Giant hummingbird

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Giant hummingbird
Giant hummingbird (Patagona gigas)

Giant hummingbird ( Patagona gigas )

Class : Birds (aves)
Order : Sailor birds (Apodiformes)
Family : Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
Genre : Patagona
Type : Giant hummingbird
Scientific name of the  genus
GR Gray , 1840
Scientific name of the  species
Patagona gigas
( Vieillot , 1824)

The giant hummingbird ( Patagona gigas ), also known as the giant gnome , is a type of hummingbird .


With a total length of 22 centimeters, a wing length of 14 centimeters and a weight of up to 24 grams, the giant hummingbird is the largest species of hummingbird. The upper side and the tail are colored greenish-brown, the rump is whitish, the lower tail-coverts white and the wings brown. Due to its size, it flaps its wings much slower (10 to 15 times per second) than other species of hummingbird and is more reminiscent of a bat.


The distribution area in the Andes ranges from northern Ecuador to central Chile and Argentina . The giant hummingbird lives in dry bushland with cacti inventory , but also in populated areas, in an altitude of 1,000-4,000 meters. In some areas it moves to lower altitudes in bad weather.


The giant hummingbird is an aggressive bird that defends its feeding grounds against other species. He does not suck nectar in the typical hummingbird flight , but mostly while sitting. Small insects are also part of its diet.


The small nest of moss, lichen and cobwebs is built in a bush, a tree or occasionally on a cactus and seems rather too small for a bird of this size. The clutch consists of two eggs.


Distribution area of ​​the giant hummingbird

According to the IOC World Bird List, two subspecies are recognized.

  • P. g. peruviana Boucard , 1893 occurs in the southwest of Colombia to the north of Chile and the northwest of Argentina.
  • P. g. gigas ( Vieillot , 1824) Nominatform is present in central Chile and the western central parts of Argentina.

Etymology and history of research

Louis Pierre Vieillot described the species under the name Trochilus gigas . The type specimen was owned by Jean-Baptiste Becoeur (1718–1777) and supposedly came from Brazil. It was not until 1840 that George Robert Gray proposed it to the new Patagona genus . When giving the name, Gray was based on René Primevère Lesson , who called the hummingbird L'Oiseau-Mouche Patagon . Lesson assigned the species to the wild pampas in the Puelche region in the south of ancient Chile. This corresponds to today's Patagonia . The specific epithet »gigas« is the Latin word for »huge, mighty«. The type specimen for the subspecies was collected by Henry Whitely in Peru, so that the name is derived from the country of origin of the bellows.


  • The giant hummingbird is a motif on the back of the 10-dollar bill of the Bolivian currency, Boliviano .


  • Martin de la Pena, Maurice Rumboll: Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica. Princeton Illustrated Chaecklists, ISBN 0-691-09035-1 .
  • Colin Harrison, Alan Greensmith: Birds. Dorling Kindersly Limited, London 1993,2000, ISBN 3-8310-0785-3 .
  • James A. Jobling: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names . Christopher Helm, London 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4 .
  • Louis Pierre Vieillot, Paul Louis Oudart : La Galerie des Oiseaux . tape 1 . Carpentier-Méricourt, Paris 1824 ( - a).
  • Louis Pierre Vieillot, Paul Louis Oudart: La Galerie des Oiseaux . tape 1 : (panels). Carpentier-Méricourt, Paris 1824 ( - b).
  • Adolphe Boucard: Genera of humming birds: being also a complete monograph of these birds . Pardy & Son, Bournemouth 1893, p. 55-107 ( ).
  • George Robert Gray: A list of the genera of birds: with their synonyma an indication of the typical species of each genus / compiled from various source . R. and JE Taylor, London 1840 ( ).
  • René Primevère Lesson : Histoire naturelle des oiseaux-mouches, ouvrage orné de planches desinées et gravée par les meilleurs artistes et dédié A SAR Mademoiselle 81 plates (Jean-Gabriel Prêtre, Antoine Germaine Bévalet, Marie Clémence Vhier, Antoine Charles Vieillotaut, after William Swainson, Pancrace Bessa , Elisa Zoé Dumont de Sainte Croix) . Arthus-Bertrand, Paris 1829 ( ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ IOC World Bird List Hummingbirds
  2. a b Adolphe Boucard, p. 61.
  3. ^ A b Louis Pierre Vieillot (1824a), p. 296.
  4. Louis Pierre Vieillot (1824b), table 180th
  5. George Robert Gray, p. 14
  6. René Primevère Lesson, p. 43, plate 3.
  7. René Primevère Lesson, p. 44.
  8. James A. Jobling, p. 173.