Bird Watching in Machupicchu Species Accounts Part5
BIRD FAMILIES OF MACHUPICCHU: HUMMINGBIRDS – Trochilidae
Hummingbirds are a strictly American family and include some of the smallest birds in the world. They are adapted to extract nectar from flowers and have specially designed bills and tongues to do so. Many species hover to extract nectar but larger species perch. Flexible shoulder joints permit backwards flight. Wing-beats are between 22 and 78 per second and this produces a humming sound. Hummingbirds have brightly colored, iridescent and glittering plumages. Some are aggressive and hold large territories. Others defend a blooming tree or ‘trap-line’ – visiting particular flowers on a regular basis. Hummingbirds are pollinators of many flowers and important in doing so. Most Hummingbirds take insects as well as nectar. Some species at high elevations become torpid at night so as to save energy. Males sing from exposed perches and at leks. The female builds the nest, incubates and raises the young alone. Nests are on thin twigs or in crevices, sometimes a hanging woven structure. They lay two whitish eggs.
1.- Bird Watching: Green Hermit – Phaethornis guy
13 cm, bill 4 cm, long and de-curved. The apicalis race is present at machu picchu. Dark bronzy green, bluish towards the rump. Under-parts mainly deep dull gray, but the breast is glossed green, particularly in the male. The black mask is framed by a rusty supercilium and rictal stripe. Strip down center of throat and central belly rusty as well. Tail black with blue base and with white tipped elongated central tail feathers. Found in the under-story of humid pre-montane forest, adjacent forest edge, well-developed secondary growth and overgrown gardens. Feeds by ’trap- lining for nectar between a variety of flowers – will take spiders from webs also. The nest is a hanging cone-shaped affair attached to the under-side of a long leaf in the under-story. Call is a loud ‘tsweep’. The song at the lek is a nasal ‘heweet…heweet…hewwet..’ repeated for long periods. Found mostly below 2200 meters and can be seen in the Mandor valley.
2.- Bird Watching: Buff-tailed Sicklebill – Eutoxeres condamini
16 cm, bill 2.7 cm, exceptionally curved. The gracilis race is present at Machu Picchu. Above dark bronzy with ear-coverts and crown blackish. Blue patches on both sides of the nape. Under-parts cinnamon-buff with heavy black streaking. Tail graduated with white tips to all feathers. Central tail feathers dark greenish-black, outermost feathers buff, only blackish at the base. Found in humid pre-montane forest but sometimes higher into montane forest, overgrown clearings, forest edge, along streams and in thickets of Heliconia spp. Retiring and difficult to see. Feeds by trap- lining for nectar and will take small insects. The nest is attached to the underside of a long, hanging leaf with spider-webs. Mostly found below 2500 meters in elevation but has been recorded up to 3300 meters. Uncommon.
3.- Bird Watching: Green Violetear – Colibrí thalassinus
11 cm, bill 1.8 cm, slightly curved. The crissalis race is present at Machu Picchu. Blue-green with a strong metallic sheen, glittering on the throat and with a blue central belly. Cheek and elongated erectile ear-feathers purple. Broad tail metallic green (metallic blue below) with a dark sub-terminal bar. Vent uniform cinnamon-buff. Found on open, humid, shrubby mountain slopes and pastures with scattered trees, overgrown landslides and forest edge. Feeds on a variety of flowers at mid- levels. Male often sings from an exposed perch at mid-heights. The song is a high-pitched ’tsup- chip, chip- tsup, tsup-chip’ etc, repeated endlessly at all times of day. Aggressive and has a low undulating display flight. Found at elevations of between 1500 and 3000 meters. Can be seen on the bushy, open slopes along the Inca Trail between Intipunku and the Machu Picchu ruins. Quite common.
