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The Marvellous Spatuletail

The nature’s most beautiful bird is The Marvellous Spatuletail “Loddigesia Mirabilis” is just a 15cm long bird. The medium size hummingbird adorned with different colors, white green and bronze with blue crest feathers, and a brilliant turquoise gorget and black line on its white underparts. The bird is sexually dimorphic and only member of the monotypic genus Loddigesia. This bird can be found at the forest edges of Rio Utcubamba region in Peru. This Peruvian endemic bird was first discovered in 1835 by the bird collector Andrew Matthews for George Loddiges, after whom the genus is named. The bird is extremely unique in just having four feathers in its tail. However, male bird is having two long racquet-shaped outer tail feathers that cross each other and end in large violet-blue discs or “spatules”. The breeding season starts from late October to early May, which coincides with rainy season. 

The marvellous spatuletail is unique among birds in having just four feathers in its tail. Its most remarkable feature is the male's two long racquet-shaped outer tail feathers that cross each other and end in large violet-blue discs or "spatules". The marvellous spatuletail bird can move them independently. The population of Marvellous Spatuletail in limited numbers and it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  The population is estimated to fall between 300 to 1000 mature individuals and equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals. Another threat to this species is hunting by locals, who believe that the male marvellous spatuletail’s heart is an aphrodisiac and this may account for the skewed sex ratio in this species, as adult males are habitually killed with slingshots and so are greatly outnumbered by females and immature males. 

The bird call has been described as a thin, sweet, rising ‘wsst’, however displaying to the female the male marvellous spatuletail produces a snapping sound. The Marvellous Spatuletail has been featured in the PBS TV series Nature and the BBC TV. The BBC camera team was also the first to record the male marvellous spatuletail hummingbird displaying to a female, and his whole mating display from start to finish. The male marvellous spatuletail displays to a female by hovering in front of her, waving his tail feathers. Therefore, the courtship display of the male Marvellous Spatuletail is so energetically demanding that it can only be performed for very short periods. The Marvellous Spatuletail feeds consist on nectar, red-flowered lily, Bomarea formosissima. This is a solitary bird for most of the year, and moves around continually throughout the day, flying through dense thickets faster and with greater maneuverability than other hummingbirds.

Therefore, in 2006 American Bird Conservancy provided support to protect and manage 100 acres of significant habitat for jewel of this bird. They’ve planed more than 30,000 saplings of native trees and bushes to increase the bird’s numbers, which is best of its in Peru. The Marvellous Spatuletail hummingbird is among the rarest and striking of birds and uncommon due to its extreme mating behavior. The bird body size is slightly fluffy ping-pong ball, and beak in the size of matchstick. Source: Charismatic Planet

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