New Species of Hummingbird Identified in Ecuador


A team of ornithologists in Ecuador has identified a new species of hummingbird.

Hummingbird is classified as a lovely blue green bird that resides in cold barren high lands. This bird is facing danger of extinction.

Team leader Francisco Sornoza saw one of the hummingbirds through binoculars a year ago and had a hunch that it was a previously unknown species.

The hummingbird is about four inches long and has a stunning, deep blue neck, a white breast with a black stripe and greenish-blue head and body feathers.

This unique specie of hummingbird has been given the name Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus, or blue-throated star.

The discovery of this hummingbird was announced in a journal called The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

The hummingbird lives at an altitude of 3,000 to 3,700 meters in an area near the Pacific coast that straddles the provinces of Loja and El Oro.

According to researchers estimate, there are only 300 of these hummingbirds and its habitat is shrinking dramatically. One of the major threats they face is mining in the area.

“It is a species that is in severe danger,” Sornoza, who works at the National Biodiversity Institute, told news sources.

Ecuador is small but very rich in bio-diversity. This place is home to 132 species of hummingbirds.

These birds are very well documented so the discovery of a new one is extremely rare. This is the first such find in 30 years, said Sornoza.

The team members included with Sornoza were researchers Juan Freile of the Ecuadoran Committee of Ornithological Registries, Swede Jonas Nilsson of the bird observatory Wild Sumaco, Denmark´s Niels Krabbe from the University of Copenhagen and Elisa Bonaccorso, a Venezuelan who teaches at San Francisco University in Quito.

Hummingbirds are distinguished by their colors and the shape of their beak.

“Each one represents the colors of the jewels you can see in the world: diamond, ruby, amethyst,” said Sornoza, who has studied birds for 30 years and is so crazy about them he imitates bird song.

Hummingbirds are tough little creatures. Their hearts beat 1,600 times per minute by day but that goes down to 200 at night to help them survive cold temperatures.

The new species of hummingbirds has a slightly curved beak that helps it get at the flowers of the chuquiragua, a plant that Ecuadoran highlanders use to brew tea.

It can eat up to two times its weight in nectar.


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