Sunday, June 12, 2022

Blue-Mantled Thornbill

The blue-mantled thornbill is a high altitude hummingbird generally found between 9,800 and 13,800 feet in the Andes from Ecuador through Peru to Bolivia. It has three subspecies and we saw the nominate subspecies, Chalcostigma stanleyi stanleyi, which is found on both the western and eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador. 
Note the long, but very thin range (from Wikipedia)
It is a dark sooty brown, has a short straight black bill, and a small white spot behind the eye.
I love these photos because it shows a fluffy, almost wooly, feathered bird well adapted to the cold. These views do not show the colorful gorget, but do show the bronzy green sheen (almost a dull orange) on the crown. 

It also has a narrow gorget or throat patch (only visible at some angles) that is emerald green on the chin (top end) and turns to pink to purple-violet or violet-blue on the bottom end (females have only green), the back reflects violet-blue, the forked tail is steel-blue, the crown and nape have a bronzy green sheen and the uppertail coverts are turquoise. 
This shows the green gorget.

This shows the green gorget and blue tail. 

This shows the violet-blue back.
It is particularly found in polylepis woodlands. We saw several of them in Cajas National Park west of Cuenca, Ecuador. eBird lists 2,193 observations but only 224 with photos. 

1 comment:

  1. I would never have guessed this is a hummingbird--too puffy and not as showy as what I'm used to. The bird's posture in the last photo does look hummingbird-ish, however.