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Caprimulgiformes > Trochilidae

Streamertail

Trochilus polytmus

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Identification

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A glittering species, primarily of moist woodlands, but also gardens and parks. The impressive long outer tail feathers of the adult male render it unmistakable. Immature males are nearly all green with a black cap similar to adult males, but without the long tail feathers. Females are green above and dingy below, similar to the colors of the Vervain Hummingbird, but Vervain Hummingbirds are much smaller, shorter billed, and shorter tailed. Importantly, the Streamertail has a red billed and all black billed version, with the black billed subspecies occurring only in easternmost portion of Jamaica and the red billed occurring throughout much of the rest of Jamaica. Although some hybridization occurs where the two meet, they may be separate species. Vocalizations include a high pitched, sharp, metallic “tseet, tseet, tseet…” and “wink, wink, wink” given in series that drops in pitch towards the end. Agitated males make a variety of buzzing noises, including a loud “chewwww.” The wings of the male create a distinctive low-pitched “whrrrrr” in flight.

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Learn more about Streamertail from…

Neotropical Birds

Life histories of all species breeding in Mexico, Central America, and South America