Coquettes (Lophornis) are small hummingbirds with a white band across the rump; male coquettes also usually have ornamental plumes on the head and neck. The male Tufted Coquette is mostly green, with a bright orange crest and orange tufts with green tips that extend outward from the sides of the head. The female lacks the crest and plumes; the upperparts are green and the throat is rufous, with a paler rufous belly. Coquettes have a slow, weaving flight, and in flight resemble a heavy-bodied bee.
The Tufted Coquette is one of six species of Lophornis in which the male has a rufous crest, but most of these species do not overlap. Spangled Coquette (Lophornis stictolophus) occurs in northwestern Venezuela; the crest of male Spangled is longer, and the crest feathers are tipped with green, and Spangled also lacks plumes on the side of the head. Female Spangled Coquette has a rufous crown, and little or no rufous on the throat.
Compare to other small, white-rumped hummingbirds, such as Festive Coquette (Lophornis chalybeus), Black-bellied Thorntail (Discosura langsdorfii), and Racquet-tailed Coquette (Discosura longicauda).
Small hummingbird with a short bill.
Adult male: The male has a bright orange crest. A "tuft" of elongated feathers, bright orange with green tips, protrudes from each cheek. The forecrown, sides of the head, nape, and back fluorescent green; there is a white bar across the rump. Throat a slightly more intense green. Both the wings and tail are a dark purplish black, but the feathers on the underside of the tail are rufous.
Adult female: The female lacks the ornamental crest and plumes of the male. The throat is rufous, with a paler rufous belly.
Immature: Males are similar to adult females but the throat may be spotted with blackish.
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Bill: reddish with a black tip (Hilty 2003)
Total length: 6.6 cm (Hilty 2003)
Wing length: male, mean 39.6 mm (range 39-40 mm, n = 5); female mean 38.5 mm (range 37-39 mm, n =4) (ffrench 1993)
Bill length: 10 mm (Hilty 2003)
Mass: 1 male 2.25 g; 2 females, 2.75 g (ffrench 1993)