Birds from the order Passeriformes are called oscines. Wondering what an 0scine means? It is the vernacular name for the songbird. It is derived from the Latin word ‘oscen’ meaning ‘a songbird’. The red-legged honeycreeper, Cyanerpes cyaneus (Linnaeus,1766), is a member of the passerine group of birds. The bird has 11 different subspecies recorded including C. c. carneipes, C. c. pacificus, C. c. gigas, C. c. gemmeus, C. c. eximius, C. c. tobagensis, C. c. cyaneus, C. c. dispar, C. c. violaceus, C. c. brevipes, and C. c. holti. Formerly described as the black and blue creeper, it was in 1766 that it was listed under its binomial name Certhia cyaneus. In 1899, the genus Cyanerpes was introduced by an American ornithologist. The species was placed under the genus Cyanerpes followed by a specific epithet ‘Cyaneus’ having a Latin origin meaning ‘dark-blue’.
The bird portrays sexual dimorphism as the male and female species are very different as they have varying plumage, bill, tail, legs, wings, and flight feathers. The birds have brightly colored plumage. While adult female birds and non-breeding males have a green plumage, the male has a black and violet-blue plumage during its breeding season. The male bird also has bright red legs and a turquoise-colored crown, while the red-legged honeycreeper juvenile is similar to the female red-legged honeycreeper with a greenish plumage. These birds range from southern Mexico to Peru, Bolivia, central Brazil, Trinidad, Tobago, extending to Ecuador and Cuba. The species range throughout South America, it is listed as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Red-Legged Honeycreeper Fun Facts
While males and females have a green plumage, the male red-legged honeycreeper breeding is recorded to have a bright blue-black plumage. The male birds are violet-blue with black wings, a tail, and a bill. The under-tail and underneath of red-legged honeycreeper wings are bright yellow or lemon. The male birds also have a turquoise crown on the head. The non-breeding male has a green plumage with black wings. Similarly, the female and the chicks are greenish with streaked underparts. Also, the tail and flight wing are brown in color. While the legs of the female are red-brown, the legs are slightly brown in the chick. The eyes are brown while the black slender bill is slightly decurved. The bright yellow wings and under-tail are only visible during the flight.
The red-legged honeycreeper bird has bright blue plumage with black wings and tail which are yellow underneath. The bird is a colorful species with bright red legs and black slender and slightly curved bill. Moreover, the blue males during the breeding season are a pleasant sight to catch and so are the birds in flight. The bright yellow wings and under-tail are visible in flight only. Moreover, the colorful birds found in groups are a treat to the eyes.
While the call sounds like ‘tsip’ or sharp ‘tsui’, the song is prolonged ‘tsip-tsip-tsip-chaa’. Though the bird belongs to the family of songbirds, the song is not as sweet as that of a nightingale as it is considered the pleasant melodic bird around the world.
The length of the bird ranges up to 4.8 in (12 cm), it is twice the size of the smallest bird around the world, a bee hummingbird with a maximum length of 2 in (6 cm).
The speed of the bird is unrecorded, while the red-legged honeycreeper is a pleasant sight to catch in flight.
The species weigh up to 0.5 oz (14 g).
While the species portray sexual dimorphism, these birds do not have different names highlighting their sex.
Baby birds are often called chicks, nestlings, fledglings, or hatchings.
While the diet of an ostrich is quite strange as it is recorded to consume an alarm clock, handkerchief, rope, pencil, and other weird stuff, the diet of the red-legged honeycreeper comprises nectar of flowers, fruits, and insects.
No, the red-legged honeycreeper does not possess any sort of danger. It is recorded as one of the most social species around the world.
While the birds are peaceful and have a friendly temperament, they make good pets but are advised to be kept free.
Did You Know…
Males are more brightly colored than females.
Formerly, it was called a blue and black creeper. Now, it has 11 subspecies recorded so far.
Why Is It Called A Honeycreeper?
Honeycreeper defines bright-colored oscine birds around the world. The honeycreepers mainly feed upon nectar being called sugarbirds also. More specifically, the red-legged honeycreeper is known by the name highlighting its bright red legs. It also has several vernacular names in different languages like guit-guit saï in French.
Is A Red-Legged Honeycreeper A Hummingbird?
While the honeycreepers are genealogically related to hummingbirds, the species have quite a few similar characteristics. However, a red-legged honeycreeper cannot be considered a hummingbird.