4.- Bird Watching: Sparkling Violetear – Colibrí coruscans
14 cm, bill 2.5 cm, slightly curved. Blue-green with a metallic sheen and a sparkling green breast. Bluish violet chin and elongated erectile ear-plumes. Belly blue. Broad tail metallic green (light metallic blue below) with a dark steel-blue sub-terminal bar. Female sometimes shows a white post-ocular spot. A rare melanistic form occurs though we have not seen this at Machu Picchu. Perhaps the most common and widespread Hummingbird of the Peruvian Andes, and it is catholic in its tastes, inhabiting a variety of mostly not-too-humid habitats though non-breeders will wander into humid forest areas and congregate at flowering trees, particularly Erythrina spp. Mostly prefers all kinds of dry open areas with scattered trees and shrubbery, secondary growth and gardens. Readily adapts to Eucalyptus. Feeds at all levels on nectar from a wide variety of flowers and hawks for insects. Territorial, aggressive and dominant over other Hummingbirds. Commonly seen display flight consists of the male ascending about 10 meters from its exposed song perch and descending the same way twittering with a fanned tail. The song, delivered from an exposed perch, is an endlessly repeated ‘tzrrt..tzrrt…tzrrt….’. At elevations of between 4000 and 2000 meters. Common near Wayllabamba along the Inca Trail.
5.- Bird Watching: Green and White Hummingbird – Leucippus viridicauda
Peruvian Endemic. 11 cm, bill 2.7 cm, almost straight. Upper mandible black, lower reddish with dark tip. Previously placed in the genus Amazilia. Upper-parts and flanks brilliant bronzy-green. Flanks spotted with green disks. Central under-parts from chin to vent, white. Tail dull grayish green above and below, sometimes tipped white. Found in humid, forest-edge, secondary growth, overgrown landslides and gardens. Likes Inga spp. trees but feeds on nectar of various flowers. Also hawks for small insects. Sings from an exposed perch – a series of fast squeaking notes ‘tsi- tszi- tziu, fw/V’etc. Mostly at 1200 – 2500 meters in elevation. Common along the Urubamba river at Machu Picchu, particularly the grounds of the El Pueblo Hotel ¡n Aguas Calientes
6.- Bird Watching: White-bellied Hummingbird – Leucippus chionogaster
11 cm, bill 2.5 cm, almost straight. Upper mandible black, lower reddish with a dark tip. Previously placed in the genus Amazilia. VERY similar to the preceding species. Above light metallic green. Below white with many green disks along the flanks and sides of the breast. Tail dull bronzy-green and with more or less white inner-webs from base to tip on outer feathers – this feature not present in Green and White Hummingbird and generally inhabits drier habitat than that species, but there is overlap. Usually found in bushy terrain with cactus and agaves, Eucalyptus graves, bushy ravines and stream-sides. Avoids moist forest. Feeds on nectar of many flowering plants and will take small insects. The call is a sharp ‘zwit’. At elevations of between 1000 and 2800 meters. Can be seen in the Cusichaca valley at the start of the Inca Trail.
7.- Bird Watching: Speckled Hummingbird – Adelomyia melanogenys
10 cm, bill 1.4 cm, straight and short. Round head with fuscous crown. Broad white super cilium from eye, slanting backwards and partially encircling fuscous auricular. Above dark-bronzy, below whitish-buff with darker bronze spotted flanks. Throat finely-dotted with dusky and sometimes a little green. Tail slightly forked but blunt tipped, bronzy-purple, all but central two tail feathers tipped buff. Found ¡n humid pre-montane forest, forest edge and along watercourses. Forages alone in the under-story, sometimes to mid-levels. Often sits with slightly lowered wings. Feeds on the nectar of various flowers and small insects. Sometimes pierces the base of flowers or uses existing holes made by flowerplercers to obtain nectar. Calls are typically high-pitched zit or ‘zwee’. Found at elevations of between 1200 and 2800 meters. Fairly common along the Urubamba river at Machu Picchu.
