Monday, February 8, 2016

Bulletin 250 - Guatemala #1 - hummers

I took a quick 1 week trip to Guatemala in November. I again went to the Birdingpal web site to find a guide. Knut Eisermann was fantastic. In addition to being an expert birder, he and his wife were able to get my lost luggage delivered to our hotel the second night. Kudos to your wife Claudia for pestering American Airlines!

Why did I pick Guatemala? Well there are a lot of birds in Mexico and northern Central America that don't make it as far south as Costa Rica, and Guatemala appeared to be safer than going to Mexico. However, it is not without excitement as we had to have police escorts on 2 days as we traveled between birding hot spots. Also we drove close by the Fuego volcano that was pumping ash into the air consistently. Shortly after I returned home, it went full eruption with lava flowing down the mountain.

As this is number 250 of my trip reports, which is sort a a milestone for me (25% of 1000), I will start with one of my favorite families of birds, the hummers.

There are 30 species of the amazilia genus. We saw several of them in Ecuador. They are medium sized hummingbirds about 4" in length and the sexes are pretty similar. The is the male Azure-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanocephala). He has the red beak characteristic of this genus.

Azure-crowned Hummingbird
The Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila) is another amazilia. It is all brown below with a green back.

Cinnamon Hummingbird
And a third one is the Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanura).

Blue-tailed Hummingbird
The large, 4.5",Green-throated Mountain-Gem (Lampornis viridpallens) is green backed with white underparts. The male has green spots on throat. The white stripe behind the eye is a characteristic of this genus.

Green-throated Mountain-Gem - male
The 4.75" Long-billed Starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris) is green with pinkish throat and turquoise crown.

Long-billed Starthroat

The small (3.5") Blue-throated Sapphire (Hylochlaris eliciae) has a blue throat, golden tail and red bill.

Blue-throated Sapphire

The large (5.25") Rufous Sabrewing (Campylopterus rufus) is green above and rufous below.

Rufous Sabrewing
Next is the unusual Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird (Philodice dupontii). The male is 3.75 inches long and has a long tail that is black and white striped. the smaller female lacks the long tail.

Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird - male
The last hummer is an old friend, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilocus colubris). This is the only North American hummer that migrates as far south as Guatemala and it was the first time I had seen it outside the USA or Canada.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - male

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

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