Ecuador Birds 2012

And one other large species that I could not get to come closer. Preferred the feeders hanging away from the Violetear terror zones. This is one of the great large east side hummers that is more common in the lowlands. This is Gould's Jewelfront, Heliodoxa aurescens, essentially a Brilliant with a different name and one with a patchy lowland range in Amazonia. Always below 1400 meters, it sneaks into Sumaco's 1200 meter range in lower numbers. The males are a striking collection of reflective contrasts. Forehead and chin are dark but reflect blues and violets. The red-orange heart shield is present in males and females but is less striking in the females. The throat, belly, face and most of the body can stun with green iridescence. Amazing things. I hope to see more in the lowlands some day.

And a smaller striking species in Thalurania, this is the Fork-tailed Woodnymph, T. furcata. The males are striking iridescent greens and purples. There are three species in northern South America and they essentially inhabit distinct sections of the continent. On the east side of the mountains this is the species. And it is a lowland bird that spills into Sumaco's foothills again. Females in all three species are white bellied with less forked and shorter tails.


A rarity among Hummers in the big hummer world and surely Sumaco must be one of the few places in the world to see it on a feeder. This is Campylopterus villaviscensio, the Napo Sabrewing. Its range is in the eastern foothills of Ecuador with two small patches also shown in the Birds of Peru. It has been found on outlying foothills in Columbia as well. This is a juvenile male which is not pictured in any book. Frankly it makes the images of adult males in all the books except Birds of Ecuador look mostly half-hearted. Ridgely does seem to show the violet blue extending down nearly this far. But this is a far more impressive extension. Females lack the throat iridescence.

I believe this is the same young male. And it is likely the only one I saw. You can imagine the belly and breast trying to green up here. These are large hummers, as are most Sabres. Possibly worth the trip to Sumaco alone.

The hummer of the eastern slopes that is a fooler. Can look like the females of other hummers, though it is generally smaller than several of the female Brilliants. The spotting I think is somewhat distinctive in distribution. And the pictures in the Birds of Peru are much superior to the Birds of NSA in this bird's case. It was a fast an active bird perching cautiously in back of the feeders and watching for traffic. This is the Many-spotted Hummingbird, Taphrospilus hypostictus.

The posterior eye spot is like many of the Brilliants. The greens and grays without any forehead capping and the breast spot distribution are helpful. It never has a malar stripe like some of the bigger females in Heliodoxa.

The base of the bill does seem to consistently have some orange marking. The tail is fairly square and mostly darkened. Not a common bird anywhere apparently.

Guango has a group of Sword-billed Hummingbirds that I did manage a few male shots from. The single female I saw was being coy. This male does not appear to be a full adult yet, though there were some full adults around. Still astounding again after last year's encounters with this species in Yanacocha. Nice tucked pink feet. And a strong posterior eye mark. 

The same juvie male in facial close up.