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Royal sunangel

Heliangelus regalis
Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)
Common name:
royal sunangel (en); beija-flor-real (pt); héliange royal (fr); colibrí real (es); blaue sonnennymphe (de)

Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

This species is only found in northern Peru, in Cordillera Azul, Cordillera de Colán and Cordillera del Cóndor.
They are 11-12 cm long and weigh 3,5-4,5 g.

The royal sunangel inhabits subtropical elfin forest edge and shrubbery, often in areas of regular fire disturbance. They are found at altitudes of 1.450-2.200 m.

They mostly eat nectar. Males seem to feed mostly on Brachyotum quinquenerve, and females feed mainly from Ericaceae flowers. They also eat small insects.
The royal sunangel breeds in July-September. The female lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-19 days. Chicks fledge 23-26 days after hatching.
IUCN status – EN (Endangered)
This species has a very small and severely fragmented range at only four locations. The population is currently estimated at just 2.500-10.000 individuals and suspected to be declining slowly, owing to on-going habitat destruction and alteration. Regular burning of páramo grasslands adjacent to the elfin forest, to promote the growth of fresh shoots for livestock, has lowered the tree-line by several hundred metres, and continues to destroy large areas of the species’s habitat. Also, most of the forests in the southern Cordillera de Colán have already disappeared, with the remnants being rapidly cleared for cash-crops, particularly marijuana and coffee.
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