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Red-legged honeycreeper

Cyanerpes cyaneus

Description: Males of this species have breeding plumage and an eclipse or basic plumage. The brilliant colors of the breeding season when attracting a mate are underparts that are a deep violet-blue, black wings and a turquoise crest. Bright yellow feathers are concealed under their wings that are visible when in flight. The basic plumage somewhat resembles that of the female with olive-green plumage, but the black tail and wings do not change. They are recognizable by their bright scarlet red legs and a long, sharp black bill that is slightly down curved. The eyes are brown, with black lores that extend around the eyes.

Size: They are approximately five inches (12 cm) in length and weigh between 0.4-0.6 ounce (11-18 gr).

Behavior: Red-legged honeycreepers are typically found in groups of 5-15 individuals but sometimes in larger groups up to 100. Pairs will split off during the breeding season. They are a bit aggressive, but normally the females have disputes. They are very active and are constantly moving about the forest canopy. They normally forage from mid- heights to the tree tops and rarely descend lower.

Diet: They eat fruits, flowers, insects and nectar.

Communication: They have two types of notes. One is high pitched and the other is a nasal mewing with a moderate pitch. They sing a monotonous song at dawn that will repeat for up to 20 minutes. They have also been noted to have a courtship song that is sung by the male in the presence of a female.

Reproduction: The nest is usually made of root fibers and slender stems and attached with a spider web to a branch. Usually two eggs are laid and they are a white or bluish with brown speckles. Incubation can last from 12-22 days and the female incubates alone. Both sexes help feed the nestlings.

Habitat/range: They are typically in flowering trees at the forest edge and in tall second growth, open woodland, and flowering shade trees of coffee plantations. They are found from Mexico to Southern Brazil.

Status: Listed as Least Concern by IUCN Red List.