Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Will #NMNHcupid help them find their one and only?
Screen name: DoctorBird
Age: 2 years
Location: I’m endemic to “Jam-Rock”, aka Jamaica.
Body Type: Athletic. Average weight 6.3 grams, average body length 3 inches, but my tail feathers are 2-3 times longer than that! My black cap contrasts with my glittering green body and my bright red bill.
Diet: I love sweets. I’m into flower nectar in a big way. As dessert, I will suck ripe fruit such as bananas where nectar-robbing birds have made holes in them. I also like to catch small flying insects to help maintain my strong wing muscles.
My self summary
I’m aggressive. I know what I want, and I usually get it! As the National Bird of Jamaica, I have quite the reputation to uphold. I have to entertain the tourists, and pose for artists to draw my likeness on the tails of Air Jamaica jets.
I'm really good at
Making noise. Some Jamaican’s play loud music from enormous speakers, but I do it all myself. Although my song is rather simple, it can be heard up to 300m away. In addition, I can make some amazing noise with my wings. I fooled ornithologists for a while by giving them the impression I made it with my tail, but they eventually figured it out.
The first thing people usually notice about me
My tail. What’s not to love about long tail feathers???
Otaheite Apple nectar (Syzgium malaccense), although some of the native stuff is pretty good. A favorite native nectar is the Blue Mahoe (Talipariti elatum). What’s best is when small insects get stuck in the flower nectar…
I think a lot about
Eating. Like all hummingbirds, I have a high metabolism. I need to eat a lot to fuel my engines, and my frequent courtship efforts!
The most private thing I'm willing to share
1) I really don’t like to share my food.
2) Embarrassingly, when I was born my bill was horribly short and black. But when I matured, it grew long and turned red!
I’m looking for
Any female who is willing to initiate courtship, and hopefully more than one! As a disclaimer, I’m not big into helping to rear young.
By Brian Schmidt, Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural History