Trochilus – Streamertail

Playful and curious, often chasing each other through the flowers or perching on branches

Though now classified alongside Central and South American conures in the Eupsittula genus, the two sole members – the Red-billed Streamertail and the Black-billed Streamertail (now sometimes considered a subspecies) – stand out for their unique beauty and ecological significance. These dazzling emerald jewels shimmer in the sunlight, their smooth brows framing bright, curious eyes. But their true showstopper lies in the long, forked tail feathers that cascade behind the males like a dancer’s ribbons. These aren’t just for aesthetics – they aid the streamertail’s acrobatic maneuvers as it flits from flower to flower, providing balance and control during its high-speed chases and mesmerizing displays.

Streamertails are far from solitary creatures. They flit about in small groups or pairs, constantly buzzing their wings and chirping in a high-pitched language. Imagine tiny whispers exchanged as they share the secrets of the best flowers for nectar! These masters of the sky possess wings that beat incredibly fast, allowing them to hover with impressive precision as they sip nectar, acting as vital pollinators in the process by transferring pollen between flowers and ensuring plant reproduction. But streamertails aren’t picky eaters – they readily supplement their diet with tiny insects for a protein boost. Their long, pointed beaks are perfectly adapted for reaching deep within flowers to access the sweet nectar and snatching small insects mid-flight.

Beyond their beauty, streamertails exhibit intelligence, remembering the location of good feeding grounds to guarantee a steady food supply. Watching them flit through the air, a blur of green and red for the Red-billed variety, is a pure delight. These playful and curious creatures chase each other through flowers or perch on branches, observing the world around them.