I made the Post a Week Pledge just 3 weeks ago, and I’m already having a hard time keeping up! But I’m bound and determined to make good on my promise and catch up ASAP! And that means you’ll probably be seeing a few more postcards from me in the near future!
For more on Chile’s Giant Hummingbird and other summer-inspired ramblings, read on!
I don’t know why I always allow myself to be lured into the same silly trap year after year. I always think that once we get beyond the holidays, that January will be more relaxed–it never is! Here in Chile everyone is trying to get their desks in order before heading off for vacations in February. This year has been special because I have visitors who are here for the first time, so we’ve been squeezing in as much fun stuff as possible (loads of post-worthy stories and photos piling up!).
So… my new strategy is to post more Postcards from Chile (click to see more) in order to keep up and show more quick shots of this beautiful country and keep you posted on what I’m up to…
In this postcard, a giant hummingbird–or “picaflor gigante” (pee-ka-FLOR hee-GAHN-tay) in Spanish–feeds on the bright red tubular flowers of the aloe succotrina plant just a few meters from the sea in Zapallar, in Central Chile.
Many thanks to Cachando Chile reader Anne Chernett (of Little Chile), who kindly identified both the bird and the plant!
Here’s another shot of the picaflor gigante that shows his beak:
Common name: Giant hummingbird / Picaflor gigante
Latin Name: Patagona gigas
Size: 21–22 cm / 8 inches
Physical description: Not a very showy bird, the Picaflor gigante is a greenish-gray with a slightly metallic green sheen. It is a coppery reddish color at the throat and breast, with white near the tail. Males tend to be a bit larger and grayer in color. The tail feathers (rectrices) are brownish-green with a metallic green sheen. The long, pointed beak is essentially straight with a slight curve at the end.
Habitat: generally found in Chile from Atacama in the north to Arauco in the south, although may be spotted further south. They are found in dry areas (though always close to a source of water) near the coast (as in the case of the bird shown here), across the central valley to the foothills of the Andes.
Migratory habits: The giant hummingbird migrates from Chile in the winter and is believed to cross the Andes to northeastern Argentina in March and return in August (Chilean winter).
See more about this and other Chilean birds can be found (in Spanish) at: Aves de Chile.
For more postcards, see: Postcards from Chile.