Hummingbirds belong to the second-largest family of Aves and consist of almost 340 species. It is further divided into two sub-families Trochilidae that consist mainly of colorful hummingbirds and Phaethronithinae which have birds with brown plumage. Topaz Hummingbird also belongs to this second largest group of birds.
What will I learn?
- 1 Topaz Hummingbird- The Smallest bird or Not?
- 1.1 Description:
- 1.2 Identification of Topaz Hummingbird:
- 1.3 Size of Topaz Hummingbird:
- 1.4 Habitat and range:
- 1.5 Diet of Topaz Hummingbird:
- 1.6 Migration:
- 1.7 Vocalization of Topaz Hummingbird:
- 1.8 Breeding and Nesting:
- 2 Conclusion:
The topaz Hummingbirds include two species of hummingbirds. These species are Crimson Topaz and Fiery Topaz. Earlier it fiery Topaz was considered as subspecies of Crimson Topaz but later it comes to be a separate species.
Read more to know how topaz hummingbirds look like? What do they like to eat? How they nest and many more.
Topaz Hummingbird- The Smallest bird or Not?
The genus Topaz of family Trochilidae and class Aves consist of two hummingbirds. That found majorly in the Southern region of America. Giant hummingbird of genus Patagona is the larger hummingbird among all the hummingbirds. Topaz hummingbirds are fairly larger than other hummingbirds including bee hummingbirds (which is the smallest bird in the world) but smaller than a giant hummingbird.
Topaz hummingbirds are also known as “Topaz Hummers”. They are distributed along the Amazon basin and West Indies. Amazon region consists of countries like Brazil and Peru whereas West Indies Includes Venezuela, Florida, and other parts of Northern and Southern America. The topazes mostly live in humid areas and are not the smallest hummingbirds.
Topazes are fairly larger hummingbirds (but not larger than giant hummingbirds). The scientific name of two species belonging to this genus is Topaz pyra (Fiery Topaz) and Topaz pella (Crimson Topaz).
Identification of Topaz Hummingbird:
The very bright colored birds. Their heads are dark black with red plumage that have tints of orange and rose color. The abdomens are also red. They have metallic yellow-greenish throat with brownish shine in the center of the throat. This bright red color is the characteristic of male topaz that shows their identity and is a sign of dominance.
Moreover, they have two long tail feathers around the main feather. This is the most distinct feature of topaz hummingbird beside their color. These long feathers are curved and crossed around each other.
On the other hand, females are quite smaller and green in color and do not have long tail feathers. The upper part of their body is dark green whereas the lower part is also green but has golden greenish edges. Eyes are dark brown and feet tend to be brownish orange in color. Both the species are almost the same in color and size except for small differences that are used to differential them.
Size of Topaz Hummingbird:
The male topaz hummingbird is larger and their size ranges from 8.3 to 9 inches (i.e. 21-23 cm). Their featured tail measures from 4.7- 5.1 inches (i.e. 12-13 cm in length). Their beak is 1.4 inches long and they weigh from 10- 14 grams.
Female topaz hummingbirds are smaller than males and their length ranges from 5.1 to 5.5 inches as they do not exhibit long crossed tails. They weigh around 10 grams. Other measurements including the length of the beak are almost the same.
Habitat and range:
Both species majorly belong to the Southern region of America.
Fiery Topaz Hummingbird:
Fiery topaz is also known as “Inca topaz” they naturally live in tropical. Subtropical or areas that are usually moist including lowlands perennial forests. These reside in such forests present in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru. Moreover, in the forests, they prefer trees with great height and lives in high canopies. So they rarely come down and hence are not visible easily.
Crimson topaz Hummingbird:
Crimson Topaz is an Amazonian Topaz Hummingbird. It is found in areas of Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Suriname, Guinea, and Venezuela.
It also inhabits trees with exceptional height and lives in large canopies of the tress almost 17000 feet high. These topaz are also birds of evergreen forest present along the rivers, wetlands, and swamps. As they live in large trees, they are very rarely seen near the ground although they are abundant in a region.
Diet of Topaz Hummingbird:
These hummingbirds usually feed on nectar. Nectar is their primary diet that also suits their habitat and mode of living. They feed on the nectar of flowers that are bright in color, have the scent, and are small in size.
Topaz prefers flowers of trees, vines, epiphytes, and shrubs found in canopies of trees. These birds can also feed on Ericaceae plants and Bromeliaceae that is a plant from the pineapple family.
They mostly prefer plants with red and other bright colors that also have high sugar content. Another major factor that a plant should have is the tubular shape which helps these hummingbirds to put their bling beaks as well as straw-like long tongues to extract nectar easily. During this extraction, they hover their tails almost 13 times per second.
Sometimes they also hang with the flower to feed. Moreover, these plants in turn also rely on hummingbirds for their pollination. The Topaz Hummingbirds may also approach nearest feeder poles to get some water, feed, or sugar.
Source of Protein:
Topaz also eat some insects and spiders to fulfill their need for protein. This protein is fairly important for the development of their young ones. They capture these small creatures by snatching them off from a branch or leaf. They also capture them during a flight. A female while nesting can capture up to 2000 insects in a day.
Hummingbirds are very conscious about their feeding territories and try their best to protect them. For this reason, when they establish a territory for feeding male topaz make calls for intruders and show them their flashing bright colors to warn them so other animals could stay away from their feeding plants.
Topaz hummingbirds are sedentary. It means that they do not migrate far off distances in search of food or to spend winters. Although there are some seasonal movements that they exhibit in their range during the flowering season to get food.
Vocalization of Topaz Hummingbird:
The topaz hummingbird usually makes high slanting shrills and tweets. Although these birds also show Short calls for contact or defense. During aggression or chasing their vocalization include hasty babbling series.
Breeding and Nesting:
Topaz hummingbirds are solitary birds and neither form pairs nor lives and migrate in groups and flocks. During the breeding season, male topaz shows these flashy bright colors to attract the female. The male takes part only in the mating process. As soon as the courtship period finishes male separates from the female. Females also mate with different males during the breeding season.
They breed twice a year. The first season begins from January and ends in April, the second breeding season begins in July and ends in November. The male does not take part in building a nest or taking care of the young ones. All these things are done by female topaz Hummingbird.
The female made a nest at a height of 3 to 8 meters. Initially, the size of the nest is half the size of females. The nest is the cup-shaped made up of Bombax seed and moss used out the nest to camouflage it from the predators. The female also uses soft plant fibers, feathers of other animals, and some other tacky material to strengthen nest like a spider web. It also gives the nest, elasticity that is beneficial when the young ones grow in size.
Eggs and Young Ones:
These birds lay 2 eggs in a breeding season. These eggs are white. Females incubate them for 14 to 23 days. After incubation young ones are born they are black and have yellowish-grey color on their back. They are blind, cannot move, helpless, and completely depend on their mother.
Female topaz looks after the young ones for 12 days just like other species of the hummingbird. This is mainly due to the small size of the nest. After 12 days females leave the young own their own.
The young ones remain in the nest for 21 days and then leave. During the first 2 weeks, females feed their young ones with insects to fulfill their needs of protein. The young ones attain maturity in the second year of their lives.
Also, see What is The Lifecycle of HummingBird?
Hummingbirds are very unique birds and belong to the smallest birds in the world. They have unique features and characteristics for their survival. The largest bird of this family is a giant Hummingbird and the smallest bird of this family as well as around the world is Bee Hummingbird. Topaz hummingbirds are medium-size hummingbirds famous for their flashy bright colors. Although they are very abundant but do not appear easily as they reside at great heights.