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Jewel of the Sky: Long-billed Starthroat

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Long-billed Starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris) is a beautiful little bird with an overall length of 11 centimetres including its long straight black bill which measures 3.5 cm. 

These wide-ranging hummingbirds inhabit second growth woodlands, forest edges, and partially open areas with trees and hedges. They are usually fairly quiet and forage individually.  

The gorget feathers located on the throat of this hummingbird reflect light due to their shape and the colors are not due to keratin based pigmentation. At different angles the light reflects a different color. In most hummingbird species males develop these feathers as they age to be used for breeding displays with females.  

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Uncommon in most areas, but evidently able to tolerate much disturbance, and perhaps even favoured by deforestation. 

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Long-billed Starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: 

Stiles, F.G. & Boesman, P. (2019). Long-billed Starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 July 2019). 

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