Long-Tailed Sylph

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Aglaiocercus kingii

Long-Tailed Sylph

The Long-Tailed Sylph is a lovely sylph and it is the only member of genus Aglaiocercus found on the east slopes of the Andes, but this species occurs on both E and W slopes.

Males are about 6.3 – 7.5 inches in length, including its tail and weighs 5 – 6 grams. Females are 3.8 – 4.6 long and weighs 4.7 grams.

Adult males have glittering, bronzy metallic green upperparts and slightly duller olive underparts.

There is a small blue or violet throat patch. Flight feathers are dark brown. On the tail, outer rectrices are very long whereas central ones are short. Tail feathers are green and violet above, and bluish-black below.

Crown is shining emerald green, turning dark green towards the nape. Bill is short (13 mm) and black. Eyes are dark brown, with white postocular spot. Legs and feet are blackish.

Females have cinnamon underparts with white throat and breast lightly spotted green. Upperparts are shining green.

Tail is shorter, notched, dark blue green. Outer rectrices are tipped white. There is a short white malar stripe on the metallic green head.

Immature birds resemble the adult females, but they have slightly buffy underparts with diffuse green spots. There is a concealed white patch on the lower back.

Gives high-pitched monosyllabic chirps and whistles.

The short calls are given by both sexes.

Feeds primarily on nectar from small flowers of several trees and plant species. It also visits bird feeders for sugar water.

It takes small spiders. Insects are caught in flight or from perch.

Occurs in humid forest borders, bushy clearings, second growth woodlands and gardens.

It usually avoids entering the forest. It is visible between 900 and 3000 meters of elevation.

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

The nest is a bulky, domed structure with a side entrance, made with moss and plant fibers. It is attached to twig or branch, and sometimes camouflaged with leaves and may have a dangling tail of moss below.

The female lays 2 white eggs, and incubates alone during 15 - 17 days, while the male defends the territory and its feeding areas.


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