Saturday, March 4, 2023

Black-Billed Streamertail (Hummingbird)

I did a post on the red-billed streamertail yesterday, which is endemic to Jamaica and its national bird. Before we left for Jamaica I was aware of the very similar black-billed streamertail, which is also endemic, but did not realize that they inhabit different parts of Jamaica. At Rocklands Bird Sanctuary I asked Fritz, the caretaker, if they had the black-billed's there. He said, "no, they are found in the eastern end of the island." 
This is the range map (from Wikipedia) for the black-billed streamertail. Being endemic to Jamaica is one thing, but being endemic to just a small part of the island is another. 
The black-billed and red-billed are treated as separate species by the International Ornithological Committee and other birding organizations, but the North American Classification Committee of the American Ornithological Society treats them both as subspecies of the streamertail. They only are found together in a very narrow zone in Jamaica and they do interbreed. In the two photos below of the same hummingbird, note the difference on the neck, the effect of different light. 

The description for the red-billed is pretty much the same as for the black-billed, except that the bill is black instead of red. 

We saw the black-billed streamertail at Hotel Mockingbird Hill in Drapers, east of Port Antonio, on the northeast end of Jamaica. There were no feeders set up for them there, but we saw many of them. 

Despite its limited range it is treated as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN. The fact that it readily inhabits man-made habitats makes habitat loss less of a concern for it. 

1 comment:

  1. So THIS must be the one I saw, not the red-billed one. Either way, pretty amazing bird.