The iridescence of the Blue-chinned Sapphire can captivate anyone – from the avid bird watcher to the curious young child. As a member of the Trochilidae (Hummingbird) family, it is small, quick, and beautiful of course. The green feathers on its upper body glisten in the sunlight, contrasting with its dark blue tail. In the right lighting, it transforms into a brilliant subject to photograph, and the careful eye may even spot its namesake blue ‘chin’.
This species, which is common in Trinidad forests, is also found in northern South America, including the Brazilian Amazon. The feather-covered gem feeds on nectar and only occasionally eats insects. At our own Springhill Estate, it is regularly seen feasting on the nectar of the Vervine (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) plants in front of the verandah but it feeds on all types of plants – large and small trees (e.g. Ryania speciosa or Bois L’agli), shrubs or herbaceous plants.
This hummingbird breeds from February to June and normally nests about two to five metres above ground. It makes large, deep cup nests out of plant down and decorates them with lichen. Although not easily heard, the song of the Blue-chinned Sapphire is a set of fast metallic notes of ‘ssssoo, sssoo’. Despite its 0.0889 metres in length, the Blue-chinned Sapphire remains a shining example of the avian fauna that can be seen at the Asa Wright Nature Centre.
– J.L. Ryan
- Hilty, Steven L. Birds of Venezuela. 2003.
- ffrench, Richard. Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 1991