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Chilean Woodstar Eulidia yarrellii

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  • Chilean Woodstar male
  • © José Cañas A.

The male Chilean Woodstar is a tiny little green backed hummingbird with a red and blue throat gorget, and a scissor-shaped black tail. It is the species in the southern cone of South America which has the most restricted range of any bird! It is currently known largely from two narrow oasis valleys in northern Chile. Previously it was reported from Peru, but there are no recent records from there, making it functionally a Chilean endemic at this time. It was historically common, and even in the 1980s it was readily found in the city of Arica in northern Chile, where it is now absent. As this species has declined the population of the similarly sized Peruvian Sheartail (Thaumastura cora) has increased. This has led to blaming the sheartail for the decline of the woodstar although it may or may not be a coincidental correlation. The use of pesticides has also been blamed on the decline of the woodstar, although it may be that re-planting of native vegetation needs to be encouraged at the edges of cultivated land in these heavily impacted desert valleys to bring back the woodstar. Currently the Chilean Woodstar’s center of abundance keeps creeping farther and farther up each valley, and there is a limit to how far up they can go. The species is Chile’s smallest bird, and the one with the largest problem. It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-breeding

Recommended Citation

Chilean Woodstar (Eulidia yarrellii), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/chiwoo1