BIRD OF THE WEEK — BLUE-THROATED HILLSTAR — PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD group

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BIRD OF THE WEEK

BLUE-THROATED HILLSTAR

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus
POPULATION: 250-750 individuals
IUCN STATUS: Likely warrants Critically Endangered status.
TREND: Unknown; probably decreasing.
HABITAT: High-altitude grassland with patches of flowering shrubs.

The beautiful Blue-throated Hillstar was discovered in 2017 and officially described a year later. It’s only found on a few mountains in southwestern Ecuador, particularly the Cerro de Arcos (“Hill of Arches”). At over 12,000 feet, the hillstar’s windswept habitat, known as páramo, is a unique ecosystem of boggy grass and shrublands, studded with evergreen plants, mosses, and cacti.

Like other high-elevation hummingbirds, such as the Rainbow-bearded Thornbill and Glittering Starfrontlet, the Blue-throated Hillstar manages to thrive in a cold, oxygen-reduced environment.

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