Photo by Carlos Bethancourt
Fun fact: The definition in the dictionary for coquette is, “a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men”. But apparently not only women do this, because attention and admiration is all you feel when you see a male Rufous-crested Coquette!
This species is difficult to photograph because of its bee-like flight and because you don’t want to miss any of its beautiful ornaments in the photo! And despite its wide distribution in Panama, this is not a very common bird to spot. Rare in lowlands of both slopes (a bit more numerous on the Caribbean slope), they can be more commonly seen in the Panamanian highlands around 900 m (3000 ft). They can be found feeding on flowers located in forest edges, clearings and roadsides.
Males are conspicuous because of their elongated rufous crest. Females are distinguished by their tiny size, rufous forecrown and white band across the rump.
Little is known about the natural history, courtship behavior or breeding of this species. Therefore, every time we see one it is important to pay attention to its behavior and use of habitat, because even though this species’ conservation status given by the IUCN is Least Concern, learning about its behavior will help conserve its habitat, so we can keep spotting this astonishing hummingbird species.