Crimson Topaz Hummingbird
Scientific name: Topaza pella
Length: 7.9 inches (20 cm)
Identification: The male crimson topaz has highly distinctive tail feathers
that cross halfway down. It also has a golden-yellow throat patch and an iridescent
Habitat and range: As a bird of the Amazons, the crimson topaz can be found
in Amazonian Brazil down to south of the Amazon River, in southern Brazil and the
Guianas. They especially inhabit the canopies of the narrow strips of forest along
the rivers, i.e., gallery forests.
FYI: Most of the time, this hummingbird is 150 feet above the ground in the
flowered canopy of the rainforest, and for this reason, viewing and photographing
the bird is quite difficult. The crimson topaz is the largest hummingbird of Brazil,
and in the Andes only the giant hummingbird (Patagona gigas) is larger. Every
rule about hummingbirds, e.g., hummingbirds will not walk even two inches, will have
an exception or idiosyncrasy. For example, Alexander Skutch reports that the olivaceous
thornbill hummingbird has been observed by Francois Vuilleumier -- in Bolivia, at
the 15,000 foot (4,572 m) level -- walking over the densely grass cushions of a meadow
feeding on insects. Source: Alexander F. Skutch, The Life of the Hummingbird (New
York: Vineyard Books, Inc., 1973), p. 53.
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