Royal Sunangel

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Image:Royal Sunangel.JPG

Common Name: Royal Sunangel
Scientific Name: Heliangelus regalis

Size: 4.3-4.7 inches (11-12 cm)

Habitat: South America; Ecuador and Peru. Found in at least four areas in northern Peru (above San José de Lourdes in the Cordillera del Cóndor, Cajamarca; north-east of Jirillo, San Martín; Abra Patricia, San Martín; and north of the village of San Cristobal in the south Cordillera de Colán, Amazonas). It has also recently been reported from the Cordillera Azul, and further surveys may find it on Ecuadorian parts of the Cordillera del Cóndor and elsewhere in the Cordillera de Colán.

The royal sunangel inhabits subtropical elfin forest edge and shrubbery, often in areas of regular fire disturbance. They are found at altitudes of 1.450-2.200 m.

Status: Endangered. Global Population: 2,500-9,999 mature individuals and decreasing. Timberline habitats in the Andes have been diminishing since the arrival of humans thousands of years ago, primarily through the use of fire. Regular burning of páramo grassland adjacent to elfin forest (to promote the growth of fresh shoots for livestock) has lowered the treeline by several hundred meters, and continues to destroy large areas of the species’ habitat. Even the large areas of relatively undisturbed habitat that remain are increasingly under threat. Most forest in the southern Cordillera de Colán has already gone, with remnants being rapidly cleared for cash-crops, particularly marijuana and coffee. The proximity of cultivated land to the San José de Lourdes site suggests that other types of agriculture represent a potential threat.

Diet: Flower nectar and insects.

Breeding: Strikingly plumaged, sexually dichromatic hummingbird. Male entirely deep blue, with iridescence strongest on forecrown and long, deeply forked tail. Female has dark green upperparts, green-spotted cinnamon underparts with a broad, pale breast-band, and a blue-black, shallow-forked tail.

The Royal Sunangel breeds in July-September. The female lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-19 days. Chicks fledge 23-26 days after hatching.

Cool Facts: Different sexes, different tastes… Males seem to feed mostly on Brachyotum quinquenerve, and females feed mainly from ericaceous plants.

The Royal Sunangel and other threatened birds are protected at Abra Patricia in the Peruvian Andes, where the American Bird Conservancy and its partner ECOAN are protecting approximately 24,000 acres. This hummingbird is frequently seen near the head of the “Royal Sunangel Trail” close to the Owlet Lodge in the reserve.

Found in Songbird ReMix Hummingbirds of South America

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