New species of hummingbird found

‘Only 300 birds exist, need protection’
A team of ornithologists in Ecuador has identified a new species of hummingbird: a lovely blue-green creature that lives in a cold, barren highland area and is in danger of extinction.
Team leader Francisco Sornoza saw one of the birds through binoculars a year ago and had a hunch that it was a previously unknown species.
The bird is about 11 cm long and has a stunning, deep blue neck, a white breast with a black stripe and greenish-blue head and body feathers.
It has been given the name Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus , or blue-throated star. The discovery was announced on Thursday in a journal called The Auk: Ornithological Advances.
The bird lives at an altitude of 3,000 to 3,700 meters in an area near the Pacific coast that straddles the provinces of Loja and El Oro.
Researchers estimate there are only 300 of these birds and say its habitat is shrinking dramatically. Mining in the area also threatens it. “It is a species that is in severe danger,” Mr. Sornoza, who works at the National Biodiversity Institute, said.
Ecuador is small but very rich in biodiversity. For instance, it is home to 132 species of hummingbird.
The new species has a slightly curved beak that helps it get at the flowers of the chuquiragua, a plant that Ecuadoran highlanders use to brew tea.
It can eat up to two times its weight in nectar.
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