Andean Hillstar Oreotrochilus estella
Chilean name: Picaflor de la puna
Male Andean Hillstar, Putre, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image Putre, Chile
February 2007

The Andean Hillstar is distributed in the Andes of south-west Peru, western Bolivia, northern Chile and north-western Argentina. It is found in puna grasslands, often near habitation and normally at between 3500 and 5000 metres.

Male Andean Hillstar, Putre, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image The male, seen here in photos 1 and 2, has an emerald green throat with a black border to the white breast and a chestnut belly stripe. Photo 2 shows some pollen on the bird's crown. The female, seen in photos 3 and 4 is brown above and grey below with some greenish speckling on the throat.

When breeding the females are territorial and build nests glued onto the rock surface of ravines. The males are not territorial and move around nearby grassland.

Female Andean Hillstar, Putre, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image Note that the bird normally feeds while perched rather than when hovering. This is due to the energy required to hover in the thin atmosphere at these altitudes.
Female Andean Hillstar, Putre, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image
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