8.- Bird Watching: Andean Hill star – Oreotrochllus estella
14 cm, bill 2 cm, slightly curved, black. Male: Above drab brown. Very shiny green gorget with a black border. Below mostly white with a rufous median line on the belly. Tail mostly white but central pair and outer edge and tip of lateral feathers bronzy-black. Female: Drabber below with finely-speckled throat, tail greenish black with outer 4 feathers with white Inner webs at base and tip. Mostly found on high puna grasslands, Polylepis spp. woodlands. Favors areas where there are bushy ravines and. ragky outcrops. Also bushy gardens and around houses. Aggressive. Often perches on the tops of bushes for long periods. Flies fast and high over terrain. Feeds on low bushes and shrubs by clinging, as it takes nectar. Also hawks for insects and gleans vegetation. In the breeding season (Septemberto December), males wander widely across open terrain and females hold territory in bushy ravines. They roost in well-protected crevices and caves and have the ability to go into torpor. Calls include fine ‘tij’ and ’zeer’ notes. At elevations of between 3500 and 4500 meters mostly, but does descend to 2500 ¡n the Southern winter. Can be seen near Pacasmayo along the Inca Trail.
9.- Bird Watching: Giant Hummingbird – Patagona gigas
23 cm, bill 3.5 cm, straight and rather thick. The world’s largest hummingbird. Wings long and narrow and resembles a swift in flight. Above rather dull bronze. Cheeks and under-parts cinnamon- rufous obscurely washed with gray-brown. Slightly forked tail with a pale base and bronze-tipped coverts. Females show some dusky spotting below. Found ¡n open arid habitats with low bushes and some trees. Hill-slopes with bushes, columnar cactus, agaves and thistles, also hedgerows and gardens near houses. Visits small copses. Avoids moist forest. Generally territorial and aggressive, chasing violetears and hill stars. Flies with erratic wing-beats and odd glides, more like a swallow than a hummingbird. Hovers with slow, deep wing-strokes and with tail spread, but often perches when feeding. Feeds on nectar but also flying Insects where ¡t will hover for long periods, bouncing up and down. The distinctive call ¡s a loud ‘sweeet’. Found at elevations of 2500 – 4000 meters in Andean valleys. Can be seen near Llactapata rulns at the start of the Inca Trail.
10.- Bird Watching: Shining Sunbeam – Aglaeactis cupripennis
12-13 cm, bill 1.5 cm, straight and black. Crown and mantle dark brown. Lower back to rump iridescent lilac gold shading to shining silver green on the upper-tail coverts. Throat rufous with a few dusky gray spots and shows light buff patches on the breast. Belly rufous-brown. Tail rufous with bronzy distal part. Female is less iridescent on the back. Inhabits fairly humid to semi-arid bushy slopes admixed with alders (Alnus spp.), secondary growth, also sometimes Polylepis woodland. Perches conspicuously on exposed tree-tops and glides downhill on spread wings. Often holds wings out in a V or flaps them slowly after alighting. Feeds perched, often with raised wings, on nectar and insects. Also hawks for flying insects. Calls include high-pitched descending ’tzee-tzee-zee-zee’ etc. or ‘tzerr- tzerr’. At elevations of between 2500 and 4200 meters. Can be seen in the Pacasmayo valley along the Inca Trail.
11.- Bird Watching: White-tufted Sunbeam – Aglaeactis castelnaudii
Peruvian Endemic. 12 cm, bill 1.8 cm, straight and black. Fuscous with a tawny tail. Above fuscous- black with a bronzy sheen and with a magenta reflection on the lower back and rump. Below earthy-brown with blackish upper throat and face, black pectoral band (sometimes the whole under-parts) with a tuft of white feathers on the central breast. Tail tawny with bronzy tips and central tail feathers. Habitat similar to that of the preceding species – rather open shrubby hillsides with some taller trees and admixed alders (Alnus spp.) – glades in semi-arid forest and Polylepis graves. Generally at higher elevations than the Shining Sunbeam but where they occur together, this species is submissive. Feeds on nectar by clinging to flowers and hovers for flying insects. Calls inelude ’py..py..py..py’ and very high-pitched ‘zeets’. At 2500 – 4300 meters. Can be seen at Llulluchapampa along the Inca Trail.
12.- Bird Watching: Mountain Velvetbreast – Lafresnaya lafresnayi
11.5 cm, bill 3 cm; thin, black and de-curved. Male: Upper-parts grass green. Throat and breast iridescent emerald green, belly velvety black. White post-ocular spot. Tail feathers tipped bronze- green. Central tail feathers bronze-green, outer tail feathers white. Female: Crown more dusky, under-parts creamy buff, densely-spotted with glittering green disks, except the belly which is clear white. Found along the borders of humid montane and pre-montane forest, bushy slopes and overgrown landslides. Forages at low levels with fluttering flight whilst spreading and closing tail. Males hold territory on nectar-rich flower patches whilst females ’trap-line’ for nectar. Also hawks for small flying insects. Calls include a whistled ’zeee’and soft ‘tzrr’ notes. Mostly at 2000 – 3400 meters.
