White-Tipped Sicklebill

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Eutoxeres aquila

White-Tipped Sicklebill

The White-tipped Sicklebill is a streaky hummingbird with is a very distinctive sickle-shaped bill giving the bird its name. The bill is well-adapted to its feeding behavior.

It is a relatively large hummingbird, measuring about 4.5 – 5.5 inches in length.

It has dark shining green upperparts but on its upperwing, the flight-feathers are blackish-brown. The rounded, bronzy- green tail is broadly tipped white.

Underparts are heavily streaked blackish and white. Undertail-coverts have orange-ochraceous edges. Undertail feathers are dark green and brown with white tips. Its crown and nape are dark green.

The strongly decurved bill that bends almost into a 90° arc has dark upper mandible and yellow lower one. Eyes are dark brown. Short legs and feet are pale pink to greyish.

Males and females are similar, but the females have shorter wings than males.

Juvenile birds have pale tips to secondary flight-feathers, and the rectrices are narrower.

Gives piercing flight calls, high, thin, sharp “tsit”. The song is a complex squeaky chatter “tsi-see’ee’ee’eek-tsi-eek-tsi’ee’ee…” and there are some geographic variations in this song, with a simpler “tsi-se-rik” in W Ecuador.

Feeds on nectar of Heliconia and Centropogon plant species because their tubular shapes are similar to the bend of the bill. It also consumes insects.

Common in the understory of wet forest and older second growth woodland.

It is usually found in or near Heliconia patches where it feeds on nectar and insects. It also forages at forest edge and near rivers.

Costa Rica and Panama of Central America, and Colombia, Ecuador, and far northern Peru.

There is also a single recent record from Mérida in Venezuela.

The female builds a cup-shaped nest with loosely woven palm fibers, often with hanging vegetal tail below. All materials are stick together with spider webs.

It usually hangs between 1 and 4 meters above streams or waterfalls. It may be placed against a strip of Heliconia leaves or in the underside of larger hanging leaves.

The female lays two white eggs and incubates alone during about 2 weeks.


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