Unsorted Wild Birds

White-bellied Mountain-gems

The White-bellied Mountain-gems (Oreopyra hemileucus recently split from Lampornis) is a hummingbird with a very restricted range in south-central America.

Distribution / Range

The White-bellied Mountain-gems occur along the highlands on the Caribbean slope of northeastern Costa Rica and western Panama.

They inhabit the foothills and mid-elevations of the Caribbean slope.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ?????? … Czech: Kolibrík belostný, kolib?ík vyso?inný … Danish: Hvidbuget Bjergjuvel … Dutch: Witbuikjuweelkolibrie, Witbuik-juweelkolibrie … German: Veilchenkehlnymphe, Weißbauchnymphe, Weissbauch-Nymphe … Spanish: Colibrí Gorgivioleta, Colibrí Montañes Vientriblanco, Colibrí montañés vientriblanco, Gema de Vientre Blanco … Finnish: Valkopilvikolibri … French: Colibri à gorge lilas … Italian: Gemma di montagna ventrebianco, Orogemma panciabianca … Norwegian: Hvitbukjuvel … Polish: malachicik bialobrzuchy, malachicik bia?obrzuchy … Russian: ?????????? ?????????? ??????? … Slovak: medovec bielobruchý … Swedish: Vitbukad bergsjuvel

White-bellied Mountain-gem
White-bellied Mountain-gem


The White-bellied Mountain-gems average 4 inches (10.5 cm) in length (from the top of the head to the tip of the tail). The upper plumage is glossy green, while the plumage below is whitish, with some grey spotting at the sides. They have a whitish stripe from the eye down to the side of the neck (postocular eye stripe).

The male can be identified by the pale lilac throat patch (lacking in the female).

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. In all likelihood, the female also mates with several males. The males do not participate in choosing the nest location, building the nest, or raising the chicks.

The female White-bellied Mountain-gem 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.

White-bellied Mountain-gem

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 7 – 10 days old.

Diet / Feeding

The White-bellied Mountain-gems primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs, and epiphytes.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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