These beautiful birds which live in the Andes are a sight to be seen. As the largest of all hummingbird species, their presence is hard to miss when they make their way through your garden.
Scientific name: Patagona gigas.
It is the largest of all hummingbird species and is the size of a small pigeon. It grows to about 23 centimeters in length and its straight and rather thick beak can grow to more than three centimeters. Its wings are long and narrow, which makes it have a very similar flight to the swallow. Along its back, you’ll notice dull brown colors. The cheeks and lower parts are tan, varying to grayish brown. Its tail is slightly forked, with a pale base and a tan color along the tips of its feathers.
In a common inhabitant of the Andean valleys of the Peruvian Andes and can be found in elevations between 2,500 and 4,000 m.s. It’s a frequent visitor to large cactus flowers as well as to the agave. The giant hummingbird surges ceaselessly across the Andean skies. They are found in arid and open habitats with low vegetation, areas dominated by shrubs, columnar cacti, agaves, and thistles; but you can also find them in hedges and gardens. Generally territorial and aggressive, it has been known to fight with other hummingbird species and can even scare the Montagu’s harrier. Its diet includes nectar and flying insects. Its has a distinctive call with a strong ‘suiiit’ sound. Due to its size, much larger than other hummingbirds, it flies very slowly, giving the impression that it’s moving in slow motion. Like other hummingbird species, it is capable of flying backward or of suspending itself in one place. This greatly facilitates their search for food, but requires the bird a continuous supply of food rich in sugars.
Their populations are not threatened by extinction.
Range of distribution
Giant hummingbirds are common almost anywhere between 1,500 and 3,500 m.s. It lives along the Andes mountain range, from Ecuador to Argentina and Chile.
Source: Identification Guide for Peruvian Flora and Fauna
Cover photo: Wikimedia