The black Inca (Coeligena prunellei) is a dark-coloured hummingbird, which has a long straight bill (2). The plumage is generally black, with a greenish-blue throat patch; on each side of the chest there is a white patch, and the shoulders are iridescent blue (2). As with most hummingbirds, the female is somewhat drab in colour compared to the male (4). The narrow wings are adapted for hovering and the legs and feet are small and weak, a feature hinted at by the name of the order to which hummingbirds and swifts belong, ‘Apodiformes’, a term that means footless (4).
The main threats affecting the black Inca include habitat loss and degradation, largely as a result of human settlement and the clearance of the forest for wood and for agricultural land, including coffee and sugarcane plantations (2). Much of the remaining habitat is greatly fragmented and isolated (2).
The black Inca is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It occurs within a nature sanctuary in one part of its range, and so receives a level of protection in this area. There is currently a need to carry out surveys in some parts of the range and to study the life-history and breeding behaviour of the species (2).
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