Ruby-topaz Hummingbird

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird

Chrysolampis mosquitus

Photo by Carlos Bethancourt

The Ruby-topaz Hummingbird is an amazing hummingbird distributed mostly in South America. It can be found in Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname (which is the type locality—the geographical location where the specimen used to describe the species was originally found), the Guianas, Trinidad and Tobago and two other small Caribbean islands, northern, central, and eastern Brazil, parts of Bolivia, and some confirmed records in very specific locations in Argentina and Peru. Its distribution actually starts in eastern Panama, where it is very uncommon. Luckily this astonishing bird species visits the Canopy Camp’s gardens during Panama’s dry season. It usually frequents the plants in the gardens, but lately, it has been visiting our feeders too, offering an amazing opportunity to photograph this hummingbird. The male is unmistakable and dazzling when hit by light, with a glowing ruby crown and nape, an iridescent orange-yellow throat, and a bright orange tail. The female’s most distinctive feature is her chestnut tail feathers with a white tip. The body is green above and mostly light gray below, and in both sexes, the bill is small compared to other hummingbirds.

The Ruby-topaz Hummingbird inhabits forest edges, shrubby areas, gardens, and open savannas. Little research regarding the Ruby-topaz has been performed, and most studies only describe its recent records, DNA characterization, and flower visitation patterns in Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, there is still so much more to learn about this striking hummingbird. In the meantime, you can visit the Canopy Camp to spot this amazing species and many more!