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Black-throated Flowerpiercer Diglossa brunneiventris



Distinguishing Characteristics

Diglossa brunneiventris is the scientific name for the Black-throated Flowerpiercer, a South American bird belonging to the tanagers found along the Andes at varying altitudes. The Spanish name is Pinchaflor gargantinegra or Comesebo negro, which translates to black-throated flowerpecker and black tallow eater respectively. The Black-throated Flowerpiercer receives its name due to its black-colored throat and the fact that it includes nectar in its diet, but in contrast with the hummingbird, the Black-throated Flowerpiercer is not a obligate nectivore. In order to access the nectar, it rips open the base of the flower and eats the nectar without contribution to pollination (Mauck and Burns 2009). Both male and female have rufous malar stripe and underparts with gray flanks and rump (clements), pale supercilious an black wings, black throat patch, and a hooked bill (Jaramillo 2003).

Detailed Description

Both male and females have a rufous malar stripe, rufous underparts with gray flanks and gray rump (Clements et al. 2001) a hook at the tip of the bill with an upturned lower mandible, pale supercilium, blackish wings and grey lesser coverts with a black throat patch and black crown (Jaramillo 2003). Side of head, and most upper parts, marginal coverts and lesser upperwing-coverts, are pale bluish-grey that forms a small triangular patch on shoulder that could be hidden by the scapulars (Hilty 2011). The scapular varies and is usually a pale gray color surrounded by big rufous submoustachial stripe, with rufous underparts (Hilty et al. 2011). Juvenile is dusky olivaceous-brown above with a dusky streak and cinnamon colored wing bars and wing edgings have a narrow gray pale wing bar with grayish brown above. Belly and vent are cinnamon (Jaramillo 2003). Malar stripe is indistinct and underparts are bulkier (Schulenberg 2007). Tips of wing-coverts and edges of tertials are cinnamon-brown, underparts more uniform and tinge olivaceous, with a pale bill (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Sometimes the malar stripe can be whitish or grayish in color. Intermediate plumages are frequent (Restall and Rodner 2006). The tongue is flattened horizontally for the proximal two thirds, and subsequently divides in two at the distal end. Each individual part is frilled at the tip and has a ventral groove that collides into one at the junction of the two-part separation (Mauck and Burns 2009). The sexes are similar in appearance (Hilty 2011). The species is dichromatic, however, when quantified using a model of avian vision (Burns and Shultz 2012). Thus, these tanagers visually can distinguish between males and females, but humans are unable to see these differences..


Tanagers that have been studied have either a Complex Basic Strategy or Complex AlternativeStrategy (Ryder and Wolfe 2009). However, most tanagers only molt once a year (Isler and Isler 1987), and this prebasic molt likely occurs after the breeding season (Isler and Isler 1987, Ryder and Wolfe 2009). Many species have been found to breed in subadult plumage (Isler and Isler1987). Although a juvenile plumage is described for Black-throated Flowerpiercer (Jaramillo 2003), more specific information on molt and its timing is not available for this species.

Bare Parts

Iris and bill are black; tarsus and toes are dark gray (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990)

Recommended Citation

Black-throated Flowerpiercer (Diglossa brunneiventris), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: