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 hummingbird endemic to Costa Rica


Coppery-headed Emerald hummingbird, endemic to Costa Rica

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

White-throated Mountain-gem


White-throated Mountain-gem

White-throated Mountain-gem


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

 Green Violetear now know the Lesser Violetear


Green Violetear now know the Lesser Violetear

Lesser Violetear (Green Violetear)


Lesser Violetear

Lesser Violet-ear feeding on fuchsia


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

Volcano Hummingbird, male


Volcano Hummingbird male

Volcano Hummingbird, female


Volcano Hummingbird female

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

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird


Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird


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

Purple-throated Mountain-gem, female


Purple-throated Mountain-gem, female

Purple-throated Mountain-gem, male


Purple-throated Mountain-gem, male

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.

Brown Violetear


Brown Violetear

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

Green-Hermit


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

Blue-chested Hummingbird


Blue-chested Hummingbird

Blue-chested Hummingbird


Blue-chested Hummingbir

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;.  

Cloud Forest Gallery