The Juan Fernández Firecrown is only found on one island, 700km off the coast of Chile.
The males of this species have a rich chestnut colour, with beautiful, flashing iridescent feathers on his crown and forehead. Females also model the iridescent head plumage, but with blue and green body, contrasting with a white breast. This crown is flashed at intruders during territorial disputes. Interestingly, unlike most other birds which have a 1:1 sex ratio, the sex ratio in this species is heavily skewed. There are three males to every female, and this could be as a result of intense intra and interspecies competition over access to flowers for food. This species is part of the Trochilidae hummingbird family, which diverged from all other species 26 million years ago. The major threats to this species are clearance and degradation of vegetation by humans and also the impact of herbivorous mammals, which limits the availability, quantity and quality of food sources. Predation from introduced animals has also been a problem for this species. There are conservation actions underway as the Juan Fernández islands were designated as a national park and became protected areas. They are now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and also nominated for World Heritage listing. There are also two island residents who act as project coordinators to control invasive plants and herbivores. The population of this species is now monitored.
- Order: Caprimulgiformes
- Family: Trochilidae
- Population: 740
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 13cm
The species is found on the Juan Fernández islands, Chile.
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in native forests, as its breeding is entirely dependent on native plant communities. However, it uses non-native plants for feeding during the non-breeding season. It is mainly nectarivorous (eats nectar) but small insects are taken from leaves or in flight.