Gorgeted Woodstar

Chaetocercus heliodor

Click to view a larger image. Click to view a larger image. bird bird

Museum specimen featured in the Wild exhibition
Source: Museum Victoria

Gorgeted Woodstar
Image: P Salaman
Source: VIREO

Type: bird

Gorgeted Woodstar Gorgeted Woodstar
Image: P Salaman
Source: VIREO

Conservation Status

Secure Vulnerable Endangered Extinct  ]

Gorgeted Woodstars are seldom seen in their rainforest habitat, but it is not clear whether this reflects their rarity. It may be that their inconspicuous habits and life high up in the trees simply makes them difficult to find. These hummingbirds are able to live in disturbed habitats such as regrowing forests and plantations, so their conservation status is considered secure.

WHAT THEY EAT

omnivore

Gorgeted Woodstars are omnivores.

They drink the nectar of flowers and eat small insects.

HOW BIG THEY ARE

Gorgeted Woodstar relative size depiction as described below

Size relative to a sparrow.

Length:
5.8–6.4 cm

Amazing Gorgeted Woodstars

Gorgeted Woodstars are one of nearly 330 species of hummingbirds, which are named for the humming sound of their rapid wingbeats. Hummingbirds are tiny nectar-feeding birds found across the Americas. Like others in the group, Gorgeted Woodstars consume more than their own weight in nectar daily, which they gather using their long bills and grooved tongues.

Male Gorgeted Woodstars are larger than females and more brilliantly coloured. They are dark metallic blue-green with white patches and black wings, with an iridescent pink patch of feathers, or gorget, on their throats. The females are bronzy green with reddish bellies. 

These tiny birds are incredibly agile and hover mid-air while feeding. Their wings beat 70–80 times a second in a figure-of-eight movement. Their wing muscles are relatively larger and more efficient than those of other birds. When not feeding, Gorgeted Woodstars perch on branches to conserve energy. They enter torpor at night or when food is scarce.

Gorgeted Woodstars nest from April to October. The males sing to attract females but do not help rear the young. The females build soft, cup-shaped nests high in the trees in which they lay two eggs. The nest expands as the young grow. They leave the nest after 17–19 days but are still fed by their mother for another three weeks.

Did You Know?

Gorgeted Woodstars

  • can fly backwards, which is unique to hummingbirds
  • are named for the pink patch of feathers on their throats called a gorget
  • beat their wings 70–80 times a second

WHERE THEY LIVE

Gorgeted Woodstar distribution map

Gorgeted Woodstars are found in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. They live in tropical forests and coffee plantations above 1200 m altitude.

OTHER ANIMALS

Other animals from the Neotropic

Chestnut-mandibled ToucanJaguarCotton-top TamarinNine-banded Armadillo

Related Resources

Photograph of a yellow plastic Tyranasaurus Rex