Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Spanish (9) (learn more)

Overview

Comprehensive Description

The Volcano Hummingbird is endemic to the Central Cordillera in Costa Rica, and to the Talamanca Cordilleras of Costa Rica and western Panama. It occupies mountaintops from 1800 meters to the highest peaks, and descends as low as 1200 meters in the non-breeding season (Stiles & Skutch 1989). Individuals have a green back but exhibit clear sexual dimorphism that varies by region: males are distinguished by bright gorget color and the amount of buffy and black below the tail, which increase with latitude (Stiles & Skutch 1989). In contrast, females lack a colored gorget, have a white breast, and are slightly larger than males (Henderson 2002); average female weight is 2.8 g while average male weight is 2.5 grams (Stiles & Skutch 198), though both are approximately 7.5 centimeters in length (Garrigues & Dean 2007). Evolutionarily, mountaintops exist as genetic islands of suitable habitat, which contribute to regional variation within the species (Ditto & Frey 2007, Garrigues & Dean 2007). At these high elevations, the Volcano Hummingbird prefers to forage in montane forest and forest edges (including páramo), overgrown open areas, and gardens (Henderson 2002). Stiles and Skutch (1989) also note a preference for secondary growth resulting from volcanic eruptions, landslides, or human disturbance. Volcano hummingbirds are nectar-feeding trapliners, meaning they visit a regular circuit of the same flowers to forage (Gill 1988). Preferred nectar sources are a variety of small, often insect-pollinated flowers including Fuchsia, Salvia, Bomarea, foxglove (Digitalis), Indian paintbrush (Castilleja), blueberry (Vaccinium) and blackberry (Rubus), and Miconia (Henderson 2002). They will also filch nectar from tubular flowers in the territory of larger hummingbirds (Hilty 1994; Fogden & Fogden 2005). The Volcano Hummingbird enters torpor at night, a period when body temperature is lowered to near ambient to conserve energy (Bucher & Chappell 1997), and has a much faster metabolism than larger species (Wolf et al. 1975); a nesting female should visit about 2700 flowers per day to account for metabolic and foraging energy costs (Hainsworth & Wolf 1972). Stiles & Skutch (1989) observe that during the breeding season (August-February), female Volcano Hummingbirds construct compact cup nests decorated with moss and lichen on the outermost branches of trees and shrubs or dangling from overhanging banks facing south or east. Males are very territorial of desirable perches and surrounding foraging area and defend them with diving displays that include loud calls and wing snapping (Fogden & Fogden 2005; Clark et al. 2011). As with other high elevation species, the Volcano Hummingbird is sensitive to climate change that pushes suitable habitats further up mountaintops (Lawler et al. 2009).

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
Although this species may have a small range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5