Trochilus pella Linneaus 1758 Surinam. Four subspecies recognized.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: King hummingbird; French: Colibri topaze; German: Rotnacken-Topaskolibri; Spanish: Colibrн Topacio.
Female 5.1–5.5 in (13–14 cm), male 8.3–9.1 in (21–23 cm, including bill c. 1.6 in [4 cm] and tail 4.7–5.1 in [12–13 cm]); female c. 0.35 oz (10 g), male 0.35–0.49 oz (10–14 g). A large strikingly colored hummingbird. Male has straight black bill; top and sides of head and neck velvet black; back glittering crimson to purple, golden on uppertail-coverts; throat bright green with a golden sheen, surrounded by a black band, underparts bright red, undertail-coverts bronze; wings brown; central tail feathers bronzy golden-green, outer rectrices chestnut, submedian tail feathers elongated and crossed. Female bill similar to male’s; back dark green; throat green with crimson discs, underparts green with golden green discs, undertail-coverts iridescent green; central tail feathers bronzy, next pair violet, outermost pair chestnut. Immatures like adult female.
T. p. pyra: southeastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, and northeastern Peru to northwestern Brazil (Rio Negro) and south Venezuela (Amazonas); T. p. pamprepta: eastern Ecuador (Suno, Rio Napo); T. p. pella: southern Venezuela (east Bolivar) and the Guianas to northern Brazil (Amapб); T. p. microrhyncha: northcentral Brazil, along south bank of lower Amazon in vicinity of Belйm.
Occurs in lowland rainforests up to 1,640 ft (500 m), mainly inland. Frequently found in tree tops of forests around granite outcrops and along gallery forests near river banks and creeks.
Territorial. Males announce their presence by shrill calls mainly given from tree tops. During display, male circles in slow-motion manner around perched female.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Mainly seen foraging for nectar in the upper story of flowering forest trees such as Inga and Bombax, but also visits flowers of vines and epiphytes. Occasionally found in much lower vegetation around inselbergs in Surinam where it forages for nectar near the ground at flowering stands of Costus scaber and in clumps of blooming Pitcairnia nuda. Insects are caught in the air, often high above tree tops.
Breeds from January to April and again in July to November in the Guianas; no nesting data from other areas. Nests found at 10–26 ft (3–8 m) often on vertical branches or in vines above or near water. The cup-shaped nest, consisting of soft grayish or brownish fibers of Bombax seeds and cobweb, is fairly small compared with the size of the bird. Two eggs; incubation time unknown; chicks black with some pale gray dorsal down; fledging period 21 days. Young remain with female for three weeks.
Locally common but frequently considered rare due to its secretive habits in the tree tops.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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