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Olivaceous thornbill

Chalcostigma olivaceum

Photo by Steve Arlow (Neotropical Birds)

Common name:
olivaceous thornbill (en); colibri-oliváceo (pt); métallure olivâtre (fr); colibrí oliváceo (es); braunes glanzschwänzchen (de)

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This species is patchily distributed along the high Andes of southern Peru and northern Bolivia, from the Cordillera Blanca south to La Paz.

These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 6,5-9 g.

The olivaceous thornbill is mostly found in puna grasslands and around cushion plants, also using low scrublands and the edges of dense PolylepisGynoxys woodlands. They are only found at altitudes of 3.100-4.700 m.

They eat both nectar and small arthropods, being known to visit prostrate red flowers such as Gentianella sp. and possibly Castilleja sp.

Olivaceous thornbills breed in January-May. Males are territorial and possibly have little part in the breeding process after mating. The female lays 2 eggs which she incubates alone. There is no available information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range but is described as uncommon or rare. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats

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