Scaly breasted hummingbird

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Scaly breasted hummingbird
Scale breast hummingbird illustrated by John Gould

Scale breast hummingbird illustrated by John Gould

Class : Birds (aves)
Order : Sailor birds (Apodiformes)
Family : Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
Genre : Phaeochroa
Type : Scaly breasted hummingbird
Scientific name of the  genus
Gould , 1861
Scientific name of the  species
Phaeochroa cuvierii
( Delattre & Bourcier , 1846)

The scaly-breasted hummingbird ( Phaeochroa cuvierii , Syn. : Campylopterus cuvierii ) is a species of bird in the family of hummingbirds (Trochilidae). The species has a large range that covers about 240,000 square kilometers in the Central American countries Mexico , Belize , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua , Costa Rica and Panama, as well as the South American country Colombia . The IUCN assesses the population as Least Concern .


Scaled breast hummingbird in Costa Rica

The scale breast hummingbird reaches a body length of about 11.5 to 12.5 centimeters. The short, straight beak becomes about 18 millimeters long. Males and females are very similar. The face, neck and chest are marbled green . The hummingbird has a rather inconspicuous white spot behind the eyes. The dark cinnamon-colored belly is speckled green on the sides. The broad, rectangular tail is blackish green with a white edge. Crown, neck and upper part shimmer green-gray. The black outer control feathers with white speckles can be recognized as soon as the bird spreads its tail.


The bird prefers to live in moist evergreen forests. Sometimes you can spot it in clearings with scattered trees, in gardens or plantations. It usually moves at heights of up to 200 meters. Observations in dry areas are rather unusual.


The scaly breasted hummingbird likes to examine flowers and catch insects. In doing so, it moves in a range that extends from the ground to the treetop. You can see it floating in front of flowers, but also clinging to the feeding place. During the courtship season, the males chirp intensely. The breeding usually takes place during the rainy season. In doing so, they build a downy chalice that is half-open on smaller trees at heights between 2 and 8 meters.


Distribution area of ​​the scale breast hummingbird

So far, the following six subspecies are known:

  • Phaeochroa cuvierii cuvierii ( Delattre & Bourcier , 1846)
  • Phaeochroa cuvierii maculicauda Griscom , 1932
  • Phaeochroa cuvierii saturatior ( Hartert , 1901)
  • Phaeochroa cuvierii berlepschi Hellmayr , 1915
  • Phaeochroa cuvierii furvescens Wetmore , 1967
  • Phaeochroa cuvierii roberti ( Salvin , 1861)

The subspecies roberti is found in the extreme southeast of Mexico, the north of Guatemala and Belize as well as on the Caribbean coasts to the northeast of Costa Rica. The subspecies maculicauda is native to the Pacific coast slopes of Costa Rica. Further south on the Pacific coastal slopes of western Panama one encounters the ssp. furvescens . The spp. saturatior can be seen in the Coiba National Park in Panama. In Eastern & Central Panama the ssp. cuvierii present. Finally, the subspecies berlepschi is found in the coastal regions of northern Colombia.

Etymology and history of research

The first description of the scale breast hummingbird was in 1846 by Adolphe Delattre and Jules Bourcier under the scientific name Trochilus Cuvierii . The current generic name Phaeochroa is derived from the Greek "phaios Φαιός " for "dark, brown" and "khrōs χρώς " for "skin color". The specific epithet was awarded in honor of Georges Cuvier (1769-1832). Salin described its subspecies under the name Aphantochora roberti , in honor of Robert Owen , who collected the type specimen in Verapaz (Guatemala). The subspecies »berlepschi« is dedicated to Count Hans Hermann Carl Ludwig von Berlepsch , who first mentioned Barranquilla as a place of discovery in 1887 . Maculicauda is made up of the Latin "macula" for "spot" and "cauda" for "tail". Saturatior means "more colorful", furvescens means "dark, becoming gloomy".


  • Steven Leon Hilty , William Leroy Brown : A guide to the birds of Colombia . Princeton University Press, Princeton 1986, ISBN 978-0-691-09250-8 .
  • Steve NG Howell, Sophie Webb: A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America . Oxford University Press, Oxford 1995, ISBN 978-0-19-854012-0 .
  • James A. Jobling: A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names . Oxford University Press, Oxford 1991, ISBN 978-0-19-854634-4 .
  • Adolphe Delattre , Jules Bourcier: Description de quinze espèce nouvelle de Trochilidèe, faisant partie de collections rapportées par M. Ad. De Lattre dont le précédentes excursions ont déjà enrichi plusieurs branches de L'histoire naturelle, et provenant de L'intérieur de Pérou, de républiques de l'Équateur, de la Nouvelle-Grenade et del'isthme de Panama . In: Revue Zoologique par La Société Cuvierienne . tape 9 , no. 5 , 1846, pp. 305-312 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).
  • Carl Eduard Hellmayr: New forms from the neotropical area . In: Negotiations of the Ornithological Society in Bavaria . tape 12 , no. 3 , 1915, p. 206-214 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).
  • Hans Graf von Berlepsch : Critical overview of the so-called Bogota collections (SO Colombia) occurring Colibri species and description of a new Colibri (Cyanolesbia nehrkorni) . In: Journal of Ornithology . tape 35 , no. 179 , 1887, pp. 313–336 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).
  • Osbert Salvin: Description of three new species of birds from Guatemala . In: Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London . 1861, p. 202–203 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).
  • Alexander Wetmore: Further systematic notes on the avifauna of Panama . In: Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington . tape 80 , 1967, p. 229-242 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).
  • Ernst Hartert: Description of four new birds . In: Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club . tape 12 , no. 84 , 1901, pp. 32-33 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).
  • Ludlow Griscom: The Ornithology of the Caribbean coast of extreme eastern Panama . In: Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College . tape 72 , no. 9 , 1931, pp. 303-372 ( online [accessed March 10, 2012]).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Steve NG Howell et al. a., p. 394.
  2. a b Steven Leon Hilty u. a., p. 285.
  3. ^ IOC World Bird List Hummingbirds
  4. a b Adolphe Delattre, p. 310.
  5. ^ Ludlow Griscom, p. 332.
  6. Ernst Hartert, p. 33.
  7. ^ A b Carl Eduard Hellmayr, p. 209.
  8. a b Alexander Wetmore, p. 231.
  9. a b Osbert Salvin, p. 203.
  10. ^ Internet Bird Collection
  11. James A. Jobling, p. 179.
  12. ^ Hans Graf von Berlepsch, p. 335.
  13. James A. Jobling, p. 137.
  14. James A. Jobling, p. 210.