Purple-crowned Fairy


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The Purple-crowned Fairy (Heliothryx barroti) is a large hummingbird that breeds in the lowlands and hills from southeastern Mexico south to southwestern Ecuador.

Its breeding habitat is forest canopy and edges at altitudes up to 1675m, and this bird can also be found in tall second growth and shady gardens . The female lays two white eggs in a small conical cup nest, which is made of plant down and sited near the tip of a thin branch.

The Purple-crowned Fairy is 11.5 cm long and weighs 6.5 g. It is slender and has bright white underparts, a green back, and a long pointed tail which has black central and white outer feathers. There is a dark patch through the eye, and the bill is sharply pointed. The male has a purple crown and a purple spot at the end of the eyepatch, which is bordered below with a glittering green malar stripe. The song is a vigorous repetition of the high thin tsitcall.

The female lacks the purple and glittering green colours on the head, and the immature bird has rufous fringes to its upperpart plumage and a dusky throat.

The Purple-crowned Fairy has a very light and graceful flight. It eats insects, picked off the foliage or caught in flight, and takes nectar from flowers, piercing the bases of larger blooms such as Heliconia. Although not particularly territorial, this species is quite aggressive, and will resist the attacks of territorial species.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Heliothryx
Species: H. barroti

Binomial name 

Heliothryx barroti
((Bourcier, 1843)


bullet BirdLife International (2004). Heliothryx barroti. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 10 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

bullet Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-0814-9600-4

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