Friday, October 19, 2012

Costa's Hummingbird

Calypte costae (male)
The Costa's Hummingbird makes its home in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico. They live in arid scrub areas, and feed on plant nectar and small insects. The body size of this species is quite small, measuring only about 3in.

Male Costa's Hummingbirds are brilliantly colored little guys, sporting green backs, black wings, and a vibrant purple head and throat. (Females are less colorful, with green backs and paler underparts). They use their flashy colors in order to attract females. Males perform elaborate zig-zagging passes and dives for viewing females, using the light from the sun to reflect off of the violet head feathers.

After mating, the pair separates, and the female will construct a small cup-shaped nest up in a tree. She lays two eggs which take 15-18 days to hatch. The young Hummingbirds are fully fledged after 23 days.

One especially amazing thing that I learned about these birds is that while awake, their heart can beat between 500 and 900 times per minute. And that isn't even while they are being especially active! They also have the ability to enter a torpor state (during cold nights). During that time the resting rate slows to a mere 50 times per minute-- what a huge difference!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : United States and Mexico
Size : Length up to 3.5in (9cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Trochiliformes
Family : Trochilidae -- Genus : Calypte -- Species : C. costae

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