Red-billed Streamertail

Red-billed Streamertail (Trochilus polytmus)

Length: male 22-30cm (8.66–11.81")
Weight: 4.4–5.2g (0.156–0.183oz.)
Description: 2–3cm long red bill, predominant iridescent emerald-green plumage, a black crown and obvious ear tufts from elongated nape feathers, green throat, darker green on back, brown wings, and very long black tail streamers from the second outermost tail feathers, the streamers of the perched birds are crossed; females (♀): the female is about 10.5cm (4.13ins) in length, green above and whitish below, lightly spotted sides of the breast and belly, dark blue tail but green centrally outer feathers are broadly tipped white, but lacking the ornamental tail feathers of the male; and immature: black upper mandible, with red only at base of bill.
Habitat: forest, gardens, parks, plantations, riverine area, secondary forest, and woodlands.
Range: Jamaica.

Note: The flamboyant red-billed streamertail hummingbird is endemic to Jamaica and is Jamaica's national bird. It thrives on most of the island, found West of a line roughly drawn, north to south, from Morant Bay to Port Antonio in Eastern Jamaica, but a second cluster of black-billed streamertail, are denizens of the eastern part of the island.

The black-billed streamertail's, also endemic to Jamaica, is different from the red-billed streamertail in a few respects, first, its bill color is completely black, in size, the black-billed streamertail's wing, bill and tail length are slightly smaller, then its vocalization, and finally, its courtship exhibition does not involve head nodding or male flying display but rather involves interchanging diagonal flights between courting pairs.

Otherwise, the two subspecies are similar, sharing green plumage, although the black-billed streamer's is slightly darker and shows less yellow-green, a black cap and long black streamers. They even interbreed in the John Crow Mountains, towards the east of the island.


Red Billed Streamertail