I knew that Costa Rica was going to be a bird watcher’s paradise – and when one of the first birds I photographed was this hummingbird above, that cemented the notion, It is a Red-Footed Plumeteer and those teeny feet are just too adorable. This is actually rather a large hummingbird, about 4 inches in length. I only got one shot before he flitted away.
Considering that hummingbirds can reach 45 miles per hour, once they are alight it is quite difficult to get a clear shot. Even when hovering over a flower, their wings beat 60 times per second.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that the vibrant colors of the hummingbird are actually produced by the fragmentation of light, not by pigment of the feathers themselves. So, depending on the light source and strength, identifying the species of hummingbird can be frustrating.
Here for example are a few other hummingbirds that I photographed. I am not going to try to identify them:
OTHER FUN FACTS:
- There are more hummingbirds in Costa Rica than in the United States and Canada put together
- Out of 850 totally different hummingbirds in the world, 57 of them can be found in Costa Rica.
- Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world, BUT…
- For their size, hummingbirds have the largest heart & brain of all animals
- Hummingbirds have no sense of smell
- Hummingbird hearts beat from 500 to 1,200 times per minute
- Hummingbirds visit 2,000 to 5,000 flowers a day
- Hummingbirds can consume twice their weight daily
- Their tongues are twice the length of their bills
- Hummingbirds cannot walk, only perch
Only six of the 57 species found on Costa Rica are endemic. I was not fortunate to photograph any of them, so the following are from the internet – they are all spectacular – and worth another visit to see for myself:
COPPER HEADED EMERALD