If tropical birds of the world fascinate you, the Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) is sure to grasp your attention. A resident of several islands of the Caribbean such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Lesser Antilles, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua, Martinique, and Puerto Rico, the Antillean crested hummingbird is among the few hummingbird species with a mohawk-like crest adorning the head of all male birds. The dark and blackish plumage of the male is colorful and bright as it is tinged with shades of metallic purple, green, and blue. An Antillean crested hummingbird female, on the other hand, is duller and does not have a crest.
This small hummingbird species with a crest is resident in tropical and subtropical forests on many Caribbean islands. They are solitary birds and do not really bother mingling with their own kind unless it's breeding time.
There is a lot more to this hummingbird species than you can probably imagine. Read on to find out!
Nectar from flowering shrubs, vines, hedges, insects
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
0.14 oz (4 g)
How long are they?
3-5 in (7.6-13 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Black or gray underparts, and metallic blue or green upperparts
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Tropical or subtropical moist lowland forests, semiarid forests, plantations, open vegetation, parks
The Lesser Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, Antigua, Saba, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Sint Eustatius, Dominica, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Interesting Facts
What type of animal is an Antillean crested hummingbird?
The Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) is a hummingbird species native to the Caribbean islands.
What class of animal does an Antillean crested hummingbird belong to?
The Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) belongs to the class of Aves that comprises all birds.
How many Antillean crested hummingbirds are there in the world?
A total of around 16,536 Antillean crested hummingbirds are found in and around the Caribbean islands. In their distribution, about 1,912 birds are found in the British Virgin Islands, 2,089 in Antigua and Barbuda, 1,907 are resident in St. Lucia, 886 are clustered in Barbados, 551 are found in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 878 are in Grenada, 1,626 in Puerto Rico, and the rest are spread throughout island clusters in the Caribbean.
Where does an Antillean crested hummingbird live?
The natural habitat of this crested hummingbird species includes tropical or subtropical moist lowland forests, semiarid forests, plantations, open vegetation, parks, and forest borders. In terms of their geographical distribution range, their habitat is spread throughout a number of islands in the Caribbean, which includes the Lesser Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, Antigua, Saba, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Sint Eustatius, Dominica, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and Puerto Rico.
What is an Antillean crested hummingbird's habitat?
The Antillean crested hummingbird's habitat can range from sea level to high up in the mountains, but they are most commonly found at elevations below 1640 ft (500 m).
Who do Antillean crested hummingbirds live with?
This crested hummingbird is a solitary creature except during the breeding season between March and June. Even then, this bird species does not form pair bonds, and the male leaves the female soon after the mating is over. In addition, this species of bird neither lives nor migrates in flocks.
How long does an Antillean crested hummingbird live?
In general, most species of the hummingbird have a lifespan in the range of three to five years.
How do they reproduce?
The breeding season of the Antillean crested hummingbird spans throughout the year, but it occurs primarily during the months of March to June. The species is not known to form pair bonds, and the male leaves the female as soon as the mating is over. However, the male bird does partake in courtship rituals, which mainly involve flying in front of the female in a U-shaped pattern.
After an incubation period in the range of 17-19 days, the female lays a clutch of two eggs. The newborn chicks are dark gray with two rows of downy feathers on their back. The fledgling period for the chicks can range between 19-21 days, but they remain with the female parent for about three to four weeks. During this time, as well as during the incubation of the eggs, the female parent gets very defensive and actively protects her eggs and chicks from intruders and predators. The male parent does not have any kind of involvement in raising and caring for the young or building the nest.
What is their conservation status?
Concerning their conservation status, the Antillean crested hummingbird falls under the Least Concern category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Fun Facts
What do Antillean crested hummingbirds look like?
The Antillean crested hummingbird gets its name from the crest or tuft of the plume that adorns the heads of male birds. These birds are the perfect example of sexual dimorphism in a species where the male is more attractive and flashy compared to the female, a common characteristic in most birds of the world. Besides the prominent crest of the male, which is tipped with metallic shades of green and blue-green, the rest of the plumage is mostly blackish with purple, blue, and bronze-green iridescence on the wings, sides, back, and head. Males have green upperparts. The underparts are sooty black, and the tail is black and rounded. The bill is straight, black, and rather short.
Female birds are duller than males and do not have the mohawk-like crest on their heads. The crown, the forehead, and the upperparts of the female bird have a metallic bronze-green hue. The underparts are light gray and paler compared to males. The flight feathers have a whitish-gray tip, the tail is rounded and blackish, and the bill is dark and somewhat longer than that of males.
How cute are they?
Their sheer small size and their dark plumage with a green metallic sheen make crested Antillean hummingbirds look quite cute and adorable. The crest on the heads of male birds gives them a particularly distinguishing appearance. It's a sight to behold when this bird flies with its wings and tail spread out!
How do they communicate?
Resident Antillean crested hummingbirds of the Caribbean islands mainly communicate through a wide range of vocalizations comprising of high-pitched twitterings. Calls sound like short 'tzips' or 'tsips' and long series of 'tslee-tslee-tslee-tslee'.
How big is an Antillean crested hummingbird?
Most hummingbird species range in length between 3-5 in (7.6-13 cm), almost three times the size of a cockatiel. Crested Antillean hummingbirds are rather small with a body length of at most 3.75 in (9.5 cm). Their wingspan is around 4.75 in (12 cm). These birds are almost of the same size as the most common hummingbird species found in North America: the ruby-throated hummingbird.
How fast can an Antillean crested hummingbird fly?
With a wing-flapping rate of around 50 times per second and the ability to hover mid-air, Antillean crested hummingbirds can fly at a speed of about 33.5 mph (54 kph).
How much does an Antillean crested hummingbird weigh?
Antillean crested hummingbirds weigh around 0.14 oz (4 g).
What are the male and female names of the species?
Male and female hummingbirds do not have distinct names.
What would you call a baby Antillean crested hummingbird?
An Antillean crested hummingbird baby that has just been born can be called by various names such as chick, nestling, or fledgling.
What do they eat?
Antillean crested hummingbirds have an omnivorous diet. Their diet mainly comprises nectar from scented flowers, herbs, and shrubs. Their diet also includes spiders like sac spiders and insects that provide a rich source of protein.
Are they poisonous?
No, they are not poisonous.
Would they make a good pet?
No, they would not make a good pet due to their specific dietary requirements and their need for open habitats.
Did you know...
The Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) has four subspecies with a range that spreads throughout the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and the Lesser Antilles. The subspecies are Orthorhyncus cristatus migrans (found in the Grenadines and Grenada), Orthorhyncus cristatus cristatus (found in Barbados), Orthorhyncus cristatus ornatus (found in St. Vincent), and Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis (found in Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, and St. Lucia).
Orthorhyncus cristatus cristatus is a potentially invasive species in Barbados.
Known predators of Antillean crested hummingbirds are the tailless whip scorpion and the whip spider.
Do Antillean crested hummingbirds migrate?
Yes, these crested hummingbirds are known to migrate, but not in flocks. Records show that there is a variant species in Florida in mainland U.S.A.
What is the difference between an Antillean crested hummingbird and a normal hummingbird?
The ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common hummingbird species, and it's different from Antillean hummingbirds in several respects. In contrast to the Antillean crested hummingbird, ruby-throated hummingbird males have an iridescent ruby-red throat patch with a relatively lighter-colored plumage and a forked tail. Their upper parts are metallic green, and their underparts are grayish-white. Further, the ruby-throated hummingbird does not have a crest like its Antillean crested counterpart and it is a resident of mainland America, particularly the eastern United States and parts of Canada.
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