Incredible Birds of Costa Rica - Part 1 || Hummingbirds

The first time I saw a hummingbird was in February 2019 in the famous crooked street of San Francisco. Before that, I had always wanted to see a hummingbird and would desperately search for them at various places in India. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew that there are no hummingbirds in India, but I was in constant denial of this.

The first time I saw a hummingbird was in February 2019 in the famous crooked street of San Francisco. Before that, I had always wanted to see a hummingbird and would desperately search for them at various places in India. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew that there are no hummingbirds in India, but I was in constant denial of this. During our Costa Rica tricks we saw lot of them and that too 


The fact is that hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere. If you see a hummingbird-like creature in the Eastern Hemisphere, it is most likely a sunbird. Like Hummingbirds, sunbirds are tiny, pretty, and have pointed beaks for feeding on nectar. But apart from these similarities, both these birds are fundamentally different. While hummingbirds are closer to swifts, sunbirds are closer to crows. Hummingbirds hover over flowers to sip on nectar, whereas sunbirds like to perch close to the flowers to consume the nectar.

The fact is that hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere. If you see a hummingbird-like creature in the Eastern Hemisphere, it is most likely a sunbird. Like Hummingbirds, sunbirds are tiny, pretty, and have pointed beaks for feeding on nectar. But apart from these similarities, both these birds are fundamentally different. While hummingbirds are closer to swifts, sunbirds are closer to crows. Hummingbirds hover over flowers to sip on nectar, whereas sunbirds like to perch close to the flowers to consume the nectar. 


There are 341 known species of hummingbirds in the world. The smallest of these is the Bee Hummingbird, which is about 5-6 cm in length and weighs about 1.5-2.5 grams. This hummingbird is found in Cuba and is the smallest bird in the world. The largest hummingbird is the Giant hummingbird, which can reach a length of about 23cm and can weigh up to 24 grams. This bird is found on the eastern coast of South America. The Bee Hummingbird flaps its wings at the rate of 80 beats per second. In comparison, the Giant Hummingbird hovers at the rate of 15 beats per second. The larger the hummingbird, the more energy it consumes to hover.

There are 341 known species of hummingbirds in the world. The smallest of these is the Bee Hummingbird, which is about 5-6 cm in length and weighs about 1.5-2.5 grams. This hummingbird is found in Cuba and is the smallest bird in the world. The largest hummingbird is the Giant hummingbird, which can reach a length of about 23cm and can weigh up to 24 grams. This bird is found on the eastern coast of South America. The Bee Hummingbird flaps its wings at the rate of 80 beats per second. In comparison, the Giant Hummingbird hovers at the rate of 15 beats per second. The larger the hummingbird, the more energy it consumes to hover. 


However, we digress. Neither the bee hummingbird, nor the giant hummingbird is found in Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica is home to over 50 different species of Hummingbirds, and we were fortunate enough to see about 15 of them. We saw hummingbirds around Irazu Volcano near San Jose, in Monteverde, and at Papa Gayo peninsula.

However, we digress. Neither the bee hummingbird, nor the giant hummingbird is found in Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica is home to over 50 different species of Hummingbirds, and we were fortunate enough to see about 15 of them. We saw hummingbirds around Irazu Volcano near San Jose, in Monteverde, and at Papa Gayo peninsula. 


The first Hummingbird we saw was a fiery-throated hummingbird on our way to Irazu Volcano. This medium-size hummingbird was perched on a branch right next to the road. We just happened to spot it from our moving cab, and the bird was generous enough to let us photograph it. A fiery-throated hummingbird can reach about 11cm in length and weigh about 5.6 grams.

The first Hummingbird we saw was a fiery-throated hummingbird on our way to Irazu Volcano. This medium-size hummingbird was perched on a branch right next to the road. We just happened to spot it from our moving cab, and the bird was generous enough to let us photograph it. A fiery-throated hummingbird can reach about 11cm in length and weigh about 5.6 grams. 