13.- Bird Watching: Great Sapphirewing – Pterophanes cyanopterus
19 cm, bill 3 cm, very slightly up-turned and dark. Tail slightly forked. Male: Blue with dark green sheen. Wings dark blue. Female: Dark metallic green with under-parts cinnamon rufous spotted with green, especially on the flanks. Found in open montane forest, forest edge, elfin forest and open puna with a few scattered plants. Sometimes in drier, semi-humid habitat with alders. Flies very fast with erratic wing-beats and glides. Feeds on nectar from flowers on the outside of thickets and bushy tangles, with heavy, hovering wing-beats, sometimes clinging to flowers. Insects are caught by hawking. Sometimes associated with mixed species flocks at tree-line. Cali is a piercing high-pitched ‘zreeee’, also an agitated ’tittitzerrr’. At elevations of 2600 – 3700 meters. Can be seen along the Inca Trail near Runturacay.
14.- Bird Watching: Bronzy Inca – Coeligena coeligena
14 cm, bill 3.6 cm, black and straight. Lower mandible sometimes shows some yellow at the base. Head and upper-parts dark blackish bronzy-brown with a distinct maroon sheen, becoming greenish on the lower back. Post-ocular spot white. Under-parts rufous-brown except for the throat and chest which are grayish, spotted dusky. Under-tail coverts rufous with some cinnamon. Tail bronzy, slightly forked. Found at the edge of humid pre-montane forest, and in forest clearings, edges of trails etc. Mostly forages by trap lining for nectar at the edge of, and also inside forest. Mostly at to lower levels but will go into the crowns of flowering trees. Will take small insects by hover- gleaning or hawking. At 1500 – 2600 meters. Can be seen in the Mandor valley.
15.- Bird Watching: Gould’s Inca – Coeligena Inca
14.5 cm, bill 3 cm, black and straight. The omissa race is present at Machu Picchu and this withthe nominate Inca race has been raised to full species rank from Collared Inca Coeligena inca. Mostly glittering golden green with a velvety black head and a shining green frontlet with broad rufous triangular patch on the breast. Tail mostly white except for the central 2 feathers which are greenish and outer tips which are bronzy. Female similar with some spotting on the chin and throat. Inhabits humid montane and pre-montane forest and forest borders. Feeds at low to mid- heights and sometimes in low canopies, mostly hovering along the edge of dense vegetation, ’trap-lining’ for nectar. hawks for insects. Flies fast through the forest and reveals itself by flashing the white of its tail periodically. Mostly found at elevations of between 1500 – 3000 meters. Can be seen along the railway track between Puente Ruinas railway station and the Mandor valley.
16.- Bird Watching: Violet-throated Starfrontlet – Coeligena violifer
14 cm, bill 3 cm, black and straight. Dark metallic green above with a bronzy sheen, turning coppery on the wing-coverts, and with a rufous base to the secondary s. Lower under-parts mainly cinnamon, breast glittering green. Male shows a glittering blue gular patch and a glittering blue- green frontlet. Female shows a buffier throat with many green disks. Found at the edge of, and in clearings in, humid montane forest as well as elfin forest. Feeds by ‘trap-lining’ in low strata or along the edge of bushes, occasionally along forest trails and will go into the canopy. Nuptial dispiay is a butterfly-like pendular flight above a perched partner. Cali is a series of ‘zwit’ notes. Mostly at 2800 – 3300 meters. Can be seen along the Inca Trail between Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca.
