Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bulletin 218 - Costa Rica Hummingbirds part 1

I had a recent great trip to Costa Rica. I used a local guiding service 'Costa Rica Birding Tours' and the brothers Noel and Carlos Urena were fantastic. Their web site is here. I went to La Selva on the Caribbean side and Savegre Mountain Lodge for the Quetzal.

As you know, hummingbirds are among my favorites. There are 57 species of hummers in Costa Rica.  I photographed 25 and glimpsed a couple of others. 

First is the Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris). This is a large 6" brownish hummer with a long curved bill, and 2 long white tail feathers. The sexes are similar.

Long-billed Hermit
The Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) is a smaller version at 4" in length.

Stripe-throated Hermit
Also, I was fortunate to be able to photograph this bird in its nest. It builds a nest out of leaves and spider webs and attaches it it the tip of a broad leaf. The bird can be seen with his head above the nest.

Stripe-throated Hermit in nest
The 3" male Black-bellied Hummingbird (Eupherusa nigriventris) has a green back and a black face andunderparts. He also has a rufous wing patch. It is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama and was a lifer.

Black-bellied Hummingbird - male
The 4" Stripe-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusa eximia) is the same genus and has the sane rufous wing patch. The male is bright green below. It was also a lifer.

Stripe-tailed Hummingbird - male
A stunning bird is the Violet Saberwing (Campylopterus hemileucurus). The male of this 6" hummer has a purple body and white tail. I had seen this bird before and was hoping to get a photo this time.

Violet Saberwing - male
Violetears are hummers that have purple patches on the sides of their heads. I saw 2 different species on the trip. The 4" Brown Violetear (Colibri delphinae) is brown with a brown streaked breast.
Brown Violetear
His cousin, the 4" Green Violetear (Colibri thalassinus) is much prettier as he is all green with a purple ear patch. This hummer occasionally shows up in the USA.

Green Violetear

Hummers call mountain-gems are residents of montane forests. One is found regularly in SE Arizona, the Blue-throated Mountain-gem or as it is commonly called, the Blue-throated Hummingbird. I saw 3 others of this genus on the trip and got photos of two. The male White-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis castaneoventris) is a 4" green hummer with a white throat and a vertical white stripe below the eye.

White-throated Mountain-gem - male

The female is green above with the white eye line and beautiful rufous underparts.

White-throated Mountain-gem - female
The male Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaemus) has a purple rather than white throat, but is otherwise similar to the previous bird. I did not see a male, but did photo a female. Likewise she is similar to the previous female, but has a greener tail. Their ranges do not overlap, so you can tell by the location which is which.

Purple-throated Mountain-gem - female
I had photographed the 3" Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) in Panama, but it was at dawn and the light was poor. This time, I was able to see his colors. The male has a purple crown and throat and a distinctive white spot behind the eye.

Violet-headed Hummingbird - male
The female is green with a white throat and breast and the white spot behind the eye.

Violet-headed Hummingbird - female
A tiny hummer that is on every birders wish list is the Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata). The 3" male is bright reddish purple with a white crown. I had seen a female once before, but never the male.
Snowcap - male

The female is a tiny hummer with green back and white underparts. She is IDed by the short straight bill.

Snowcap - female
Lastly, the 4" male Blue-chested Hummingbird (Amazilia amabilis) is green with a white belly and a prominent blue chest patch.

Blue-chested Hummingbird - male
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2015 David McDonald

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