Blue-Tailed Emerald Hummingbird
Golden green with a blue forked tail and white thighs. The bill is short, straight and black. The male has glittering green underparts and sometimes the lower throat is tinged blue. The female is similar to the male but has a blackish ear patch and short white supercilliary. The underparts are white tinged with gray and the tail has a white tip. In both sexes the tail is short and the wings reach to the tip of the tail. The size is approximately 2.9 inches and weight 2.6 grams.
The Chlorostilbon mellisugus species has several sub-species that consist of caribaeus, napensis, phaeopygos, subfurcatus and duidae. Each of the sub-species inhabits different areas with some overlap and there are slight physical variations. According to F. Gary Stiles, the variation between these sub-species is as follows:
The sub-species found in Trinidad is Caribaeus.
This hummingbird is similiar to the Blue Chinned Sapphire and Copper Rumped Hummingbirds.
This resident of Trinidad is generally found in savannahs and scrub. It feeds on nectar from shrubs such as Lantana and Hibiscus, preferring short tubed flowers. It tends to feed alone, concentrating on scattered flowers that are not part of any larger hummingbird's territory and have smaller nectar quantities so of less interest to the larger hummingbirds. It regularly visits the same shrubs in a pattern. It is reported that the Blue-Tailed Emerald sometimes also exhibits nectar robbing behavior, piercing holes at the base of the corolla tubes (in the case of flowers with long corollas) to obtain the nectar. It is believed that the serrations on the maxilla are used to pierce the holes.
Family - Hummingbirds
Other Names - Carib Emerald
Latin Names - Chlorostilbon mellisugus
Range - Colombia, Bolivia, the Guianas, Venezuela and Trinidad
Click on this link for additional information on Hummingbirds
Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London
Birds of Tropical America, Steven L. Hilty. 1994, Chapters Publishing, Vermont.
A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London
F. Gary Stiles, 1996. A New Species of the Emerald Hummingbird from the Sierra De Chribiquete, Southeastern Colombia, with a Review of the C. Mellisugus Complex. The Wilson Bulletin, Vol. 108, 1 - 27.
Juan Franciso Ornelas, 1994. Serrate Tomia, An Adaptation for Nectar Robbing in Hummingbirds? The Auk, Vol. 111, 703 - 710
Brigitte Poulin, Gaetan Lefebvre and Raymond McNeil, 1994. Diets of Land Birds from Northeastern Venezuela. The Condor Vol. 96. 354 - 36
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