17.- Bird Watching: Sword-billed Hummingbird – Ensifera ensifera
22 cm. Bill 6-11 cm, slightly upturned and black. Much individual variation in bill length, but the longest of any hummingbird. Male: Dark green with a coppery head and a white post-ocular spot. Under-parts glittering emerald green except for blackish throat and gray belly. Tail forked and blackish. Female: Similar to the male but with lighter under-parts and throat and belly washed gray with many green disks. Tail less forked. Found ¡n humid-montane, semi-humid forest, elfin forest and forest edge with many vine tangles. ‘Trap-lines’ for nectar at mid to high levels on the outside of trees and shrubbery. Specializes on pendant flowers with long corollas, mostly hovering whilst extracting nectar but sometimes feeds whilst perched. Will also hawk for insects in a swift- like manner. Voice is plaintive whistle, also a guttural ’trrr’. At elevations of 1700 – 3500 meters but mostly at 2500 – 3000 meters. Can be found along the Inca Trail between Wayllabamba and Warmiwañusca pass. Fairly common.
18.- Bird Watching: Chestnut-breasted Coronet – Boissonneaua matthewsii
13 cm, bill 1.8 cm, straight and black. Shining metallic green above and bright chestnut below. Throat spotted with green disks. Tail slightly forked, mostly chestnut but with bronzy central feathers and tips. Found in humid pre-montane forest. Inhabits mostly the interior and canopy but sometimes seen at the forest edge. Defends patches of flowers mostly at canopy level and often clings to flowers whilst feeding. Will also hawk for insects. Aggressive. Mostly found at 1200 – 2600 meters, occasionally a little higher. Can be seen on the slopes of Machu Picchu above the Urubamba River and is common in the grounds of the El Pueblo Hotel.
19.- Bird Watching: Amethyst-throated Sunangel – Pleliangelus amethysticollis
11 cm, bill 1.8 cm, rather short, straight and blackish. Above shining dark green with a glittering green frontlet. Throat and upper breast rosy-amethyst, narrowly bordered on the neck and sides of the head by black and below by a buff pectoral band. Rest of under-parts buff with green disks, especially on the flanks. Under-tail coverts buff. Tail rather short and square, bluish-black with bronzy central feathers. Inhabits humid montane and pre-montane forest with lots of moss and epiphytes, also bushy slopes with few tall trees and damp bushy ravines. Mostly at mid-levels but will feed lower at forest edge. Often perches whilst feeding and defends concentrations of nectar producing flowers. Hawks for insects from a favorite perch and may be associated with mixed feeding flocks. On alighting characteristically holds its wings aloft for a few seconds. Calls include a dry ’trrrr’. At elevations of between 1800 and 3200 meters. A conspicuous Hummingbird which can be seen near the Wiñay Wayna ruins along the inca Trail.
20.- Bird Watching: Coppery-naped Puffleg – Eriocnemis sapphiropygia
Peruvian endemic. 12-14 cm, bill 2.2 cm, straight and blackish. Previously considered a subspecies of Sapphire-vented Puffleg – Eriocnemis luciani, but here treated as a full species. Glittering metallic grass-green above with golden-coppery tinge on the back of the head and neck. Under-parts golden-green except for the under-tail coverts that are shining purplish-blue. Tail steel blue and forked. Shows large white leg puffs. Female similar but shows a white stripe on the belly. Inhabits humid montane and pre-montane forest, mostly at the edge, also elfin forest. Will venture onto bushy slopes. Territorial and defends concentrations of flowers. Mostly feeds at low to mid-levels, often clutching onto flowers whilst extracting nectar rather than hovering. Will land on the ground for terrestrial flowers and hawk for insects. Found at elevations of between 2000 and 3500 meters. Can be seen along the Inca Trail between Wiñay Wayna and Intipunku.
21.- Bird Watching: Buff-thighed Puffleg – Flaplophaedia assimilis
9-10 cm, bill blackish and straight. Sometimes considered con-specific with Greenish Puffleg – Haplophedia aureliae. Entire plumage dark green. Large conspicuous leg puffs creamy-white. Tail blue-black and slightly forked. Inhabits the undergrowth of humid montane and pre-montane forest, forest borders and edge. Territorial and aggressive. Holds territories around clumps of flowers with short corollas. Stays mostly low in the vegetation only reaching mid-levels when Inga spp. trees are in flower. Gleans vegetation for insects on occasion. At elevations of mostly 1500 – 2500 meters but may reach 3000 meters at certain times of the year. Best looked for in the Mandor and Aobamba drainages.
