Cyanerpes caeruleus (Purple honeycreeper)

The purple honeycreeper (Cyanerpes caeruleus) is a small bird in the tanager family. It is the most common and widespread species of Cyanerpes. The South American counterpart of the Middle American Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus), the Purple Honeycreeper’s main range is in Amazonia, but is also found along northern and western coasts of the continent. It is found in a wide variety of forest types, even extending to gardens, partially cleared areas, and plantations, but typically forages in the treetops, often in pairs and frequently joining other species either in roving flocks or at a flowering tree.
Males are stunningly gorgeous, mainly deep violet-blue with a black throat patch and wings, and bright yellow legs, whilst females are principally green, becoming streaked below with a buffy throat and cheeks.

The combination of the beautiful male with being abundant and widespread makes the Purple Honeycreeper iconic among Neotropical birds. As such, they have many local common names. The subspecies endemic to Trinidad has been referred to as the Trinidad Honeycreeper . In Portuguese it is known as Saí-de-Perna-Amarela , or Tem-tem do Espírito Santo . In Spanish speaking countries it is called Mielerito Cerúleo or Mielero Cerúleo (Colombia), which refers to its partially nectivorous diet, “miel” means honey or syrup, and Cerúleo refers to the blue feathers . In Ecuador they are also called Mielero Púrpureo. Their name in Aguaruna is Jémpekit . They were originally name by Linnaeus (1758), the etymology of the generic name Cyanerpes is based on the Greek words kuanos meaning dark blue and herpēsmeaning a creeping thing. The specific epithet caeruleus derives from the Latin word caerulea, which translates as blue.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 6,700,000 km². The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘common’ in at least parts of its range. Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

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