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Tufted Coquette - Male

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Asa Wright Nature Center - Photo courtesy Dick Shirley

The Tufted Coquette is a tiny hummingbird, 6.6 cm long and weighing 2.3 grams. The male Tufted Coquette has a rufous head crest and a coppery green back with a whitish rump band that is prominent in flight. The forehead and underparts are green and the throat is a shiny green. Rufous plumes with black dotted tips project from the sides of the neck. The tail is golden rufous. The female does not have the crest and plumes. It has green upperparts and rufous underparts which become much paler on the belly. There is a narrow rufous crown. The tail is mostly bronze green with a dusky band and whitish tips to the feathers. There is a white to buffy rump band. Immature males are like the female, but the throat is whitish with fine dark spotting. The short and straight bill of both sexes is red and black-tipped in the manner of other coquettes.

The white to buffy rump band, identifies this species as a coquette. The tufts on the throat are the reason for the name "Tufted".

This resident of Trinidad is found at forest edges, in areas with scattered trees and in cultivated areas. They are solitary birds that appear to wander widely. As with other hummingbirds they are nectar feeders. They forage at almost any height from low shrubs to very high in the canopy of large mass-flowering trees. They will feed within the territory of larger more aggressive hummingbirds. Their strategy, when feeding in the territory of larger hummingbirds, is to sneak in and feed on any unguarded flowers. When attacked by a larger hummingbird they weave away from the aggressor or leave the territory. They also draw nectar from many of the small flowers that have low nectar rewards and so are not generally visited by the larger hummingbirds except in times of nectar scarcity.

Their flight is slow and deliberate when visiting flowers. The rapidly beating wings give off a high-pitched almost metallic buzz. 

Family - Hummingbirds

Latin name - Lophornis ornata

Range - Venezuela, the Guianas, northeast Brazil and Trinidad

Click on this link for additional information on Hummingbirds

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Photograph courtesy Jim and Nancy Dewitt

 

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Photograph taken at Asa Wright Nature Center by James Wood

 

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Last modified: February 16, 2008