We also happened to spot the tiny Volcano Hummingbird, though it was too small and quick for us to photograph. It is easy to mistake the Volcano Hummingbird for a wasp because of its size and speed. This hummingbird can reach the length of 7.5 cm and weight of about 3 grams. At lower elevations the Volcano Hummingbird is replaced by its relative, the Scintillant Hummingbird.

We also happened to spot the tiny Volcano Hummingbird, though it was too small and quick for us to photograph. It is easy to mistake the Volcano Hummingbird for a wasp because of its size and speed. This hummingbird can reach the length of 7.5 cm and weight of about 3 grams. At lower elevations the Volcano Hummingbird is replaced by its relative, the Scintillant Hummingbird. 


It was outside the Monteverde National Park that we saw the maximum variety of hummingbirds. One remarkable hummingbird that we saw here was the Stripe-tailed Hummingbird. This is another medium-sized hummingbird that can reach a length of 10cm and weight about 4.3 grams. This bird is metallic green in color and has rufous-cinnamon-colored underwings.

It was outside the Monteverde National Park that we saw the maximum variety of hummingbirds. One remarkable hummingbird that we saw here was the Stripe-tailed Hummingbird. This is another medium-sized hummingbird that can reach a length of 10cm and weight about 4.3 grams. This bird is metallic green in color and has rufous-cinnamon-colored underwings.


Another medium-sized hummingbird we saw around Monteverde was the Lesser violet-ear. This is a glittering green hummingbird with very conspicuous violet patches on both the cheeks. This hummingbird can reach a length of 12 cm and weight of 5.6 grams. This hummingbird and its relative, the Mexican violet-ear, were earlier categorized into a common species known as the Green Violet-ear. This has now been split into two.

Another medium-sized hummingbird we saw around Monteverde was the Lesser violet-ear. This is a glittering green hummingbird with very conspicuous violet patches on both the cheeks. This hummingbird can reach a length of 12 cm and weight of 5.6 grams. This hummingbird and its relative, the Mexican violet-ear, were earlier categorized into a common species known as the Green Violet-ear. This has now been split into two. 


We were also able to spot the Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbord, which is characterized by a straight pointed bill and dark spots on its throat and chest (female). Another identifying feature of this hummingbird is the white spot behind the eye. It is primarily a forest dweller, but can also be seen at the fringes of the forest. This is one of the larger hummingbirds, with male growing up to 5.1 inches and weighing about 9.5 grams.

We were also able to spot the Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbord, which is characterized by a straight pointed bill and dark spots on its throat and chest (female). Another identifying feature of this hummingbird is the white spot behind the eye. It is primarily a forest dweller, but can also be seen at the fringes of the forest. This is one of the larger hummingbirds, with male growing up to 5.1 inches and weighing about 9.5 grams.


Another hummingbird that we spotted was the Ruby-throated hummingbird. This is a migratory hummingbird that likes to spend the summer in North America and Winter in Central America. It migrates across great distances. Considering its small size, this sounds like a significant feat. It is a medium-sized hummingbird with length of up to 9cm and weight of up to 6 grams.    We also spotted several other hummingbirds, but clicking them was difficult. These are tiny creatures that move really fast and you need to have a really good lens and camera to do justice to these beautiful creatures. But we consider ourselves lucky that we were able to manage whatever we could. I still wish we had these birds in India as well, but I guess we would need to manage with our sunbirds :).

Another hummingbird that we spotted was the Ruby-throated hummingbird. This is a migratory hummingbird that likes to spend the summer in North America and Winter in Central America. It migrates across great distances. Considering its small size, this sounds like a significant feat. It is a medium-sized hummingbird with length of up to 9cm and weight of up to 6 grams.

We also spotted several other hummingbirds, but clicking them was difficult. These are tiny creatures that move really fast and you need to have a really good lens and camera to do justice to these beautiful creatures. But we consider ourselves lucky that we were able to manage whatever we could. I still wish we had these birds in India as well, but I guess we would need to manage with our sunbirds :).

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