Friday, March 3, 2023

Red-Billed Streamertail (Hummingbird)

One of the birds I really looked forward to seeing in Jamaica was the red-billed streamertail, a hummingbird that is the national bird of Jamaica and endemic to it. It is also known as the doctor bird or scissor-tail hummingbird. 
I saw many of them at Rocklands Bird Sanctuary outside of Montego Bay where they have been habituated to humans by 40 to 50 years of feeding them. I sat and watched them for a while near several feeding stations and had several fly within inches of my nose, hovering in front of my face, while we walked the grounds. We also saw at least one in the Blue Mountains.

It is found all over Jamaica except for the extreme eastern end where the very similar black-billed streamertail is found, an area of mangroves and arid highlands (Hotel Mockingbird Hill outside Port Antonio is part of that area where we saw the black-billed streamertail). 
This is the red-billed streamertail we saw in the Blue Mountains. The other photos are all from Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. 
The male has 3.9 to 5.1 inch long black tail streamers with a green to bronzy green gloss. It has a coral red bill with a black tip, a black to blue-black crown and the nape of its neck is velvety black. The rest of the upper parts are a bright metallic green and the face and underparts are a metallic yellowish-green. The female's bill is duller red, has upperparts that are metallic bronze green that is duller on the crown and does not have the long tail streamers. 

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit, it was a real kick seeing one of these, and I got a pretty good look with binoculars. They have gigantic models of them suspended from the ceiling in the Kingston Airport.