22.- Bird Watching: Booted Racket-tail – Ocreatus underwoodii
Male 11-15 cm (including elongated tail feathers), female 7.5-9 cm. Bill short and black. The annae race is present at Machu Picchu. Conspicuous tawny leg puffs. Male: Dark metallic green with large glittering emerald green gorget. Breast and belly white spotted green. Under-tail coverts rufous spotted green. Narrow tail with outer feathers 5-8cm long, partly bare shafted and ending in 1cm wide Steel blue rackets. Shafts cross. Female: Under-parts white with dense green spotting and buff vent. Thin white line separates dark cheek from dark rectal stripe. Tail only 3cm long, narrow and deeply forked, blue black with white tips. Found in humid montane and pre-montane forest, also well-developed secondary growth. Can be seen in the under-story and at forest edge from low to high levels. Flight is wavering and bee-like. Holds wings outstretched for a few seconds after alighting. Mostly feeds in the canopy on a wide variety of tubular flowers and holds territories. Clings to flowers whilst feeding. Makes some frail twittering notes and the wings make a distinctive hum. Mostly at 1600 – 2200 meters but up to 3000 occasionally. Can be seen in the Inga trees at the bottom of the Mandor valley.
23.- Bird Watching: Black-tailed Trainbearer – Lesbia victoriae
15-26 cm (including 11-18 cm tail). The berlepschi race is present at Machu Picchu. Bill short and black, slightly de-curved, especially in the male. Male: Above shining bronzy-green with a white post-ocular spot. Gorget iridescent emerald green and V-shaped. Tawny central belly and vent. Tail feathers black with slight bronzy feather tips. Female: Below buffy-white, densely spotted with green disks and speckles. Tail shorter, bluish black and deeply forked. Found in not too humid bushy ravines, bushy slopes, hedgerows, gardens and Polylepis woods. Aggressive and territorial. Forages on a variety of flowers, including introduced Eucalyptus at mid to high levels. When perched often bobs tail. Hawks and gleans insects. Has a high aerial display flight with spread streamers. Calls include ‘tic’ notes and a thin ’zeet’. Song is ti..ti..tit.. trrrr. .tic..tic..tic’. Found at elevations of 2600 to 4000 meters. Can be seen in the Cusichaca Valley near Llactapata ruins at the start of the Inca Trail.
24.- Bird Watching: Green-tailed Trainbearer – Lesbia nuna
15.5-18 cm (male including tail of 10.5-12 cm.); female 11.6 cm (including tail of 5.5 cm). Bill short, straight and black. Male: Mostly glittering emerald green. Gorget iridescent green and rounded. Lower belly grayish with green disks. Tail long and forked, blackish with green tips. Female: Similar to the male but with white under-parts with glittering green disks and shorter tail. Inhabits bushy slopes and ravines, semi-humid scrub and gardens. Usually ¡n somewhat more humid habitat than the Black-tailed Trainbearer. Aggressive but submissive to the preceding species. Feeds on a variety of flowering shrubs and occasionally hawks for insects. Display flight different from Black- tailed Trainbearer – male flies in a zig-zag pattern in front of perched partner. Calls include ’bzeeet’ and a high-pitched ‘seep’. Song is a canastero-llke ‘zee-zee-zee-zzee-zeeet’. At elevations of between 2000 and 3800 meters. Can be seen around the village of Wayllabamba along the Inca Trail.
25.- Bird Watching: Purple-backed Thornbill – Ramphomicron mlcrorhynchum
8.5 cm. Bill short, straight and black (the shortest bill of any hummingbird). Male: Above metallic violet purple with white post-ocular spot. Gorget iridescent golden-green, belly bronzy green. Vent coppery. Tail forked, shining purple. Female: Above shining green with white post-ocular spot. Below white, spotted with large green discs except for the belly which ¡s clear. Tail less forked and bright bronzy purple with white tips to the outer tail feathers. Inhabits the borders of humid montane forest, elfin forest and nearby bushy slopes. Flight ¡s bee-like. Feeds by ‘trap-lining’ for nectar at mid to high levels on the outside of vegetation. Often uses holes made by flowerpiercers in corollas. Hawks for insects also. The song is a long weak series of notes ‘ti..ti..ti..ti..’. Mostly found at 2500 – 3400 meters in elevation.
