Purple-Backed Thornbill

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ramphomicron Microrhynchum

Purple-Backed Thornbill

The Purple-Backed Thornbill is a species of hummingbird in the "coquettes", tribe Lesbiini of subfamily Lesbiinae

BILL:  Tiny, black and straight.

SIZE: Male - 10.5 cm (4.1 in) Female - 8.5 cm (3.3 in)

WEIGHT:  About 3.5 g (0.12 oz).

COLOR:  Iridescent golden green, bronzy green, dark purple, shining green, green, bronzy purple, and white.

Both sexes have a black bill, the shortest of any hummingbird.

Males have metallic violet-purple upperparts with a white spot behind the eye. Gorget is iridescent golden green, underparts bronzy green, and undertail coverts coppery with tawny fringes. Tail is moderately long, forked, and dark purple.

Females have shining green upperparts, and like the male, a white spot behind the eye. Underparts are white with green dots except on the belly. Tail is shorter than the male's and less forked, bronzy purple, and the outer pair of feathers have white tips.

SONG: A continuous series of quiet scratchy notes interspersed by short buzzes or dry trills.

CALL: Include "a short dry rattle 'trrr'..., a scratchy 'krr-kit', and a long twittering rattle."

Forages for nectar from mid-level to the canopy, primarily by trap-lining. Often been observed "robbing" nectar from holes in flowers made by Diglossa flowerpiercers and has been recorded taking nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees. It also feeds on insects caught on the wing and gleaned from flowers.

Inhabits the edges of humid montane forest, Polylepis forest, páramo, and the transitions between them. R. m. bolivianum also occurs well below the treeline in shrubby areas. In elevation the species ranges from 1,700 to 3,600 m (5,600 to 11,800 ft).

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

Moves from lower to higher elevations in the wet season.

Breeding season has not been fully defined but appears to span from May possibly to December.

NEST:  A cup nest of fine plant fiber with moss and lichens on the outside on a horizontal branch.

CLUTCH SIZE:  Two eggs.

INCUBATION:  16 days.

Purple-Backed Thornbill Infographic




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