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Juan Fernandez Firecrown Sephanoides fernandensis

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

In a family of gorgeous looking birds, the Juan Fernandez Firecrown does stand out in being one of the few largely reddish hummingbirds. It also sports its “gorget” on the crown, not the throat, similar to its more common and widespread relative the Green-backed Firecrown (Sephanoides sephanoides). While the males are entirely brick red; the females are green above, with an iridescent blue crown patch, white below with round greenish spots, and largely white tail. The two sexes are so dissimilar, and since the female does have a flash color on the crown, they were initially described as members of separate species. This hummingbird has large and strong feet that are used to cling to flowers, particularly in areas buffeted by onshore winds on this temperate island. Currently the Juan Fernandez Firecrown is restricted to Robinson Crusoe Island in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, although there is controversy over whether it ever existed on Alexander Selkirk as well. The species is listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN, recent population estimates suggest that up to 3000 may exist. They are under threat due to expansion of invasive plant species, cats, and to some extent competition with the sympatric Green-backed Firecrown.

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© Fabrice Schmitt

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

Recommended Citation

Juan Fernandez Firecrown (Sephanoides fernandensis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: