Saturday, September 10, 2011

Late nesting of Buff-bellied Hummingbird

While birding the area near the Pronatura River of Raptors observation tower in Chichicaxtle this morning, Pablo Camacho and I found a female Buff-bellied Hummingbird - incubating! According to Howell & Webb (1995), the nesting period for the eastern Mexico population is April to July, while the Yucatan population breeds February to April.

Buff-bellied Hummingbird occurs in coastal Texas, where it appears to be expanding its range (Lockwood & Freeman 2004). According to the BNA account, breeding takes place in south Texas between mid-March (first eggs) to early October (last fledglings), with the majority of fledglings around between late May and late August (Chavez-Ramirez & Moreno-Valdez 1999). These authors mention two nestlings observed in October in south Texas, suggesting that eggs were laid in September. Our bird is nesting late, but not unheard-of late.

It's nesting in someone's yard, at the edge of the baseball field that we look on to from the hawk observation tower. I'll be sure to check in from time to time, to get a sense of when the eggs will hatch, and when the young will fledge. Let's hope the nest survives tropical storm Nate, scheduled to make landfall here in Veracruz tonight.

Cited literature:
Chavez-Ramirez, Felipe and Arnulfo Moreno-Valdez. 1999. Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:
Howell, S. N. G. and S. Webb. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, UK.
Lockwood, Mark. & Brush Freeman. 2004. The TOS handbook of Texas birds. Texas A&M University press.

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