Sunday 19 May
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer (Diglossa gloriosissima)
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer fact file
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Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer description
After 40 years of no sightings, the elusive chestnut-bellied flower-piercer has recently been rediscovered (3). The rich, glossy black plumage contrasts with the bright chestnut breast and belly, for which this species is named. Eye-catching blue-grey patches adorn the shoulders (2), and the rump may be faintly tinged dark bluish-grey. The upturned bill, sharply hooked at the tip, is black and the eyes are also dark (4).
- Length: 14.5 cm (2)
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer biology
With little fieldwork being undertaken within the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer’s range, not much is known about the biology and ecology of this rarely seen bird, although it is presumed to be similar to the glossy flower-piercer (Diglossa lafresnayii), (which some have believed it to be a subspecies of) (4). Thus, it is likely to occur singly, or in pairs (2), and hop furtively through dense vegetation. Sometimes it may sing from the tops of shrubs, or be seen actively catching flies (4). As well as insects such as flies, the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer feeds on nectar, puncturing or tearing apart the base of a flower to gain access to this rich food source. However, by obtaining the nectar in this manner, the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer plays no part in the pollination of the plant (5).Top
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer rangeTop
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer habitatTop
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer status
Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).Top
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer threats
There are a number of threats to the habitat in the very small range of the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer, including the expansion of human settlements, extensive deforestation, livestock grazing, and intentional and accidental fires (6). However, the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer is apparently able to tolerate some habitat degradation (6).Top
Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer conservation
After a worrying 40 years of no records, sightings of the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer since 2004 have given hope for the conservation of this endangered bird (3). The chestnut-bellied flower-piercer has been recorded from two protected areas, Paramillo and Munchique National Parks (6), although the level of protection this actually offers is not clear. Increased support and enforcement of these two national parks has been recommended by BirdLife International, in addition to further surveys to determine the population size and exact distribution of this species (6).Top
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For further information on the chestnut-bellied flower-piercer see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- Elfin forest
- Type of tropical high altitude forest, growing on exposed sites in which the trees are dwarfed or gnarled.
- A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
IUCN Red List (July, 2007)
- Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1989) The Birds of South Africa. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Pulgarín-R, P.C. and Múnera-P., W.A. (2006) New bird records from Farallones del Citará, Colombian Western Cordillera. Boletin SAO, 16(1): 44 - 53.
- Hilty, S.L. (1986) A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Naturalist Newsletter (March, 2008)
BirdLife International (March, 2008)
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