26.- Bird Watching: Scaled Metaltail – Metallura aeneocauda
11 cm, bill 1.5 cm, straight and black. Male: Above mostly bottle green. Under-parts appear scaly due to tan feather margins. Throat patch bright iridescent green. Tail slightly forked and Iridescent sky-blue and bronzy-green above, glittering green below. Female: similar but more mottled below with only the center of the feathers green. Throat patch incomplete. Both sexes often show white tips to outer tail feathers. Inhabits bushy clearings in humid montane and elfin forest, forest edge and nearby bushy slopes. Feeds within a few meters of the ground on a variety of flowers with 2-4cm corollas often clinging to the flowers. Also takes insects. Call/song is a buzzy series of notes ’zew..zew..zew..zwhiziz¡ ..zwihzizi’. Found at elevations of between 2800 – 3600 meters. Can be seen near Sayacmarca ruins along the Inca Trail.
27.- Bird Watching: Tyrian Metaltail – Metallura tyrianthlna
9 cm, bill 1.3cm, black and straight. The smaragdinicollis race is present at Machu Picchu. Male: Bronzy-green shading to bottle green on the rump. Below more bronzy and somewhat scaled, with cinnamon feather margins. Gorget narrow and emerald green. Female: Orange-cinnamon below with green spots on the sides of the breast and flanks. Some green discs on the throat. Tail in both sexes is deep blue. Found in lighter humid montane forest, elfin forest, secondary growth and bushy clearings at tree line. Also bushy ravines in semi-arid areas, often with alders (Alnus spp.). Mostly encountered at low to mid-heights hovering or clinging to flowers. Occasionally pierces base of corollas to extract nectar. Feeds mostly on the outside of vegetation and hawks for insects. Makes variety of harsh ‘shric’ and ’trrr’ notes, also ‘zee-tee titititit-zwee..dwee-zeee’ etc. Also ’ziLziLziLzii…’delivered from a low perch. Mostly found at 2500 – 3600 meters. Quite common near tree-line throughout the Sanctuary.
28.- Bird Watching: Rufous-capped Thornbill – Chalcostigma ruficeps
10 cm. Bill 1.1 cm, short, straight, slightly upturned at the tip, and black. Male: Above bottle green, below rufous mottled green especially on the flanks. Crown chestnut and narrow throat patch emerald green grading into gold. Tail dull olive-green. Female: Lacks chestnut cap and has an incomplete gorget. Breast is uniform cinnamon-orange with green spots on the sides. Found in humid montane and pre-montane forest, forest edge and borders. Also in well developed humid secondary growth. Forages at low to medium levels on a variety of flowers and will make or use existing flowerpiercer holes at the base of corollas to extract nectar. Clings to flowers rather than hovering. Takes insects to supplement diet of nectar. Song is a soft frail trill. Flight call’tzee..tzee…tzee’. Found at elevations of between 1500 and 3600 meters, mostly around 2500 meters. Generally uncommon.
29.- Bird Watching: Olivaceous Thornbill – Chalcostigma olivaceum
12-14 cm. Bill 1.2 cm, short, straight and black. Uniformly dark olive green, tail bronzy green. Male has 4 cm long two-lobed tail and sooty face and throat. Throat patch elongated (beard) grading from green on the chin through yellow and purple to blue at the tip. Female has partly disintegrated ‘beard’ and pale tips to the outer tail feathers. Inhabits puna grassland and moist valley bottoms in high Andean valleys. Also, edge of Polylepis graves and bushy slopes at high altitude. Feeds on nectar and insects and specializes on prostrate small flowers on the ground. Feeds on flowers and insects whilst walking across the ground, sometimes hovering close to the ground and darting up after flying insects. Seasonal crowding occurs at concentrated nectar sources. We do not know the voice of this species. Found at elevations of between 4000 and 4600 meters. Can be found around the Salcantay massif.
