The Green-fronted Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) is a large (~11 to 13 cm) hummingbird that is found from Costa Rica south to western Ecuador. Geographic variation across this range has led to the recognition of several subspecies. The Green-fronted Brilliant is locally common in Costa Rica and Panama (much less common and more local in Colombia), occurring in the mid-understory up to the canopy of wet subtropical and cloud forest as well as in adjacent semi-open and old second growth in mountains and foothills (from several hundred to 2000 m). These hummingbirds frequently take nectar from the pipe-shaped inflorescence bracts of Marcgravia and from Heliconia, as well as from other epiphytes in the Ericaceae and Gesneriaceae and from flowering shrubs such as Drymonia and Cephaelis. These birds typically perch on the inflorescence when feeding from flowers. Males may defend large clumps of Marcgravia or Heliconia. Insects and spiders are captured both from the air and by foliage gleaning. In Costa Rica, at least, the Green-fronted Brilliant is a seasonal altitudinal migrant, with most of the population moving to lower elevations outside the breeding season, sometimes to as low as 100 m. (Stiles and Skutch 1989; Schuchmann 1999 and references therein) Despite the relative abundance of this bird in Costa Rica, the first known Green-fronted Brilliant nest in Costa Rica was not discovered until 1999, resulting in the first published description of the nest of this species (Sánchez et al 2000).
Habitat and Ecology
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Heliodoxa jacula
There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank. Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species. See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Heliodoxa jacula
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2008Least Concern
- 2004Least Concern
This hummingbird inhabits wet mountain forests including edges, gaps and tall second growth. It occurs typically between 700 m and 2000 m in altitude, mainly on the Caribbean slopes.
The nest is a bulky cup of plant fibres and scales of tree ferns saddled on a thin downsloping branch. The female alone incubates the two white 16.5 mm by 11 mm eggs .
The male Green-crowned Brilliant is 13 cm long and weighs 9.5 g. It is mainly bronze-green with a glittering green crown, forehead, throat and breast. It has a white spot behind the eye, a small violet throat patch, white thighs, and a deeply forked blue-black tail.
The female is 12 cm long and weighs 8 g. She differs from the male in that she has green-spotted white underparts, a white spot behind the eye and a white stripe below the eye, and a white-cornered shallowly-forked black tail.. Young birds resemble the adult of the same sex, but are duller, bronze-tinged below and have buff throats.
The Green-crowned Brilliant has a loud squeaky kyew call.
This hummingbird feeds at the large inflorescences of Marcgravia vines, which the male will sometimes defend. It will also feed at Heliconia and other large flowers. Unlike many hummingbirds, the Green-crowned Brilliant almost always perches to feed.
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- Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
^ Julio E. Sánchez, Robert S. Mulvihill & Terry L. Master First description of the nest and eggs of the Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula), with behavioral notes; Ornitologia Neotropical 11: 189–196, 2000