Hummingbirds of Costa Rica

Out of the 338 species of hummingbirds found only in the New World, 53 species can be found in Costa Rica compared to 19 in all of the United States. In the US most species are found in the southwestern part of country and only one species, the ruby-throated, is the only hummingbird on the east coast. 

The diversity of species in such a small country (CR is about the size of West Virginia) and the wide variety of flowering plants means that you don’t have to travel far to be in the thick of hummingbirds. And the eccentric names only hints at the diversity of this group: green hermit, green violetear, purple-crowned fairy, green-crowned brilliant, fiery-throated hummingbird, purple-throated mountain-gem, violet sabrewing, and snowcap. At the end of the tour we had ticked 22 species of hummingbirds!

One of the most hummingbird-rich locations on the tour was a coffee shop in Monteverde know as the ebird hotspot: “Hummingbird Gallery”. This shop was surrounded by hummingbird feeders that were teaming with hummers.

At the Hummingbird Gallery we were surrounded by hummers, flying inches away from our heads as males aggressively defended their feeder. It was truly a 360 degree experience with incredibly close views of these iconic little gems.

A highlight of our hummingbird visit was seeing our first viper of the  trip: a palm viper (Bothriechis lateralis). It was

A front row view of the hummingbirds (and bananaquit) of Monteverde. No binoculars needed.

A highlight of our hummingbird visit was seeing our first viper of the  trip: a palm viper (Bothriechis lateralis). It was hanging from a tree doing a good vine impression but the local hummers knew it was there and mobbed the snake, staying just out of striking distance. We had great views and the viper stayed completely still.


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