The Emerald Hummingbird of Honduras – Amazilia luciae

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird is the only endemic bird in Honduras that is in danger of extinction, it lives in the Very Dry Tropical Forest, in the Aguán Valley in the department of Yoro. The presence of this bird has also been reported in the departments of Olancho, Santa Bárbara and in the Rio Grande in Lempira.

Characteristics

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird or Honduran amazilia (Amazilia luciae), is a species of hummingbird that belongs to the Trochilidae family of the Apodiformes order. Most show marked sexual dimorphism, the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird shows little difference between sexes and between ages.

It can measure 6.3 cm from the point of the beak to the tip of the tail and weighs only 2 grams. The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird is known for its fast flight, its bright colors with emerald, green and blue feathers. The females are in charge of incubating and feeding the two young on their own, since they basically lay two white eggs in a static deep-cup nest made of mosses, lichens, plant fibers and cobwebs.

Habitat

It is considered an endangered species in Honduras due to the loss of its natural habitat mainly due to extensive cattle ranching, fires and the proximity of the paving of a highway that divides its habitat between the villages of San Lorenzo and Santa Bárbara in Olanchito. For this reason, the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird Species / Habitat Management Area was established by legislative decree 159 – 2005 as a protected area located in the Aguán Valley in the municipality of Olanchito, department of Yoro between the communities of Santa Bárbara and San Lorenzo.

Honduran Emerald Hummingbird Species / Habitat Management Area

It is a protected area, it has a declaratory status through Legislative Decree No. 159-2005 and is part of the National System of Protected Areas of Honduras (SINAPH) with a territorial extension of 1,217.45 hectares, distributed in six fragments, one of which is Nationally owned (1,157.4 has) and five in private property (totaling 60.07 has).

Scientific activity, environmental monitoring, educational, recreational activities that provide benefits to the local and national economy are allowed as long as these are compatible with the management objectives.

In the Emerald Hummingbird Habitat / Species Management area, there are other species of fauna and flora endemic to these ecosystems in addition to the Amazilia Luciae. (USIGME, 2004). Among the species registered in the protected area are: the black garrobo (Ctenosaura melasnostrena), and eleven species of plants (Bakeredesia molinae, Caesalpina yucatanenses, Eugenia coyolensis, Leucaena lempiriana, Lonchocarpius trifoliuos, Opuntia hondurensis, Pippertenurus yepgaxunker, Pippertenurus yepperi, , Zamia standleyi, Mejía said).

Studies from other latitudes have shown that tropical dry forests have half or a third of the total plant species than humid and very humid tropical forests (IAVH, 1998).

Discovery of the Emerald Hummingbird

In the 19th century there were four main scholars of birds in America: Thomas Mayo Brewer, Spencer Fullerton Baird, George Newbold Lawrence, and John Cassin.

The discoverer of Amazilia luciae was George Newbold Lawrence in 1867. The scientific name Amazilia luciae comes from the genus Amazilia and the species name luciae comes from the name of Thomas Mayo Brewer’s daughter, Lucy Breewer.

The size of its population cannot be precisely determined. The best estimate documented according to the North American ornithologist David Anderson in 2008 was a range of 500 to 2000 pairs of Emerald Hummingbird, based on scientific information on the genus Amazilia (Robinson, 2000), natural history of the Honduran Emerald (Monroe, 1968 ; Howel et al .; Thorn et all, 2000; Birdlife International, 2007; Anderson, 2008)

Behavior of the Emerald Hummingbird

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird shows a territorial behavior that is extremely jealous of its area, defending its home fiercely.

Chase and attack any bird that enters your space. This is most obvious in the breeding season when it is common to see males fighting the places where they are roosting and looking for flowers.

After eating, it rests in the bushes for several minutes, and then returns to eating activity. The interesting thing about this behavior is that it rests on the same branch.

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird appears to be more nectivorous than other hummingbirds. However, it makes long flights hunting for insects (Howell and Webb, 1995.) It is also seen occasionally searching for insects or water on tree leaves.

What does the Emerald Hummingbird feed on?

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird feeds from the first hours of light until the sun warms up and then continues feeding when the temperature drops until the last hours of light. It feeds mainly on the child’s foot (Pedilanthus camporum) that is in flower throughout the year. Secondly, it feeds on the Cactus Opuntia hondurensis or Cow’s Ear, and other plants that are in flower depending on the time of year; cactus, pinyon, bromeliads and mistletoe

It has been seen feeding on different strata and types of plants such as: trees, shrubs, herbs, epiphytes, lianas and parasites. It also consumes juice of ripe cactus fruits and hunts small insects.

Nesting of the Emerald Hummingbird

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird nests during the months of March and April. Its small nests are made of lichens and mosses, it almost always lays two eggs, the parents work together to feed the young.

Video of the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird (Honduran Emerald / Amazilia luciae)

Video of several members of the Honduran Ornithology Association (ASHO) where you can see the colors and shape of the only species of bird endemic to Honduras.

ASIDE – Conservation of the Emerald Hummingbird

Currently the RVSCEH has a National NGO, ASIDE, which has a co-management agreement with the National Institute for Forest Conservation and Development, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF) and the Municipalities of Arenal and Olanchito. ASIDE is in charge of the protection and conservation of the RVSCEH through the programs and sub-programs established in the Management Plan and in the Annual Operational Plan.

Since its creation under Legislative Decree 159 – 2005, the Protected Area did not have a co-management institution, it was until November 2011, after the ASIDE request was approved by the ICF, that a co-management agreement was signed.

ASIDE carries out through its own efforts the activities of protection, conservation, coordination between the entities involved in order to guarantee the faithful fulfillment of the delicate responsibilities assigned through the co-management agreement.

Currently you can carry out the tourist observation activity in its natural habitat. If you want more information call +504 2647-0309 or send a message to his email: asidehonduras@yahoo.com

It is generally attacked by the caburé owl (Glaucidium brasilianum). When attacked, hummingbirds gather in flocks to escape.

Sources

El Colibrí Esmeralda de Honduras - Amazilia luciae