By Andre Ruschi

The hummingbirds are the main pollinators birds exclusive of America. Of all the pollinators, are the only vectors between distant vegetal populations functioning as a genetic post office. They have an extraordinary mobility of flight, with special wings, in some species capable of 90 vibrations for second. Such hyperactivity allows them to go from flower to flower, to the rightand the left, quickly sucking the nectar of the orquids, bromeliads, jambos, ingás, between lianas, thorns and twigs. They reach the speed of 60 km/h.

To keep this rhythm, they need to feed of nectar and small insects from 15 to 15 min, in average. They are the only birds to fly backwards and in helicoidal movement. Its heart beats to a rhythm of 2000 strokes per minute. The body temperature is of 42oC, but at night when they rest, falls to less than 35oC or, and hibernates. Its colors are light reflects, and possess special meanings of territorial relation, camouflage, warning and intersexual relationship.

In the ES we have 41 species and subspecies. Some researches needs to confirm the observations of Augusto Ruschi and are being developed by Andre Ruschi, his son and also scientist, in Santa Cruz, at the Marine Biology Station Ruschi ( and in Santa Teresa, in the Forest Park Augusto Ruschi.

Augusto Ruschi was the Capixaba scientist, world pioneer, in 1932, to develop the method of feeding using little bottles and its creation in captivity. He was one of the biggest specialists in birds behavior, due to his research and intense observations of the nature. He covered all the countries of Americas, and of all the species and subspecies, was able to observe in nature 754 in 757 of all that exist, describing with precision the behavior of all the Brazilian species. Its works are of genius and figure as pioneer in various areas of ambiental science, appearing as one of the pioneers in the environmental fight, since 1937, alerting for the deforestation, desertification and drought. Keen militant and skillful speaker, centered extraordinary controversies and debates in defense of environment. But its fame crossed borders, mainly due to contributions and advances of photographic techniques, to paralyze the image of the hummingbirds in flight, and to have been a hummingbird with which gifted queen Elizabeth II, the first color image to be shown in color TV, for the BBC in London.

His history has an exclusive museum: House Augusto Ruschi, in Santa Teresa.

In the ES we have 41 species and subspecies. Some researches needs to confirm the observations of Augusto Ruschi and are being developed by Andre Ruschi, his son and also scientist, in Santa Cruz, at the Marine Biology Station Ruschi ( and in Santa Teresa, in the Forest Park Augusto Ruschi.

The specie Red topetinho, characteristic of the Atlantic forest, is the smallest bird of the world, with 70 mm and 1,2 g. Can be seen in the high regions of the state, as Domingos Martins, Santa Teresa and Venda Nova. In the highest part of the state, Caparaó, Forno Grande, lives the specie Penacho Verde. The black and white seldom comes down in the region of beaches. The Estrela Vermelha and the Papo Preto travels by here in migration movements.

Espirito Santo state, only loses in number of species for Amazon and Minas Gerais, which have a much bigger area. Our wealth of habitats and ecosystems is what makes possible this size of concentration of so many species. Other records of biodiversity are the amount of species of orquíds in the state, and florestal/área biodiversity.

The species Ramphodon dhornii and Popelairia langsdorffi are in extinction.

The species Rhamphodon naevius freitasi, nigrirostris Glaucis hirsuta abrawayae and Phaethornis are exclusive of Espirito Santo.


The species observed until December of 2002 are the following ones: 

  • 01. Amazilia brevirostris 
  • 02. Amazilia fimbriata tephrocephala 
  • 03. Lactea Amazilia 
  • 04. Versicolor versicolor Amazilia 
  • 05. Anthracothorax nigricollis nigricollis 
  • 06. Amethistina Calliphlox 
  • 07. Chlorestes notatus cyanogenis 
  • 08. Chlorostilbon aureoventris pucherani 
  • 09. Chrysolampis mosquitus 
  • 10. Colibri sirrirostris 
  • 11. Glaucis hirsuta hirsuta 
  • 12. Macroura macroura Eupetomena 
  • 13. Heliomaster squamosus 
  • 14. Hylocharis cyanus cyanus 
  • 15. Sapphirina Hylocharis latirostris 
  • 16. Leucochloris albicolis 
  • 17. Melanotrochilus fuscus 
  • 18. Phaethornis to ruber to ruber 
  • 19. Phaethornis idaliae 
  • 20. Polytimus guainumbi thaumantias 
  • 21. Thalurania glaucopis 



A select team of French and Brazilian specialists carried through a research expedition on Brazilian hummingbirds, from 3 to 20 of March of 2002. The expedition was coordinated by the professors Jacques Vielliard-UNICAMP (Bioacustics) and Andre Ruschi- Augusto Ruschi hummingbird creatory (Ecologia-etologia). Also participated Dra.Luisa Maria of Silva-USP (Neuroscience), Dr. Henry Quinque and Lily (reproduction of animals in extinguishing-gastroenterology), Gregory and Ariane Guida (computer science-filming).

In the dates of 3 the 9 of March, the expedition covered extensions of the forest of the Marine Biology Station Ruschi in Santa Cruz, Aracruz, ES, directed by the ecologist specialist in hummingbirds and environmental education Andre Ruschi, where is hosted the criatory of

Trochilídeos (hummingbirds) August Ruschi, headquarters of the Research project. In the occasion, for the first time, filmings of the nest of the rare species of hummingbird Phaethornis idalie, and other registers had been made, as Glaucis hirsuta, Amazilia brevirostris, besides a mutant albinic form.

Also the Museum of Biology Prof. Mello Leitão was visited in Santa Teresa, ES, where collection of taxidermized hummingbirds of this Institution, testemony of the research work of its founder, Augusto Ruschi, who developed the most important and extensive existing program of research on these birds, from 1932 up to 1986. These researchs proceeds at the Marine Biology Station Ruschi since 1988.

From 10 up to 20 of March, the team covered 1000 km of tracks, being 200 km walking, in the Chapada Diamantina the hinterland of Bahia State, region of Mucugê and Andaraí, among rocks,quarries,valleys,caves,rivers,streams,waterfalls, orquíds,bromélias and many hummingbirds. First time images of rare species have been taken, never before filmed in the nature, as the Heliactin cornuta (golden horn) and Augastes lumachellus (hummingbird with tie), this last one, endemic specie of Chapada Diamantina in Bahia.

New expeditions will be programmed to give continuity to the observations and registers, as well as help with the development of a handling plan, aiming towards the guarantee of the survival of these very rare species and preservation of its functions in nature.

During the expedition, the team made some contacts with local authorities, including the Dr. Humberto, director of the National Park of the Chapada Diamantina, Mrs. Ana Medrado, Mayor of Mucugê, Dr. Helio Fernandes, Director of the Museum of Biology Prof. Mello Leitão,

Mr. Jessé Moura Marques Jr, manager of Aracruz Celulose S.A. department of Relations with the Community. In the occasion, the company offered its support for the accomplishment of significant scientific event of international amplitude scheduled for August of 2003, the XVIII International Congress of BioAcústics, in Santa Cruz, Aracruz, under the guidance of Dra. Luisa Maria Da Silva.

Some information techniques had been passed and planned to these participants, by the expedition team. Some alternatives of accord among the Marine Biology Station Ruschi with the city hall of Mucugê and other cities halls are being analyzed.

The beauty of the Chapada Diamantina and the forests of the Espirito Santo are true pieces of Paradise, full of jewels of the creation. This is the opinion of these team of scientists.

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