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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Lesser Violetear: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Find out interesting facts about the hovering lesser violetear hummingbird

The lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus crissalis) is a medium-sized hummingbird species that have vibrant metallic-green colors. These hummingbirds have many names. Names of this bird species in Spanish is oreja violeta menor. The lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus) and the Mexican lesser violetear (Colibri thalassinus crissalis) also known as oreja violeta were formerly thought to be of the same species and were named the 'green violetear' (Colibri cyanotus crissalis) back in the day. The lesser violetear can be found in Northern South America, Panama up to the forests of Costa Rica while the Mexican violetear oreja violeta can be found in Mexico to Nicaragua, and sometimes as far as North America, specifically the United States. The key difference is their location or in other words, bird distribution. Some are in South America, some are in North America. And some are found in the Andes, which are called Andean Lesser Violetear.

There are numerous hummingbirds species in this genus, so the names of each and the location is important in order to name these birds. There are currently three species of colibri violetears that are mostly green: C. coruscans (sparking violetear), C. thalassinus (green violetear), and C. serrirostris (white-vented violetear).

If you enjoy reading about the lesser violetear, you will love these facts about the swallow-tailed kite and eastern kingbird.

Lesser Violetear Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lesser violetear?

They are a type of hummingbird that has a violet-blue band on their body and they can be found in high elevation forests of Northern South America, Panama, Costa Rica, and some parts of North America.

What class of animal does a lesser violetear belong to?

The lesser violetear (Colibri Cyanotus) belongs to the Aves class, in the order of Apodiformes, and the genus Colibri. It is a bird.

How many lesser violetears are there in the world?

There are no official records about the global population of these birds.  Their range is very vast that's why it is hard to do a tally.

Where does a lesser violetear live?

The lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus) lives in the high lands of Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, and the Andes up until Bolivia.

What is a  lesser violetear's habitat?

Their habitat is in high-altitude forests  3,900-7,500 ft ( 1,200-2,300 m).  But sometimes, in search of food sources, these birds down as low as 1,600 ft (500 m).  The lesser violetear range map is mostly in the northern parts of South America, they can be seen in Panama, Costa Rica, Venezuela, to Bolivia. The  Mexican Violetear oreja violeta may sometimes reach North America, in the United States. Some of the members of the family like the white-vented violetear, C. Serrirostris, can be found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazel, and Paraguay.

Who do lesser violetears live with?

This bird species spends most of its days in solitude. They go to great lengths just to defend a feeding territory.

How long does a lesser violetear live?

There are no official records on what the lifespan of these birds is. However, hummingbirds may live about 6-12 years in the wild, and in captivity, they may reach up to 17 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

The green violetear or lesser violetear belongs to the hummingbird family and is a solitary nester. Breeding season starts for these birds during the wet season into the early dry season, which may differ depending on what latitude they are in. The female is in charge of determining a nesting site, usually on a low, horizontal branch that is covered. The male's only role in the reproduction process is to attract and mate with a female. The males will sit on top of a canopy and will be singing and calling every day until a mate is allured by its vocal tunes. The female then incubates the eggs on her own, and the males don't help raise the family.

What is their conservation status?

According to Birds of the World Organization, at the global level, the conservation status for the lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus crissalis) is Least Concern which means that their population status is stable. However, there are already two species of hummingbirds that are extinct. According to the IUCN, there are 11 species that are listed as Endangered and nine are Vulnerable. And there are three main threats against their existence: habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation.

Lesser Violetear Fun Facts

What do lesser violetears look like?

The green violetear has been split into the following species: Mexican vs lesser violetear. The lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus) is often confused with its subspecies. These birds look alike and have subtle differences, so you must know the bird distribution. These birds can be found in North America. The Mexican violetear (Colibri thalassinus) genus Colibri are subspecies that can be found from Mexico to Nicaragua. It is an annual visitor of the United States, specifically in Southern and Central Texas. And in some extreme cases, they even reach as far as Southern Canada. Most spends their time in Central America.

A lesser violetear feeding in its natural habitat.

How cute are they?

These bird species have very vibrant colors and these birds will put on a fight just to defend their feeding territory and their nest. This makes them pretty cute and appealing.

How do they communicate?

Birds in this family communicate through songs and calls. Generally, the higher the pitch and faster the beat, the more aggressive they are. Males usually display this when there are rival males in the area and when they are attracting a possible mate. Some females do so too, but when they are protecting a feeding area.

How big is a lesser violetear?

These are medium-sized hummingbirds. The average length for these birds is somewhere between 9.7-12 cm (3.8-4.7 in).

How fast can a lesser violetear fly?

These birds are extremely fast. In fact, a pair of these birds chasing each was clocked at a speed of 90 mph (140 kph) and is the fastest hummingbird ever recorded.

How much does a lesser violetear weigh?

This type of species is fairly light. They only weigh about 0.17-0.2 oz (4.8-5.6 g) which is why they are able to achieve great speeds.

What are the male and female names of the species?

These hummingbirds have no official names for both males and females. However, you may determine the sex of these birds through their actions. The males usually sing/call every day from the top and exposed branches of the canopies within their territory, they sing with a monotonous sharp beat at about one call per second.

What would you call a baby lesser violetear?

Baby lesser violetears are called Altricial.

What do they eat?

Around 90% of their diet revolves around nectar and 10% with insects such as flies, wasps, spiders, beetles, and ants, these are things that can definitely be found in their natural habitat.

Are they poisonous?

No, this species is not poisonous to humans. The tiny hair on their tongue is to help consume nectar efficiently.

Would they make a good pet?

The lesser violetear, Mexican violetear, and other species in this genus are best to be kept in the wild since they prefer high-elevation forests as their habitat.

Did you know...

They have really tiny feet, and because of this evolutionary trait, they are more adept at flying rather than walking, even if they are on the ground.

You may already know about the basic characteristics of the lesser violetears, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Researchers like Mo Hobbs and Thomas S. Schulenberg claim in the Birds Of The World website that there is still so much to learn about this bird, and there are still large information gaps on its history. Bird researchers like Mo Hobbs and Thomas S. Schulenberg will continue to do research on the lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus) in order to fill the gaps of its history.

Are lesser violetears endangered?

According to studies by Birds of the World Organization, they are not endangered. They were put as Least Concern on their conservation status which means that their population status is stable.

Why is the lesser violetear also called mountain violet-ear?

The lesser violetear got its name mountain violet-ear because these birds prefer to be living in high-elevation forests. Typically they dwell at around 3,900-7,500ft (1,200-2,300 m) above sea level. You may see them sometimes at 1,600 ft (500 m) but only to look for food. They dwell on high-altitude forests, as these birds like humid and high-elevation places, mainly because of their diet which is mostly revolving around nectar, like 90% of it. Plants that produce nectar are highly abundant in high-elevation areas. And they seem to be flocking in numbers around flowering trees, specifically coffee-shade Inga.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our eastern wood pewee facts and palm warbler facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Lesser violetear coloring pages.

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