Ecuador Birds 2012

And who knew the Sparkling Violetear would be the showboat at Sumaco? They are dominant feeder possessors. In Quito they are the major bird vocalist and stake out whole trees and yards as far as I could tell. At Guango they are absent in February. They must all be in Quito. They are stunning but they can be assholes. They must know they are beautiful and they are large hummingbirds. The largest of the Violetears, listed as common most places, you must have some elevation to be in their territory. 

Definite aggressive posture, they can pop the blue ears out to express, well, indignation, disbelief, superiority, you name it. And that is a pretty impressive beak to compete with even the heavy billed Brilliants.

Bronzier in the back at this angle, and look at that tail. I am not sure I even saw a female but she would be far more muted in tail color and in all areas.

The face of the possessor. They want the whole feeder, not just the one side. And they like a clear flight zone around them or they will lean and stare and flap some blue ears at you.

What you see right before a good ramming I suppose. These are 16 cm males, bigger than the Sabrewings and the hefty Brilliants.

And showing the bronzing even onto the shoulders. The flared ears again. This may be a female but the light could be fooling me. 

Here is one of those almost shots I mentioned. A bad shot really. Both sides of the mountains host the delicate Booted Rackettails. Into Columbia and Venezuela, see the images from the NW side here. On the eastern side they appear to be far less common, at least at the Sumaco foothill ranges. Though they do sport these very impressive orange boots. They are pure white in the puffy pants on the west side. This is the male and I think I only saw one or two females at all on the east side. Tiny things, electrically green when you catch the right reflective angle. Which indeed, is another factor in shooting hummers.

And this powerhouse personality looks like a nothing hummer in the bird books. This is Adelomyia melanogenys, the Speckled Hummingbird. These things were zipping through the woods at San Isidro, so it was one of the first species in the east we were watching. This bird has almost a true song. You hear it and do not think it is a hummingbird. You can hear it here. Male and females both pretty much look like this. And these little hummers were half the size of some of the big guys and were almost feeder fearless.

Here is the mighty mite Speckled with the towering Sparkling at threat.