30.- Bird Watching: Blue-mantled Thornbill – Chalcostigma stanleyi
12-13 cm. Bill 1.2 cm, short, straight and black. Male: Mostly dark sooty-brown, upper-tail coverts turquoise. Crown and nape with bronzy-green iridescence. Back shows a violet-blue reflection. Long ‘beard’ grades from emerald-green on the chin through purplish to blue-gray distally. Female similar to male but shows no ‘beard’ and incomplete throat patch. Shows pale tips to outer tail feathers. Found on steep rocky slopes with Gynoxys and Polylepis woods or other scrub, occasionally into surrounding open rocky terrain. Feeds on a variety of flowers close to the ground, also feeds on insects and sugary secretions on the underside of Gynoxys leaves. Feeds whilst clinging to vegetation with much fluttering. Occasionally hawks for insects. Cali a weak ‘dzerr’. At elevations of 3600 – 4400 meters. Can be seen near Llulluchapampa along the Inca Trail.
31.- Bird Watching: Long-tailed Sylph – Aglaiocercus kingi
10-19 cm ( dependlng on tail length). Bill 1.4 cm, short, straight and black. White post-ocular spot in both sexes. Male: Metallic bronzy-green, below duller olive. Forehead and median crown stripe shining emerald green. Throat with glittering greenish-blue patch. Tail narrow and deeply forked with 12 cm lateral streamers, iridescent violet blue-green above and bluish-black below. Female: Similar to the male but lacks long tail, mostly bronzy-green but with cinnamon under-parts and metallic green on sides. Head bluish green, throat white, spotted green and short white malar streak. Shows a cinnamon wash on the back. Found in humid montane and pre-montane forest with many vines and a rather open canopy. Feeds mostly in the crowns of trees on néctar and insects by defending territory or ‘trap-lining’. Also pierces base of corollas for nectar. Hovers at flowers but sometimes clings to them. Will hawk for insects from a perch. Bobs tail when perched. Calls include frail ‘tzit’ and ‘trrt’ notes. At elevations of between 1000 and 2700 meters. Can be seen along the railway track between Aguas Calientes and the Mandor valley.
32.- Bird Watching: Bearded Mountaineer – Oreonympha nobilis
Peruvian Endemic. 14-17 cm (depending on tail length). Bill 2.2 cm, short, black and slightly de- curved. Male: Deep purplish blue and black cap and long narrow ‘beard’ changing from emerald green at the base to purplish with a blue tip. Bronzy-black hood is demarcated by whitish band slanting from the nape to the breast. Body is bronzy-chestnut with white central under-parts. Tail (8cm) deeply forked and bronzy, with white outer feathers and a dark margin on the inner web. Female: Similar, somewhat duller, with smaller and patchy ‘beard’. Inhabits dry Andean valleys with scrubby slopes and open woodland, alder-lined ravines, and agricultura land with Nicotiana bushes and Eucalyptus trees. Also, dry slopes with columnar cactus. Usually found near rocky outcrops. Avoids moist situations. Rather shy and submissive to other Hummingbirds. Feeds on nectar by both hovering in horizontal position below the flower, incessantly opening and closing tail and clinging. Also hawks for insects. Found at elevations of 2500 – 3800 meters. Can be seen at the start of the Inca Trail near Llactapata ruins.
33.- Bird Watching: White-bellied Woodstar – Chaetocercus mulsant
8.5 cm, bill 1.5 cm, thin, slightly curved. Short tail. Male: Dark blue-green, white post-ocular stripe curves down sides of neck encircling the rosy gorget and joining the broad white breast patch. Belly, flank spot and vent white. Tail forked, outer feathers reduced to shafts. Female: Bronzy green above with grayish mask around the eyes, post-ocular line buff. Below tawny, throat pale cinnamon, belly and flank patch white. Tail rounded central feathers green, outer feathers cinnamon with broad black sub-terminal bar. Inhabits humid montane and pre-montane forest and forest edge, clearings, semi-humid bushy slopes, pasture and gardens. Has a bumblebee-like flight and forages at all levels on small flowers and Insects. Submissive to all other hummingbirds but often escapes attention of territory holders by its slow insect-like flight. At elevations of between 1500 – 2800 meters.