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Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla

Christopher J. Clark
Version: 1.0 — Published February 10, 2011

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The natural history of the Scintillant Hummingbird is poorly known, in contrast with its North American relatives. In 2009, Scintillant readily visited feeders at the Savegre Hotel in San Gerardo de Dota, adjacent to the Quetzal Education and Research Center (QERC) in Costa Rica. Feeder use makes capturing birds with feeder traps feasible, so reasonable sample sizes for some types of studies should be possible. As the Rufous (Selasphorus rufus), Allen’s (Selasphorus sasin), Calliope (Stellula calliope), and Broad-tailed (Selasphorus platycercus) hummingbirds are well studied, the Scintillant has the potential to be included in comparative studies. The North American taxa are latitudinal migrants whereas the Scintillant is an elevational migrant, for example.

Ecologically the Scintillant appears similar to its sister species, with the possible exception of the role of food plants on the breeding territories that males hold. Clark et al. (2011) suggested that male Scintillant are more reliant on food resources than is the Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula), and that a comparison of the role of food resources in the mating system would be interesting.

The phylogeography of Selasphorus merits further analysis. S. scintilla is phenotypically similar to and allopatric with S. sasin, S. rufus, and S. ardens (Glow-throated Hummingbird). But the phylogenetic placement of S. flammula, S. platycercus, S. calliope and Atthis spp are unclear. Further phylogeographic studies that incorporate multiple tissue samples from multiple populations of all of these studies is warranted. To this end, additional collecting of Scintillant Hummingbirds across its range may be necessary.

Recommended Citation

Clark, C. J. (2011). Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.scihum1.01