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The Red-billed Streamertail

The enchanting red-billed streamertail or “Trochilus polytmus,” is also known as the doctor bird, scissor-tail or scissors tail hummingbird, is indigenous to Jamaica.  The Red-billed Streamertail is most abundant and widespread member of the hummingbird family. This is national bird of Jamaica, and many authorities considers a separate species, however some conspecific with the black-billed streamertail. Jamaica is the only place in the world where the Red-billed Streamertail can be found the splendor of this marvelous hummingbird.

The bird is stunning creation of God and mostly found in the line from Morant Bay following the Morant River and Ginger House and the Middle of Rio Grande to Port Antonio.  The Red-billed is the most easily observable Jamaican endemic bird and is well represented in Jamaican folklore, and killing these birds is considered to bring bad fortune on one’s self in most parts of rural Jamaica. The male hummingbird outermost rectrices is six to seven in long, for longer than its bearer’s body.  The female bird lack the elongated rectrices and largely white below.

Though, trailing behind the flying hummingbird like thin black streamers, these feathers make a humming sound. The bird feed is mainly nectar from flowers with the help of long extendable tongue or catch small insects on the wing. This is most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird. The male bird is 4.5 inches without streamers while crown and tail are black. The body is a bright iridescent green, however female’s crown neck and back are pale green. Moreover the lores are pale brown, the wings dark brown, and the tail black with outer feathers tipped with white. The underparts are white. The bill has a dark brown upper mandible and pinkish-brown lower mandible.

The bird voice is loud, metallic-sounding ‘ting, ting, ting’ repeated several times or a prolonged “tee-tee-tee…” often heard as a distress call. Normally bird nest is compact build with plant materials, spider web and camouflaged with lichens. The breeding season round the year however, October to March is the key months. The bird is most abundant in closed forest, but is a common garden bird and a popular garden-feeder species. The bird likes to eat nectar, spiders and small insects.   Source: Charismatic Planet

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