The Ruby Topaz Hummingbird Visiting Tobago
101 Things To Do in Tobago Birdwatching Experiences #TobagoBeyond
The ruby-topaz hummingbird (Latin name: Chrysolampis mosquitus), often referred to simply as the ruby topaz, is a small bird that breeds in the Lesser Antilles and tropical northern South America from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, south to central Brazil and northern Bolivia; also from Colombia into southern Panama.
And now also to be seen in Tobago! This tiny bird the only member of the genus Chrysolampis. It is a seasonal migrant, although its movements are not well understood. Thus if you are in Tobago in the right season, we recommend every bird lover to take their opportunity to enjoy the moment during bird watching. You might end up seeing this beautiful creature.
The Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird Appearance
This Ruby Topaz hummingbird likes open land, gardens, and cultivation. Its size is about 8,1 cm long and weighs approximately 3,5 gram. Compared to most other hummingbirds, the almost straight, black bill is relatively short. The male has green-glossed dark brown upperparts. The crown and nape are glossy red, and the throat and breast are brilliant golden-orange. The rest of the underparts are brown, and the chestnut tail is tipped black. The male often looks very dark, until he turns and the brilliant colors flash in the sunlight.
The female ruby-topaz hummingbird has bronze-green upperparts and pale grey underparts. The tail is chestnut with a dark subterminal band and a white tip. Females from Trinidad typically have a greenish throat-streak (it may appear dark), but this is not common elsewhere in its range. Juvenile females are similar to adult females, but with a white-tipped dusky-brown tail. Juvenile males resemble the juvenile female, but with a variable amount of iridescent orange to the throat.
Nesting and Food
The ruby-topaz hummingbird lays two eggs in a tiny cup nest in the fork of a low branch. Incubation takes 16 days and fledging another 18 or 19. During one of our Rain Forrest Hiking Experience, our Guide was able to spot a nest and it is amazing how tiny the nest was. Viewing it from a distance (Do NOT disturb any birds nest if there any eggs or hatchlings) we could see the parent bird patiently sitting on the tiny nest. It could be the size of a golf ball!
The food of this species is nectar, taken from a wide variety of flowers, and some small insects. Like most hummingbirds, the Ruby-topaz hummingbird males perch conspicuously and defend their territories aggressively.
Bird Watching in Tobago
One of the many things we recommend all visitors to do is bird watching. Tobago offers the most birds per square kilometers/miles. Thus, creating a good chance to see some tropical birds. The rainforest is protected, and we recommend to have a Certified Guide when doing a Rain Forest Tour or Birdwatching Session. Birdwatching happens early in the morning or in the afternoon. Please contact us if you are interested in this unique experience!