young in the RAPSO garden, Diego Martin
The ruby-topaz hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus), commonly referred to simply as the ruby topaz, is a small bird that breeds in the Lesser Antilles and tropical northern South America from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, south to central Brazil and northern Bolivia; also from Colombia into southern Panama. It is the only member of the genus Chrysolampis. It is a seasonal migrant, although its movements are not well understood.
This hummingbird inhabits open country, gardens and cultivation. It is 8.1 cm long and weighs 3.5 g. Compared to most other hummingbirds, the almost straight, black bill is relatively short.
The male has green-glossed dark brown upperparts. The crown and nape are glossy red, and the throat and breast are brilliant golden-orange. The rest of the underparts are brown, and the chestnut tail is tipped black. The male often looks very dark, until he turns and the brilliant colours flash in the sunlight.
The female ruby-topaz hummingbird has bronze-green upperparts and pale grey underparts. The tail is chestnut with a dark subterminal band and a white tip. Females from Trinidad typically have a greenish throat-streak (it may appear dark), but this is not common elsewhere in its range. Juvenile females are similar to adult females, but with a white-tipped dusky-brown tail. Juvenile males resemble the juvenile female, but with a variable amount of iridescent orange to the throat.
The female ruby-topaz hummingbird lays two eggs in a tiny cup nest in the fork of a low branch. Incubation takes 16 days, and fledging another 18 or 19.
The food of this species is nectar, taken from a wide variety of flowers, and some small insects. Ruby-topaz hummingbird males perch conspicuously and defend their territories aggressively. The call of this species is a high-pitched tsip.
Ruby Topaz photographed by Rachel Lee Young in the RAPSO garden, Diego Martin
Our first exhibition will be hosted by Horizons Art Gallery, Mucurapo Road, St James and will showcase our photography. We will be supported by some of our dear artist friends to present a stunning mixed - media collection celebrating the wonderous hummingbirds of Trinidad and Tobago. The exhibition opens on 23rd May at 7pm and runs until 3rd June.