Hummingbirds in Costa Rica are as varied as they are beautiful. Like gusts of winds fluttering around you, they will bring you back to fairy tales and magic. If you are a hummingbirds lover, please read on, this may be very helpful for your next vacation.
Hummingbirds in Costa Rica are fast, shimmering, charming, and as amazing as they are everywhere else in the Americas.
What is it then that we talk about “hummingbirds of Costa Rica”? Well! For starters, we have more hummingbirds than all Canada and the United States together. In La Paz Waterfall Gardens alone you can find up to 26 species in one reliable place. (Number of species in all North America -Canada, México and United States is 23).
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And all these species fluttering around you!
So, like everything else in this wonderful country of ours, you can see a great diversity without moving from wherever you feel like sitting and watch.
All Costa Ricans are used to hummingbirds, they are seen everywhere in the country, every single day of the year. In the sunny season as much as in the rainy season. Probably you will see a wider variety up in the mountains, but hummingbirds are flying around mangroves and beaches, in the spas in La Fortuna, in the most expensive hotels and the cheapest hostels.
The jewels of the Costa Rican diversity crown are everywhere!
Now, let’s talk about hummingbirds a little:
Hummingbirds are only found in the American continent and are organized in the Trochilidae family (Same order of swallows).
They are the tiniest of birds in the planet, most species measuring 2–5 in (7.5–13 cm) in length.
Their English name comes from the humming sound generated by their whipping wings. In many other languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and also german, dutch and even Russian they are called “colibrí” that it’s thought to come from a Caribbean aboriginal word.
Their mid-air wing-flapping rates are around 70 to 80 per second, enabling them also to go at speeds surpassing 15 m/s (34 mph – 54 km/h; ).
Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any hot-blooded animal. To conserve strength when food supply is limited, and when not seeking, they go into a state comparable to hibernation, reducing the metabolic rate to 1/15th of its natural rate.
Hummingbirds are organized into nine central clades,
- Mountain Gems
According to their relation to nectar-extraction of flowering plants and their range into new territories.
As all hummingbirds depend on flowers to service their fast wavering flights, evolutionary changes in plants and bloom shapes support as well the evolution of new hummingbird species creating a most unique cycle in particular regions of the World.
Some environmental circumstances aroused additional diversification.
This is a ritual that is worth the time and patience to watch.
Hummingbirds are fully grown when they are only a few months old. And they usually have territories branded for breeding where they like to go every year.
Hummingbirds of Costa Rica breed in the sunny season, from November to March.
Ordinarily what may call your attention would be the courtship diving flight that males do to attract the attention of the females.
The courting is graceful and intense. The male will go up to 60 feet in the air and then fall nose-first at a breathtaking speed, then curve, and go again. Over and over.
Their eggs are the smallest bird eggs in the World, and their nests are hard to see as they are very well camouflaged.
Hummingbird nests are tough to spot because they are so little and well concealed.
Usually, the Costa Rican naturalist tour guides find them easily, especially if they are local and used to the trails.
You may locate them on a bridge rail, under a big leaf or at the back of a flower. They are cup-like, small and somewhat soft and usually hidden in the bottom of the rainforest.
Hummingbirds are only found in the American continent.
You can discover them in very different environments and life systems, from the very cool highlands to the very humid and wet rainforests and even in the dry tropical forests.
Hummingbirds usually feed on plants that are “designed” for them. Plants like heliconias, birds of paradise, or vines like Angel’s Trumpets are amicable sources of food for these little birds.
The Sugar Water Polemic
Sometimes it happens that the best areas to spot the hummingbirds of Costa Rica are the places where they offer sugar water to the hummers.
There is a big discussion around this, regarding facts like cleaning of the feeders, the possibility of harming their health and the ineludible fact that feeding wildlife is never, ever a good idea.
The argument goes around the abundance of food that anyways, Costa Rica offers all year round.
Where are the hummingbirds of Costa Rica?
As we said earlier: Wherever you go in Costa Rica, there will be hummingbirds.
Even in paved and crowded cities, if there are flowers to support them, the hummingbirds will be there!
But of course, there are places where they will be easier to find and enjoy.
These are the spots where you can find more species easily:
Central Volcanic Range:
Waterfall Gardens 26 species
Cinchona 25 species
Bajos del Toro (El Silencio and Bosque de Paz) 27 species
Talamanca Mountain Range:
San Gerardo de Dota: Up to 15 species
Monteverde Cloud Forest: Up to 26 species
Up to 15 species, nevertheless, among these are some of the rarest and most beautiful kinds like the Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Green Thorntail, Violet Sabrewing, Brown Violet-ear, Green Hermit, and Green-crowned Brilliant. The Violet-headed Hummingbird, the Black-crested Coquette and perhaps the Garden Emerald.
South Pacific Region
Golfo Dulce in the South Pacific: this region has several kinds of heliconias that attract four classes of hermits.
Hummingbirds of Costa Rica are easy to see and enjoy:
However, let us call your attention to the most transcendent part of following a hummingbirds path:
They all live in beautiful places filled with bright colors.
Wherever hummingbirds are, you will find incredible shinning flowers and myriads of butterflies.