Hummingbirds, the Flying Jewels of the New World, need no justification. Here are some random hummingbird photos from the west slope of the Andes.
The Sapphire Vented Puffleg is fairly common at higher elevations. It’s not a common feeder bird, in WC’s experience, but with its white booties, brilliant blue forehead and bright green gorget, it’s a very handsome bird. This guy was photographed at Yanacocha Reserve.
By contrast, the Andean Emerald is a lower elevation species, found at the 900-1,500 meter level. This is pretty much the only Ecuadorian humming bird with an unmarked white belly. The lower bill usually has a reddish tinge, not clearly visible in this photo. This is another species that doesn’t commonly come to feeders.
The tiny Purple-throated Woodstar, by contrast, is an enthusiastic consumer of sugar water at feeders. At just 2.75 inches, this is the smallest of the hummers shown on this page, and one of the smallest in Ecuador. Because this species is so tiny, it spends a lot of time hovering around the feeder, waiting for an opening. So there are lots of photo opportunities.
WC has posted a Sword-billed Hummingbird photo earlier, but the bill on this species justifies another view. The bill is typically 3.5 – 4 inches long, half again the length of the bird. The bill is so long that it has to perch with its head tilted back, as you see here. Even more remarkably, this species is only found at 2,500-3,300 meters, gaspingly high altitude. Yet the males have enough energy to quarrel. The bill is a special adaptation to allow the bird to feed on very long flowers, especially members of the Datura genus.
The Purple-bibbed Whitetip is probably the rarest hummingbird that WC was able to photograph. This is another lower elevation species, generally in the 900-1,600 meter zone. It does not commonly come to feeders; this photo was along a trail in Rio Silanche. The belligerence captured in the phto is aimed at another male Whitetip.
Any collection of Ecuadorian Hummingbird photos from the slopes of the Andes would be incomplete without this fellow:
The long, bare twin shafts of the tail end in small, spaulate purple-blue paddles, called “rackets.” It’s a tiny hummingbird, with an extravagant tail. And white booties. It’s a specialty of Tandayapa Lodge, and an utterly delightful bird to watch. Only the male has the amazing tail, which it can control for display purposes.
There are 129 species of hummingbirds in Ecuador. They are all astonishing. These six barely begin to show just how astonishing they are.
One thought on “Random Hummingbirds”
Love, love love seeing your images of these flying jewels WC
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