Green Honeycreeper

By Erik Iverson

Scientific Name: Chlorophanes spiza

Where in the World?
The New World Tropics (Rainforests in Central and South America), from Mexico to Brazil

How Big?
13-14cm (5-5.5 in)
14-23 grams

What does it Eat?
Fruit, Nectar, and Insects

How Many?
Unknown, but the population is thought to be quite large and the bird is not considered endangered.

Green Honeycreeper. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
If you are ever lucky enough to visit an American rainforest, you have a good chance of seeing this beautiful bird. The Green Honeycreeper forms large flocks with other rainforest birds, such as tanagers, warblers, and other honeycreepers. Together, these birds search the edge of the forest for fruit trees to feed upon. Large flocks mean more birds to look for food. The flocks can be very loud and are easily noticed by tourists. They can also be noticed by predators, such as snakes. However, having so many birds also means more eyes to lookout for predators. Honeycreepers may also eat nectar or catch insects without the aid of the flock.

Green Honeycreeper. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
The male is bright blue with a black hood on his head. They are called Green Honeycreepers because the females and young birds are bright green with red eyes. In early summer, the female builds a small nest. She lays two eggs in it, which will hatch in around two weeks.

There are five species called Honeycreeper in the Americas. The four true honeycreepers are the Short-Billed, Shining, Purple, and Red-Legged Honeycreepers. The Green Honeycreeper is less closely related. While the Green Honeycreeper eats mostly fruit, the four true honeycreepers feed mostly on nectar. None of these five birds is endangered; in fact, scientists tell us that these species are doing well, and they categorize them as Least Concern. Unfortunately, huge areas of rainforest are being cut down every year. Scientists are not sure how Honeycreepers will fare in a future filled with shrinking rainforests.


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