The Buff-thighed Puffleg (Haplophaedia assimilis) are South American hummingbirds found in Bolivia and Peru, where they inhabit subtropical and tropical moist montanes and heavily degraded former forests.
Many authorities consider it a subspecies of the Greenish Puffleg (Haplophaedia aureliae), but plumage differences and separate ranges support their treatment as separate species.
Subspecies and Distribution:
- Haplophaedia assimilis assimilis (Elliot, 1876) – Nominate Race
- Found in southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia
- Haplophaedia assimilis affinis (Taczanowski, 1884)
- Found in the eastern Andes of northern and central Peru
Alternate (Global) Names
Spanish: Calzadito Verdoso Sureño … French: Érione à pattes rousses … German: Fahlschenkel-Höschenkolibri … Latin: Haplophaedia assimilis, Haplophaedia aureliae assimilis … Czech: kolib?ík sv?tlerousý … Danish: Rustlåret Kvastben … Finnish: etelänpuistokolibri … Norwegian: Quechuadunfot … Slovak: pancuchárik zelenkastý … Swedish: Quechuatofsbena
- Hummingbird Information
- Hummingbird Amazing Facts
- Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden
- Hummingbird Species
- Feeding Hummingbirds
The Buff-thighed Puffleg has distinctive small white eye spots, and dense feathering around the legs known as “leg puffs” (which are not always visible). These leg puffs are unique to the pufflegs and have been described as resembling “woolly panties” or “little cotton balls” above the legs, In most other Puffleg species, these leg puffs are snow white, but in this species, there is a light buff-tinge to them.
It has a straight black bill and a forked tail.
Nesting / Breeding
Hummingbirds are solitary in all aspects of life other than breeding, and the male’s only involvement in the reproductive process is the actual mating with the female.
They neither live nor migrate in flocks, and there is no pair bond for this species. Males court females by flying in a U-shaped pattern in front of them. He will separate from the female immediately after copulation. One male may mate with several females.
In all likelihood, the female will also mate with several males. The males do not participate in choosing the nest location, building the nest, or raising the chicks.
The female Buff-thighed Puffleg is responsible for building the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a shrub, bush, or tree.
She lines the nest with soft plant fibers, animal hair, and feathers down, and strengthens the structure with spider webbing and other sticky material, giving it an elastic quality to allow it to stretch to double its size as the chicks grow and need more room. The nest is typically found on a low, thin horizontal branch.
The average clutch consists of two white eggs, which she incubates alone, while the male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. The young are born blind, immobile, and without any down.
The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food (mostly partially digested insects since nectar is an insufficient source of protein for the growing chicks). The female pushes the food down the chicks’ throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs.
As is the case with other hummingbird species, the chicks are brooded only the first week or two and are left alone even on cooler nights after about 12 days – probably due to the small nest size. The chicks leave the nest when they are about 20 days old.
Diet / Feeding
The Buff-thighed Pufflegs primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs, and epiphytes. They favor flowers with the highest sugar content (often red-colored and tubular-shaped) and seek out, and aggressively protect, those areas containing flowers with high-energy nectar.