Purple-throated Carib

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Eulampis jugularis

Purple-throated Carib

The Purple-throated Carib is notable for the differences in the appearance of the sexes.

Males and females show sexual dimorphism with the males larger than the females, and females' bill longer and more curved than males' bill.

It is a large hummingbird, measuring about 4.33 - 4.72 inches in length, with males weighing around 9 - 12 grams and females, around 7 - 10 grams.

Adults have dark plumage, mostly black, with iridescent emerald to golden green wings and tail. Rump is bluish. Uppertail-coverts are metallic greenish-blue.

Chin, throat and breast are iridescent purplish-red. Head is black but the malar area joins the chin, both being purplish-red. The long, downcurved bill is black. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are blackish.

Females have similar plumage but their bills are longer and more sharply downcurved. Females are smaller than males.

Immature birds have orange throats and breasts with red speckles, and scattered brown feathers on the upperparts. Bills are shorter.

Gives sharp “chewp” repeated rapidly when the bird is excited.

Feeds on nectar from flowers and also at feeders when available. It also takes insects and catches them like a flycatcher, which is unusual for hummingbirds.

It may hawk for insects on the wing, and gleans invertebrates from foliage and spider webs.

Frequents forested areas and plantations, but also semi-open areas according to food availability.

It can be seen at forest edges and tree tops in primary and secondary forests, from almost sea-level up to 800/1200 meters of elevation.

Found on most islands of the Lesser Antilles.

Nest is cup-shaped, made with plant fibers and spider webs. The outer part can be camouflaged with pieces of bark, moss or lichen. The female adds nest materials until the end of the incubation.

It is situated about 3 - 5 meters above the ground, sometimes higher, on vertical branch in tree.

She lays 2 white eggs and incubates during 17 - 19 days. At hatching, the chicks are dark, with two rows of down on the back. They fledge 17 - 20 days after hatching, but they remain with the female for 2 or 3 weeks more. They are fed on insects and nectar.

The female is very territorial and defends the nest and the young. She may attack larger species within an area of 10 meters around the nest.



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