The Gould’s Inca (Coeligena inca) – also known as the Collared Inca Hummingbird – is a fairly common South American hummingbird.
Some authorities consider it a subspecies of the Collared Inca; however, some still treat the two as the same species (conspecific).
Alternate (Global) Names
Spanish: Inca de Gould … French: Inca de Gould …Latin: Coeligena inca, Coeligena torquata inca, Coeligena torquata omissa/inca … German: Inkaandenkolibri … Czech: inka rezavolímcový … Danish: Brunbrystet Inka … Norwegian: Rustbrystinka … Polish: elfik inkaski … Slovak: ink hrdzavoprsý … Swedish: Goulds inka
Distribution / Range
The Gould’s Inca Hummingbird is found in the humid Andean forest of south-eastern Peru and Bolivia.
Subspecies and Distribution
Coeligena inca inca (Gould, 1852) – Nominate Race
Found in the Andes of Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba)
Coeligena inca omissa (Zimmer, 1948)
Found in the Andes of SE Peru (Urubamba to Puno)
The Gould’s Inca has a black head, an orange collar and mostly green body. The undertail feathers are white; the uppertail feathers rufous-colored.
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Nesting / Breeding
Hummingbirds are solitary in all aspects of life other than breeding; and the male’s only involvement in the reproductive process is the actual mating with the female. They neither live nor migrate in flocks; and there is no pair bond for this species. Males court females by flying in a u-shaped pattern in front of them. He will separate from the female immediately after copulation. One male may mate with several females. In all likelihood, the female will also mate with several males. The males do not participate in choosing the nest location, building the nest or raising the chicks.
The female is responsible for building the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a shrub, bush or tree. She lines the nest with soft plant fibers, animal hair and feather down, and strengthens the structure with spider webbing and other sticky material, giving it an elastic quality to allow it to stretch to double its size as the chicks grow and need more room. The nest is typically found on a low, skinny horizontal branch.
The average clutch consists of two white eggs, which she incubates alone, while the male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. The young are born blind, immobile and without any down.
The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food (mostly partially-digested insects since nectar is an insufficient source of protein for the growing chicks). The female pushes the food down the chicks’ throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs.
As is the case with other hummingbird species, the chicks are brooded only the first week or two, and left alone even on cooler nights after about 12 days – probably due to the small nest size. The chicks leave the nest when they are about 20 days old.
Diet / Feeding
The Gould’s Inca Hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes. They favor flowers with the highest sugar content (often red-colored and tubular-shaped) and seek out, and aggressively protect, those areas containing flowers with high energy nectar.