Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird Species

The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia castaneiventris) is a small hummingbird found in South America. With its metallic green upperparts and chestnut-colored underparts, it is one of the more colorful members of its family.

The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird measures around 8-9 cm (3.1-3.5 in) in length and weighs 4-5 g (0.14-0.18 oz). As its name suggests, the chest and belly are a rich chestnut color. The upperparts are a shining golden-green. The tail is mostly chestnut, with green central feathers. The bill is straight and black. The legs and feet are also black.

Males and females look alike. Females may be slightly less vibrantly colored. Juveniles have buff edges to their plumage and lack the bright colors of the adults.

This species could potentially be confused with the Coppery-bellied Puffleg or the Sapphire-vented Puffleg. However, the Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird has more extensive chestnut underparts compared to those species.

Distribution and Habitat
The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird has a range centered on the Amazon Basin in South America. Its range includes far eastern Colombia, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, northern and central Brazil, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru and northern Bolivia.

This hummingbird inhabits tropical lowland rainforests and woodlands, including both terra firme and seasonally flooded várzea forest. It is mostly found below 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in elevation, but has been recorded up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft).

The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird feeds on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, usually red or orange, flowers of herbs, shrubs and small trees. Favorite nectar sources include plants in the families Rubiaceae, Melastomataceae and Heliconiaceae. This species will also visit some larger canopy flowers.

Like other hummingbirds, this species supplements its diet with small insects. It hawks flying insects, gleans them from leaves, and also probed into bromeliads and other epiphytes searching for small arthropods.

Males of this species are aggressive in defending feeding territories. They perform courtship displays for females that involve flying in repeated U-shaped patterns.

The female Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird builds a small cup nest out of soft plant fibers, often decorated externally with lichen or moss for camouflage. The nest is placed on a low horizontal branch, tree fern, or sometimes a man-made structure. The female lays two white eggs. She incubates the eggs alone for 15-19 days until they hatch. The chicks fledge after about 20-26 days in the nest.

Conservation Status
While the Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird has a relatively broad range, its numbers are suspected to be in decline due to habitat loss across the Amazon. However, it adapts readily to disturbed forest habitats and secondary growth. The IUCN Red List categorizes this species as Least Concern.

Fun Facts
– The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird gets its scientific name castaneiventris from Latin: castaneus meaning ‘chestnut-colored’ and venter meaning ‘belly’.

– This species was first described by French naturalist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1817. For a long time it was placed in the genus Amazilia, but some taxonomists now place it in the genus Saucerottia.

– Hummingbirds have famously high metabolic rates. The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird’s heart rate can reach up to 1,260 beats per minute!

– To conserve energy overnight, hummingbirds go into a hibernation-like state known as torpor. Their metabolic rate slows, body temperature drops, and heart and breathing rates decrease.

– Like all hummingbirds, this species can fly forwards, backwards, upside down, and hover in midair – unique flying skills among birds.

– The Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird has a rapid wingbeat of around 12 beats per second. This allows the bird to hover and change direction instantly.

– This hummingbird’s long bill allows it to retrieve nectar from flowers. The bill length matches the depths of the preferred flowers.

– The primary role of the Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird, like other hummingbird species, is pollination. As the bird feeds on nectar, pollen sticks to its head and bill and brushes off on the next flower visited.

In summary, the Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird is a diminutive yet dazzling rainforest hummingbird. With its colorful plumage and remarkable flying abilities, it plays an important role as a pollinator across its Amazonian habitat. Though hummingbirds are familiar, species like the Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird display just how diverse and fascinating this bird family remains.