Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bulletin 290 - Columbia #13 - Hummingbirds - part 2

Pablo Florez, the main guide, has co-written a book where to bird in Colombia. In it, he has a list of the Top 30 Most Sought-after Birds by a group of 40 birders visiting Colombia. I saw 12 of them on the trip and got photos of 10. When I show one of these birds,  I will mention its placement on the list.

This is the final bulletin of the amazing birds I saw, on my first trip to Colombia last fall. I started with hummingbirds and I will end with the rest of the hummers.

The 4.75" Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans) is green with purple gorget. I had seen this bird before, but this was my best photo.

Sparkling Violetear
The 4" Mountain Velvetbreast (Lafresnaya lafresnayi) has a curved bill and white in the tail.. The male is green with a black breast and the female shown here has a spotted breast. I did not see a male.

Mountain Velvetbreast - female
The 4" Buff-tailed Coronet (Boissonneaua flavescens) is green with spotted belly and a buffy tail.

Buff-tailed Coronet
The 3.5" male Tourmaline Sunangel (Heliangelus exortis) is green with dark pink throat.

Tourmaline Sunangel - male
The 4.75" White-tailed Hillstar (Urochroa bougueri) is found close to fast moving streams and waterfalls. 

White-tailed Hillstar

The tiny 2.75" female Purple-throated Woodstar (Calliphlox mitchellii) is green on back and buffy orange below.

Purple-throated Woodstar - female
The 6" male Great Sapphirewing (Pterophanes cyanopterus) is a huge hummer with blue wings.

Great Sapphirewing - male
I have saved the best 2 for the end. The 5 species of thornbills are hummers with very short bills. This is the first I have seen. The 4" male Rainbow-bearded Thornbill (Chalcostigma herrani) is olive green with an orange forehead and crest and an amazing multicolored throat.

Rainbow-bearded Thornbill - male
The female is similar but lacks the multicolored beard.

Rainbow-bearded Thornbill - female
Lastly is the 4" Buffy Helmetcrest (Oxypogon steubelli). This is one of 4 species of Helmetcrest that live on the paramo on mountain tops. Until about 3 years ago, they were considered a single species, but have been split and each one lives on a different mountain. 3 are in Colombia and the other in western Venezuela, so the range is very limited for these birds. The presplit Helmetcrest is number 16 on the top 30 birds to see in Colombia.

Buffy Helmetcrest

Buffy Helmetcrest

We saw this bird on the Nevado del Ruiz volcano tundra. Some of you may remember hearing of a catastrophic volcanic eruption and lahar that killed 22,000 people in the 1985. This was the volcano. It was second worst volcanic disaster of 20th century and 4th deadliest since 1500 AD. Here is story on Wikipedia.

The tragic, heart wrenching story of a 13 year old girl who was trapped in the mud is here.

So it was an amazing experience to see such a rare bird on this famous volcano. It was spewing ash the whole time we were there.

Nevado del Ruiz Volcano - Colombia

There are 348 species of hummingbirds and I have photos of 118. They all can be seen here.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2017 David McDonald

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