Hummingbirds are amazing little birds. They can flap their wings 80 times per second and dive at speeds of up to 60 mph. The ability to rotate their wings in a figure-8, allows them to hover. It also gives them the ability to fly both backwards and forwards.
Whilst visiting our daughter in Costa Rica in the early 2000’s and on a trip to Ecuador we saw many hummingbirds. We spent sometime in the cloud forests and managed to get very grainy images of some of the hummingbirds that we saw. With those images in mind we were eager to see if we could get some better shots of these amazing birds.
This year we went on a coast to coast trip in Costa Rica. We started on the Caribbean coast at Tortuguero national park travelling across the central mountains to the Pacific coast at Corcovado national park. The weather on our trip wasn’t at its best for photography with lots of cloud and heavy rain. However we did manage to capture a number of species that we hadn’t seen before, including one of the regions endemics.
The Coppery-headed Emerald
Coppery-headed Emerald hummingbirds are endemic to Costa Rica. This small hummingbird is found in the highlands on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides of the divide. The Coppery-headed Emeralds prefer cool, wet, highland forests and their edges,
The White-throated Mountain-gem
The White-throated Mountain-gem is a medium-sized hummingbird. It is found in the mountains of southern Costa Rica and western Panama and is a bird of the forests and their edges.
The Lesser Violet-ear
The Green Violet Ears is one of the more common hummingbird that we saw. It is another medium-sized hummingbird of the forests with a slightly down curved bill. Generally know as the Green Violet-ears or Mexican Violet-ears. Those in the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama have now been re classified as the Lesser Violet-ear.
The Volcano Hummingbird
One of the smaller hummingbirds the Volcano Hummingbird or Rose-throated Flamebearer. Restricted to the Costa Rica and Panama Highlands. It inhabits open bushy areas, paramo, as well as the edges of elfin forest, mostly above 6500 feet. The males and females of this species look very different .
The Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
One of the more common species of hummingbird is the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. This is a medium-size bird of humid tropical lowlands. It has a distinctly rufous-coloured tail, from which it derives its name, and a bright pink bill. Found from southern Mexico to northwestern South America. Often at the forest edges and in gardens..
The Purple-throated Mountain-gem
The Purple-throated Mountain-gem is a stunning medium-sized hummingbird. Found in the cloud forests of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. This species is sexually dimorphic in plumage. The males being primarily green, with a purple gorget. Whist the females has bright buffy underparts and she lacks the gorget.
The Brown Violet-ear.
One of the larger species of hummingbirds the Brown Violet-ear. Found in the mountains of Central America and western and northern South America. It is scarcer in Costa Rica and a little on the drab side compared with the other hummingbirds. It’s a bird of tropical and subtropical forest. Often preferring semi open areas and coffee plantations.
The Green Hermit
The Green Hermit is a relatively large hummingbird. with a distinctive extremely long bill. Found in Panama, Costa Rica and south to eastern Peru and northeastern Venezuela. They inhabit humid forest sometimes near water, and prefers hilly areas. Often seen flying very quickly,through the forest under-storey.
The Blue-chested Hummingbird
The Blue-chested Hummingbird inhabits the edges of humid forests, thickets and plantations. Found in Central and South American ranging from Honduras south to Ecuador. in some areas these birds are also known as Blue-breasted, Beryl-crowned or Lovely Hummingbirds. The males have glittering purple-blue throats,a green back and crown. Whilst the smaller female is less obvious, with a spotted chest;.