Wild Fact #7 – Going Extinct in Style – Gorgeted Puffleg

Gorgeted Puffleg

As we wind down to the final Wild Fact, I thought we would highlight an intriguing bird species. Believe it or not, the Gorgeted Puffleg is a type of hummingbird (yes, they look a little different compared to your standard Ruby Throated Hummingbird) that can only be found in Columbia. Do you want to know something else that is cool about this bird? You do? Excellent. In that case, I highly recommend you continue reading today’s Wild Fact.

Cool Facts About the Gorgeted Puffleg

  • The Gorgeted Puffleg was discovered in 2005 but it took an additional 2 years before Scientists were able to confirm that it is indeed a new species.
  • Incredibly, it is believed that this amazing hummingbird is confined to a mere 10 square kilometres of ideal habitat. Even more incredibly, this habitat is constantly diminishing
  • Given the limited habitat, the Gorgeted Puffleg is fighting for their survival and as such they have been listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

 The Odd Look of the Gorgeted Puffleg

Gorgeted PufflegOne look at this bird, you can immediately tell that it is not like any other bird, which is why I am still confused as to how it took 2 years to confirm that it was indeed a new species.  You would think  the large, white tufts of hair on their legs would give it away. If not the hairy legs then perhaps the bright blue-purple throat patch (also known as a gorget – is their common name making  a little more sense now?) would let you know that this is a new hummingbird. I am sure they have a good reason for taking so long, however, it is a good thing they didn’t take too much longer as I am not sure when this stunning bird will move from “Critically Endangered” to “Extinct” but the way things are going, I fear this is just around the corner.

 A Very Small Home

So why is this fairly new birds species already sitting on the “Critically Endangered” list? Well, as I mentioned above, it is estimated that this particular species, which is endemic to Columbia, only has 10 square kilometres of suitable habitat. To make things even more difficult, we feel the need to destroy their elfin forest home to make room for additional agriculture fields and illegal cocoa plantations. Just once, I wish we would put our environment before ourselves.

Luckily, there are many great organizations out there such as the Columbia Ministry of Environment, Ecohabits Foundation, The Hummingbird Conservancy and even local residents that have come together to create a conservation plan that will help protect the Gorgeted Puffleg’s unique habitat. Let’s just hope they are able to succeed and that it isn’t too late because I personally would like to ensure the safety of this hairy-legged hummingbird for years to come.


Wild Fact Flashback:  Wild Fact #993 – Coyotes End Up Badgering Their Prey


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