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White-Booted Racket-Tail Hummingbird Fact File

Ocreatus underwoodii

Credit: Lip Kee from Singapore, Republic of Singapore, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

3g

(0.11oz)

Length

17-23cm

(6.5-19in)

Lifespan

Wild 3-5 years

Captive 3-5 years

Diet

Omnivore

Nectar, Invertebrates

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The white-booted racket-tail hummingbird is also known as the racket-tailed poofleg due to the two circles of white fur on the legs. Males are most notable for the long feathers running backwards from their body.

These animals are omnivores and will feed on nectar and invertebrates. During breeding season the females consume up to 2000 insets a day.

Females are responsible for caring for the chicks on their own. These are raised in a cup shaped nest formed from fibers and moss and held together using cobwebs.

Small numbers are collected to supply the pet trade.

Read on to learn more about these beautiful birds.

Appearance

What does the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird look like?

Across their body the males of this species have shiny green feathers. Females are white with green speckles on their underside. On their thighs are clumps of small white feathers. A white bar is present on their rump.

Their bill is long and needle like. This is an adaptation which will allow them to reach in to flowers to access food.

At the end of the body of the male are two long adornments which each end with a feather. The tail and the end feathers are colored blue.

An average white-booted racket-tail hummingbird will measure 17-23cm (6.5-19in) long with a weight of 3g (0.11oz).

Diet

What does the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird eat?


These birds are omnivores with their diet made up of nectar which they acquire using their long beak from flowers. They will also feed on small invertebrates.

Invertebrates are especially important to females feeding young. They may capture as many as 2000 per day during breeding season.

They favor certain flowers which produce nectar with high energy content. They will become highly protective of areas with these flowers.


They have been seen to make use of bird feeders placed by humans.

White-booted racket-tail hummingbird (Ocreatus underwoodii)

Credit: Lip Kee from Singapore, Republic of Singapore, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird?

South America is the native home of the species. Here they can be found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird live in?

They make their home in forest habitats.

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Reproduction

How does the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird produce its young?

Males will display at the start of the breeding season by completing speedy, swooping displays. The most impressive individuals will gain breeding rights with the most females.

After mating the male has no further involvement with their young.


Following a successful mating the female will go off alone to build her nest which is made from fibers and moss in a cup-shape. The nest is held together by an elastic bounding formed from cobwebs which can allow the nest to grow as the chicks do.


In to her nest she will deposit two eggs. At hatching young are immobile and covered by down.

The female will regurgitate food for the young which she pushes in to their stomach with the long bill.

Their mother will brood the chicks for the first 12 days of life. The chicks leave the nest at 20 days old.

Behavior

What does the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird do with its day?

While in flight these birds will beat their wings 60 times per second. They are able to fly sideways and backwards due to their unique beating pattern which resembles a figure-eight.

Males form a territory around blossoms and will chase off other hummingbirds and honeybees.

Outside of the breeding season these birds are considered solitary.

White-booted racket-tail hummingbird (Ocreatus underwoodii)

Credit: Alejandro  Bayer Tamayo from Armenia, Colombia, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the white-booted racket-tail hummingbird?

This species is considered common but their total population size has not been studied with enough detail.

No major threats to the species have been identified but they are present in the pet trade.

Quick facts

They may also be known as the racket-tailed poofleg.

Some authorities divide this species in to 3 subspecies.

White-booted racket-tail hummingbird (Ocreatus underwoodii)

Credit: Public Domain

References

Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley

Ebird.org. 2021. Booted Racket-tail – eBird. [online] Available at: <https://ebird.org/species/bortai1> [Accessed 10 December 2021].

Jungledragon.com. 2021. White-booted racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii) – JungleDragon. [online] Available at: <https://www.jungledragon.com/specie/14367/white-booted_racket-tail.html> [Accessed 10 December 2021].

Aves, P. and Aves, P., 2021. Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii) – Peru Aves. [online] Peru Aves. Available at: <https://www.peruaves.org/trochilidae/booted-racket-tail-ocreatus-underwoodii/> [Accessed 10 December 2021].

Beautyofbirds.com. 2021. Booted Racket-tail Hummingbirds | Beauty of Birds. [online] Available at: <https://www.beautyofbirds.com/bootedrackettailhummingbirds.html> [Accessed 10 December 2021].

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