Ecuador Birds 2012

And truly I think this species is my favorite hummingbird photo subject ever. I went a little nuts trying to get good shots of these males and females. This is a she and this is the Wire-crested Thorntail, Discosura popelairii. Birds of Peru does show the female with some tufting on top or cresting. Not really well shown in Restall's Birds of NSA. And it seems to show reddening of the beak. This is a jet black beak and that black of the belly extends way down. The white side patches are not well shown by Restall either. These are tiny, Coquette sized things, flying like bumblebees. Check out those orange leggings. And note the white moustache, which none of the male stages wear.

Here is the opening photo from page one and it shows the juvenile Wire-crested male. Not much more head dressing than a female but those tail feathers are coming on. Note the blue colors in them. And the blue in the rump below the white band. The face appears dark here but is intensely green reflective in the right light. This bird is only found on the east side of the Andes from Columbia through Peru. Forest and foothills from 600 to 1600 meters.

And I don't know when one graduates to fully wired but I don't think this male is quite there. Tail is a bit short also though longer than the above juvenile. You can see some green in the forehead here. And some back bronzing.

Possibly fully wired. And greened though still not reflecting in the stun range. This tail is likely full. And you can see in the full males the chest below the reflective green is dark blue. The Black-bellied Thorntail is similar, but unwired and lives in the lowlands.

Let's call this one 70% wired. Shows the intense bronze on the back and the nice blue tones in the upper tail. Red-orange leggings.

One last male. Come one. Look at those things.

And female vs. female. With that bold moustache and some blue tones seen in the white-tipped tail.

And the most diminutive hummer group again. The Woodstars. They were on the feeders at Guango. And at Sumaco mostly on the big flowering shrubs next to the cabins. Very hard to shoot there. At Guango, these were all White-bellied Woodstars, Chaetocercus mulsant. About the size of our Ruby-throats in the east but very different flight and attitude.

The throat is intensely reflective in the right light. You can see some red-purple here.

The poor but only shot I got of the female White-belly. Still with the eye mask, no red in throat and note the orange flanks and chest band. These are dainty things and the females and juveniles are difficult and not well studied in all the phases.

And in Sumaco, as I said, they spent most of their time hovering in the flower bushes. This is likely a juvenile female. And Gorgeted and Amethyst are the other choices in Sumaco. The female tails are useful and because this appears dark with white tipping and this bird seems to show a central throat flake of red, this is likely an Amethyst Woodstar, Calliphlox amethystina. I will accept arguments.