Small, aggressive, energetic, and colorful, hummingbirds have been a target for my lens for several years. Four hummingbird feeders off our deck have, at times, had nearly 100 individuals clamoring for the sugar water.
At other times, as right now, an aggressive individual keeps all the others away. While I’ve identified 4 species here over the years, the majority are Anna’s. A few smaller rufous are always around and it’s usually an individual of this species that keeps all others at bay. An occasional black-chinned appears off and on during the summer but only during spring migration do I see an occasional calliope.
Anna’s Hummingbird Rufous Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are unique; found only in the western hemisphere. They range from southern Alaska to Patagonia, including islands of the Caribbean, but the majority of species occur in tropical and subtropical Central and South America within the tropical and subtropical forests of the northern Andes. Ecuador has over 130 species.
As hummingbirds primary food is nectar from flowers, many bill designs have evolved to utilize the great variety of tropical flowers.
One could easily see the evolution of the swordbill hummingbird’s bill to extract nectar from flowers too deep for other birds to obtain.
On my trips to Central and South America I’ve had an opportunity to photograph a lot of hummingbirds, I think my total is somewhere near 40 (meaning I have well over 100 left to see and photograph! Never happen!).
Taking images of hummingbirds in flight is a challenge as the speed of their wings requires extreme shutter speeds …
…so a “set-up” where several flashes are often arranged near a feeder or flower to stop the action is often used.
Personally, I prefer the photos of the perched birds better as they show some of the habitat but because they don’t sit very long and move fast, I have a lot of frames with nothing but the perch.
Here are some of the ones I’ve captured over several trips to Central and South America.
Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Ecuador)
Green Thorntail (Ecuador)
Long-billed Hermit (Panama)
Collared Inca (Ecuador)
Purple-crowned Fairy (Costa Rica)
Glowing Puffleg (Ecuador)
Booted Raquet-tail (Ecuador)
Sapphire-vented Puffleg (Ecuador)
Violet-bellied Hummingbird (Panama)
Brown Violet-ear (Ecuador)
Great Sapphirewing (Costa Rica)
Black Mango (Panama)
Buff-winged Starfrontlet (Ecuador)
White-necked Jacobin (Ecuador) Purple-throated Woodstar (Ecuador)
Violet-tailed Sylph (Ecuador) Velvet-purple Coronet (Ecuador)
Sparkling Violet-ear (Ecuador) Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Ecuador)
Rufous-crested Coquette (Panama) Buff-tailed Coronet (Ecuador)