Friday, June 11, 2010

Magnificent Hummingbird

The Magnificent Hummingbird, once known as Rivoli's Hummingbird,  is native to Central America and the south western United States and is one of the largest hummingbirds with a whopping 14cm body length and an 18 cm wingspan! (OK, I guess that's not really whopping, but it's pretty largest compared to the Bee Hummingbird which is only 5cm long!) There are two subspecies, Eugenes fulgens fulgens in the northern part of the range, and E. f. spectabilis in the south, primarily in Costa Rice and Panama. They are the only members of the genus Eugenes.

Image from
These lovely birds are identified by their green, purples and gray colors. The sexes appear differently, with the males having dark green backs, black undersides, purple crowns and shiny metallic green necks. The females are a bit less flashy, with a more olive colored green on their backs and grey undersides. They are typical of hummingbirds in many ways, but their size gives them a few differences. For one, they fly more slowly, and sometimes even glide. Also, though it consumes nectar like other species of hummingbird, the Magnificent Hummingbird also frequently dines on insects.

What I find interesting about these birds is that so little is known about them. They are not an endangered or threatened species, yet information about much of their behavior is not yet known. What we do know is that they reside in a variety of completely different habitats, lay two eggs at the time and that larger birds and snakes are their major predators.

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