Bird of the Month - August 2006

Red-billed Streamertail (Trochilus polytmus )

Other local names:  Doctor Bird, Long-tail Doctor Bird, God Bird, Scissors-tail Hummingbird, Western Streamertail

The Red-billed Streamertail is a Jamaican endemic genus and species. Described as the most spectacular hummingbird of the insular Caribbean, this species is the most easily observable Jamaican endemic bird. Most commonly called the “Doctor Bird,” the Red-billed Streamertail is well represented in Jamaican folklore, and killing these birds is considered to bring bad fortune on one’s self in most parts of rural Jamaica.

 

 

 

 

Range and Habitat Needs

Interesting Facts

  • The long tail feathers resemble the old-fashioned coattails of a doctor; hence, Jamaicans call it the "Doctor Bird."
  • To see a Doctor Bird up close, there is no better place than Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary and Feeding Station, located just south of Montego Bay in Anchovy. Here, since the early 1950’s, hummingbirds nurtured by the late Lisa Salmon have been trained to feed out of your hand. The spectacular displays and intimate encounter provided by Rockland’s hummingbirds has attracted many eminent visitors including European Royalty, global heads of state (such as Winston Churchill), and Vogue Magazine to name but a few.

Red-billed Streamertail Bird of the Month contributed by Leo Douglas

Characteristics