Slaty flowerpiercer

Slaty flowerpiercer
Diglossa plumbea

Photo by Jerry Oldenettel (Wikipedia)

Common name:
slaty flowerpiercer (en); fura-flor-ardósia (pt); percefleur ardoisé (fr); pinchaflor plomizo (es); einfarb-hakenschnabel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

This species is found in the mountain ranges of central Costa Rica and western Panama.

These birds are 10 cm long and weigh 9 g.

The slaty flowerpiercer is mostly found in high-altitude moist tropical scrublands, but also in in clearing and along the edges of mountain tropical forests, second growths and arable land. They are present at altitudes of 1.200-3.300 m.

They feed mainly on the nectar of various scrubs and epiphytes, namely Ericaceae. Unlike hummingbirds and other nectar feeders, they piercing the base of the flower to get to the nectar, thus not pollinating the plants in most cases. They also catch small insects among the foliage, namely flies, wasps, beetles and caterpillars.

Slaty flowerpiercers breed in August-March. The nest is a large cup made of moss, dead leaves and other coarse plant fibres, and lined with finer fibres. It is placed in a dense scrub, up to 4 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 pale blue eggs with brown speckles, which she incubated for 12-14 days. The is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively small and patchy breeding range but is described as common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and their mountainous distribution suggests they could suffer impacts from climate change in the future. Despite this, the slaty flowerpiercer is not considered threatened at present.

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