Taxonomy and systematicsEdit
The golden-bellied starfrontlet and most other members of genus Coeligena were at one time placed in genus Helianthea but have been in their current placement since the mid-1900s. The International Ornithological Committee (IOC) and the Clements taxonomy recognize three subspecies, the nominate C. b. bonapartei, C. b. consita, and C. b. eos. However, BirdLife International's Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) treats them as three separate species, the golden-bellied, Perija, and golden starfrontlets respectively. The South American Classification Committee of the American Ornithological Society (SACC) uses the three-subspecies model but has requested a proposal to elevate the three to species status.
The nominate subspecies of golden-bellied starfrontlet is about 10.9 to 11.4 cm (4.3 to 4.5 in) long including its 3.0 to 3.3 cm (1.2 to 1.3 in) bill. Males weigh an average of 6.6 g (0.23 oz) and females 6.4 g (0.23 oz). Both sexes have a white spot behind the eye. Males have a blackish crown with a glittering green forehead. Their upper back is shining dark green that transitions through greenish copper to the golden orange rump. The throat and breast are glittering green and the throat has a small violet patch. The rest of the underparts are variable, from glittering copper to reddish gold. The slightly forked tail is golden bronzy green. The nominate female's forehead is plain green; the rest of the upperparts are colored like the male's but are duller. The throat is plain buff and has green spots on its sides. The breast is mottled buff and green. The rest of the underparts are mostly cinnamon with a reddish gold belly and a coppery gold vent area. The tail feathers are bronze and sometimes have buff tips.
Males of subspecies C. b. eos have a coppery brown, not green, sheen on the upper back and belly. The throat patch is violet blue and the breast and sides of the neck are golden green. It has cinnamon secondary feathers that show as a patch on the folded wing. Its tail is cinnamon with green tips. Males of C. b. consita also have cinnamon secondaries, though the patch is smaller, and the tail is entirely green.
Distribution and habitatEdit
The nominate subspecies of golden-bellied starfrontlet is found in the Eastern Andes of Colombia between Boyacá Department and the Metropolitan Area of Bogotá. C. b. eos is found in the Andes of western Venezuela. C. b. consita is found in the Serranía del Perijá that straddles the border between northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. (The map shows only the range of the nominate.)
The species primarily inhabits the interior and edges of humid montane forest. It also occurs in dwarf forest and more open landscapes with scattered vegetation. In elevation it ranges from 1,400 to 3,200 m (4,600 to 10,500 ft).
Though the golden-bellied starfrontlet's movements have not been fully defined, the Venezuelan population apparently moves to higher elevation during the rainy season.
The golden-bellied starfrontlet gathers nectar from tubular flowers, usually of medium height to tall bushes. It primarily feeds by trap-lining, visiting a circuit of flowering plants. In addition to feeding on nectar it captures small arthropods by gleaning from foliage, hovering, and by hawking.
The golden-bellied starfrontlet's breeding season is not known in detail but appears to span from January to possibly July. Its nest, eggs, incubation length, and time to fledging have not been described.
Few recordings of the golden-bellied starfrontlet are available. Its vocalizations are known to include "a short twitter and a more complex chatter that rises and falls in pitch."
The IUCN follows HBW taxonomy and so has assessed the three subspecies of golden-bellied starfrontlet separarately. The nominate subspecies and C. b. eos are assessed as being of Least Concern. Their population sizes are not known and are thought to be decreasing. Subspecies C. b. consita (the "Perija" starfrontlet) is considered Endangered. Its population is estimated at between 250 and 1000 mature individuals and is decreasing. Its habitat has been depleted and fragmented by clearing for colonization, ranching, mining, and illegal poppy cultivation.
Like almost all hummingbirds, the golden-bellied starfrontlet is included in CITES Appendix II.
- BirdLife International (2016). "Golden-bellied Starfrontlet Coeligena bonapartei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T61172969A95165329. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T61172969A95165329.en. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
- BirdLife International (2016). "Golden Starfrontlet Coeligena eos". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T61173059A95165504. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T61173059A95165504.en. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
- BirdLife International (2020). "Perija Starfrontlet Coeligena consita". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T61173094A180037357. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T61173094A180037357.en. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
- Gill, F.; Donsker, D.; Rasmussen, P., eds. (January 2022). "Hummingbirds". IOC World Bird List. v 12.1. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
- HBW and BirdLife International (2020) Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world Version 5. Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/Taxonomy/HBW-BirdLife_Checklist_v5_Dec20.zip [.xls zipped 1 MB] retrieved 27 May 2021
- Remsen, J. V., Jr., J. I. Areta, E. Bonaccorso, S. Claramunt, A. Jaramillo, D. F. Lane, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, and K. J. Zimmer. Version 31 January 2022. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithological Society. https://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm retrieved February 1, 2022
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/ Retrieved August 25, 2021
- Beolen, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2004). Whose Bird? Common Bird Names and the People They Commemorate. Yale University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-300-10359-X.
- Palacios, C. (2020). Golden-bellied Starfrontlet (Coeligena bonapartei), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.gobsta1.01 retrieved 2 May 2022
- "Appendices | CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 2022-01-14.