The red-billed streamertail, also known as the doctor bird, scissor-tail or scissors tail hummingbird, is indigenous to Jamaica, where it is the most abundant and widespread member of the hummingbird family. While most authorities now consider it a separate species, some continue to consider it conspecific with the black-billed streamertail. The red-billed streamertail is the national bird of Jamaica.
When the black-billed streamertail of ...
eastern Jamaica is considered a separate species, the red-billed streamertail occurs west of a line from Morant Bay following the Morant River, and via Ginger House and the middle Rio Grande to Port Antonio.
These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue or catch small insects on the wing. The next-to-outermost rectrices of the male are 15–18 centimetres long, far longer than its bearer's body. Females lack the elongated rectrices, and are largely white below. Adult males in flight produce a distinctive whirring flight sound. The whirring is synchronised with the wingbeats and video footage shows primary feather eight bending with each downstroke, creating a gap that produces the fluttering sound. Bird sound other than via vocal organs is referred to as sonation.