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The Violet-ears are hummingbirds in the genus Colibri. They are medium to large species found in the highlands and mountains of Central and northern South America.
Violet-ears have ample rounded tails and short or medium bills. Three of the species have mainly green plumage. The males have a violet patch running back and down from the eye, which is erected when they are excited, and a glittering throat patch. The female plumage is generally like the male’s, but the ear and throat patches are smaller
One species, the Green Violet-ear, although a resident breeder in Central America and the Andes, shows seasonal movements and wanders to the United States and even Canada.
Violet-ears build substantial cup nests into which two white eggs are laid. They have loud persistent songs, often repetitions of double notes.
These birds come readily to artificial nectar feeders, and show no fear of humans. They are aggressively territorial, and spent much of their time at feeders or flowering shrubs chasing other hummingbirds with their ear patches erect, rather than feeding.
- Brown Violet-ear, Colibri delphinae
- Green Violet-ear, Colibri thalassinus
- Sparkling Violet-ear, Colibri coruscans
- White-vented Violet-ear, Colibri serrirostris
- Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
- Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-0814-9600-4