Rainbow starfrontlet

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Rainbow starfrontlet
Rainbow Starfrontlet - Ecuador S4E0095.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Coeligena
C. iris
Binomial name
Coeligena iris
Gould, 1854
  • Diphogena iris
  • Diphogena aurora
    Coeligena iris aurora

The rainbow starfrontlet (Coeligena iris) is a species of hummingbird in the family Trochilidae. It is found in Ecuador and Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland, at elevations of 1500 – 3300 m, and heavily degraded former forest. They can be seen along the edges of forests and adjacent shrubby areas.


The Rainbow Starfrontlets averages 13.5–14 centimetres (5.3–5.5 in) in length, along with the beak being about 2.9 centimetres (1.1 in) long.[2] The female is responsible for building the nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside. Thus camouflaging itself in a protected location in a shrub, bush or even tree. The nest is typically found on a low, thin, horizontal branch. The male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. The young are born unmovable and blind, without any down. The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with chewed food. They push the food down the chicks' throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs. The chicks are brooded only the first week or two, and left alone even on cooler nights after about 12 days. The chicks then leave the nest when they are close to 7 – 10 days of age.

The Rainbow Starfrontlets feed off of nectar taken directly from brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes. They tend to favor flowers with the highest sugar content. Then they seek it out, aggressively protect, and watch those areas containing flowers with high energy nectar. They use their straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering, licking 13 times per second.[2] They may also take some small spiders and insects for sources of protein, which are needed during the breeding season to ensure the good development of their young. Insects are often hunted in flight; swooped off leaves or branches, or are snatched forcefully from spider webs. A nesting female may capture up to 2,000 insects in a day.[2]

Males will establish feeding territories, where they aggressively chase away other males as well as any large insects that want to feed off their territory. They use aerial flights and intimidating displays to defend their territories.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Coeligena iris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Web, Avian. "Rainbow Starfrontlets - Hummingbirds". Beauty Of Birds. Retrieved 2016-02-03.

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