Information about the Bird Racket-tailed Coquette
The racket-tailed coquette (Discosura longicaudus; sometimes Discosura longicauda) is a species of hummingbird in the family Trochilidae native to northern South America.
German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin described the racket-tailed coquette in 1788. Its species name is from the Latin words longus "long" and cauda "tail". It is sometimes considered to be the only member of the genus Discosura, as the thorntails, the other possible members of the genus, are often placed in the genus Popelairia.
Martin Johnson Heade depicted two coquettes in his painting Two Green-Breasted Hummingbirds (c.-1863), as part of his "Gems of Brazil".
The species weighs about 3.4 grams (0.12oz) and is sexually dimorphic. The male is around 10.2 centimetres (4.0in) long and has a distinctive brilliant green head and throat with a copper-coloured abdomen. The dark purple-brown tail is 5.1 centimetres (2.0in) long, and forked, with two very long prongs, ending with a pair of round paddle- ("racket") shaped feathers. The female is shorter with a length of 6.9 centimetres (2.7in). It has duller green upperparts and breast, black throat bordered by white and a white belly. Its tail is grey tipped with white, and lacks "rackets".
The racket-tailed coquette has a wide distribution range; it is found in northern Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and southern Venezuela. It is also found on the eastern tip of Brazil Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, as well as riparian forests and scrubby savannahs.
Racket-tailed coquettes typically gather in the canopy of hapaxanth trees with other hummingbirds and steal other larger hummingbirds' nectar. They are consequently chased by the larger birds.
They build their cup-sized nests out of soft plants and down 3-6 metres (9.8-19.7ft) up a tree. Females usually have a clutch of two eggs, which are incubated for 13-14 days.
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