shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus)

The shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) is a small bird in the tanager family. It is found in the tropical New World in Central America from southern Mexico to Panama and northwest Colombia. It is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the purple honeycreeper (C. caeruleus), but the two species breed sympatrically in eastern Panama and northwest Colombia.

This is a forest canopy species, but also occurs in forest edges and secondary growth. The female builds a shallow cup nest in a tree, and incubates the clutch of two eggs.

The shining honeycreeper is 10 cm long, weighs 11 g and has a long black decurved bill. The male is purple-blue with black wings, tail and throat, and bright yellow legs. The female has green upperparts, a greenish-blue head, buff throat and buff-streaked bluish underparts. The immature is similar to the female, but is greener on the head and breast.

The call of this honeycreeper is a thin high-pitched seee, and the male’s song is a pit pit pit pit pit-pit repeated for minutes at a time.

This species is very similar to the purple honeycreeper, but the male of the latter species is overall slightly darker and its black throat patch is smaller. Unlike the female shining honeycreeper, the female purple honeycreeper has buff (not dusky) lores and, except for its malar, no clear blue tinge to the head.

The shining honeycreeper is easily distinguished from the larger red-legged honeycreeper with which its shares its range by the latter species’ red legs and, in the male, black mantle.

The shining honeycreeper is usually found in pairs or family groups. It feeds on nectar, berries and insects, mainly in the canopy. It responds readily to the call of the ferruginous pygmy owl.

Main food taken: Shining Honeycreepers feed on a variety of fruit and insects and on nectar. Of 16 observations in Panama, 44% were fruit-eating, 37% insect-searching, and 19% at flowers (Greenberg 1981). Fruits consumed by Shining Honeycreepers include the arils of Dipterodendron elegans (Skutch 1972); the seeds of Clusia (Skutch 1972); and the fruit of Spondias edulis (Isler and Isler 1999). They visit feeding tables for bananas, especially during rainy periods (Skutch 1972).

Food capture and consumption: Perches behind and above flowers, and then leans forward to insert the bill for nectar and/or small insects. Gleans arthropods from vines and twigs while perched, or by hanging. Also sallies for flying insects, and probes small curled dead leaves (Skutch 1972, Isler and Isler 1999). They also hover first and then cling before searching for scars and knotholes (Slud 1964).


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shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus)

shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus)

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