The Rufous-crested Coquettes (Lophornis delattrei) – or De Lattre’s Coquettes – are hummingbirds that occur naturally in Central and South America.
Distribution / Habitat
The Rufous-crested Coquettes are found in the southern Central American countries of Costa Rica and Panama, into South America, the countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru south into Bolivia.
They are rare, yet widely distributed in the eastern lowland areas; and absent from northwestern Amazonia.
Their natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland and montane forests, as well as heavily degraded former forest.
Subspecies and Ranges:
- Lophornis delattrei delattrei (Lesson, 1839)
- Range: Eastern Peru and northern Bolivia (to the northeastern department Beni and the Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia).
- Lophornis delattrei delattrei (Lesson, 1839)
- Lophornis delattrei lessoni (Simon, 1921)
- Range: Pacific and Caribbean slopes of southwestern Costa Rica and Panama, and central and eastern Andes of Colombia (to the Magdalena Valley and the state of Santander).
Rufous-crested Coquettes measure about 2.9 – 3.1 inches (7.5 – 8 cm) in length, including the tail. The bill is about 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) long.
Males have a very dark green plumage, except for the white rump and rufous, dark-tipped crest , glossy green throat patch (gorget) and elongated white feathers on the upper chest.
The female lacks the crest and gorget, but has a broad white or whitish malar (cheek) stripe that is separated by dusky green center to the throat, and are dusky brown below..
Female Rufous-crested Coquettes resemble female Thorntails, but lack the white flank patches of the thorntails, and their dusky brown under parts also separate them from the female thorntails.
Diet / Feeding
The Rufous-crested Coquettes 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. They use their long, extendible, straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering with their tails cocked upward as they are licking at the nectar up to 13 times per second. Sometimes they may be seen hanging on the flower while feeding.
Many native and cultivated plants on whose flowers these birds feed heavily rely on them for pollination. The mostly tubular-shaped flowers actually exclude most bees and butterflies from feeding on them and, subsequently, from pollinating the plants.
They may also visit local hummingbird feeders for some sugar water, or drink out of bird baths or water fountains where they will either hover and sip water as it runs over the edge; or they will perch on the edge and drink – like all the other birds; however, they only remain still for a short moment.
They also take some small spiders and insects – important sources of protein particularly needed during the breeding season to ensure the proper development of their young. Insects are often caught in flight (hawking); snatched off leaves or branches, or are taken from spider webs. A nesting female can capture up to 2,000 insects a day.
Males establish feeding territories, where they aggressively chase away other males as well as large insects – such as bumblebees and hawk moths – that want to feed in their territory. They use aerial flights and intimidating displays to defend their territories.
Breeding / Nesting
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 Rufous-crested Coquettes 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 feather 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, skinny 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 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.
Calls / Vocalizations / Sounds
Alternate (Global) Names
Chinese: ???? … Czech: Kolibrík cervenokorunkatý, kolib?ík dlouhochocholatý … Danish: Diadempragtalf … Dutch: Vuurkuifkoketkolibrie, Vuurkuif-koketkolibrie … Finnish: Helmisolmiokolibri … French: Coquette de Delattre … German: Rotschopfelfe, Zierelfe … Italian: Colibrì coquette rossiccio, Coquette crestarossiccia … Japanese: chakazarihachidori … Norwegian: Siratkokette … Polish: sylfik rdzawoczuby … Russian: ??????????? ??????? … Spanish: Coqueta Abanico Rufo, Coqueta Crestada, Coqueta crestirrojiza, Coqueta Crestirrufa … Slovak: goliercik ryšavý, golier?ik ryšavý … Swedish: Rödtofskokott
Additional Web Resources
Metabolism and Survival and Flight Adaptions – Amazing Facts
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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