I’ve often thought that I’d like to have a tail. Maybe in another life I’ll get one as outrageous as the Marvelous Spatuletail. Via Marvelous Spatuletail | American Bird Conservancy
This hummingbird—like so many of South America’s hundreds of hummingbird species—has a name that is both charming and descriptive. The male’s unique tail features two long, wire-like outer feathers ending in bluish-purple disks. The birds wave these spatules around during communal courtship displays, which females visit to select a mate.
The species occurs only in the Rio Utcubamba Valley, in the Andes of northern Peru.
Here, in a bid to prevent the species’ extinction, ABC and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) helped establish the Huembo Reserve in 2005.
Since the Marvelous Spatuletail is so rare, it has been classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature; it’s also considered an Alliance for Zero Extinction species.
The main threat to the spatuletail is habitat destruction, caused by illegal wood-cutting and burning for agriculture. Other threats include illegal hunting and invasive plants, which crowd out native flowering plants that provide food.