Ecuador Birds

There are three Colibri species in the NW. And this is the non-green version. This is Brown Violetear, Colibri delphinae. All three species have the bright blue-purple ears which can be flared out for emphasis. Sexes are similar in the Brown and it is the rarer of the trio in Ecuador. It does range up into Central America as well. Generally solitary, it was shy at the feeders. And tried to position itself away from large humans like myself. Here it is hiding behind Racketails. 

You can see the similarities here in the Green Violetear, Colibri thalassinus. It was a 3 to 4 times a day visitor at the Tandayapa feeders. Looks similar to the third species, the Sparkling Violetear, which is slightly larger with some blue on the belly. The Sparkling was the dominant hummer in Quito and at higher altitudes. It made no appearances at 6000 feet. It was possibly the most vocal bird in Quito.

Greens were far more common in the Costa Rican mountains. Where this was taken. At the Monte Verde feeders they were one of the dominants and also vocal.

This is another altitude loving hummingbird, that was present at Yanacocha. It was very active at the feeders there which are reached by walking back about a mile and a half on the main trail at 11 thousand feet. This is the Tyrian Metaltail, Metallura tyrianthina. This species if the most widespread by a significant margin of the five species in northern south America. All are altitude lovers. This is the male facial profile. They appear dark and smudgy on the breast. 

The female lacks the bright throat markings and is paler on the breast but still appears dusky. Note the very short bill of the genus. You can see the Tyrian's red/copper tail here which can be somewhat flashy in the light. Most of the other Metaltails have green or blue tails. The Viridian Metaltail is found on the east slope of the Andes in Ecuador. The Violet-throated and Neblina Metaltails are in southern Ecuador.

And a blurred flash of the tail here also. Zinging by they appear very dark except for the flashy tail. They are dexterous at dangling from branches and stems and flower heads.

The reason to walk the Yanacocha main trail, other than the stunning views and fall-offs into cloud cover is this bird. This is the distinctive and alien hummer, the Sword-billed Hummingbird, Ensifera ensifera. Surely one of the two or three most unusual hummers in the world. This is the female and we saw one feeding on a dangling bloom on the main trail before we got to the feeders. There are several different kinds of large bloomed flowers at that altitude. This bird is 14 cm long with the beak. It was very difficult to see until the feeders were placed at Yanacocha. Now it is apparently visible there most of the year in the feeder area. The male is darker headed and darker breasted. We did see males but they were faster than my camera. This female stayed on the perch and forayed to the feeders intermittently. She was perched at about 15 feet above the feeder array.

Another high altitude lover. This is the female of the Great Sapphirewing, Pterophanes cyanopterus. 20 cm without the huge beak this is a hummer so large her wing beats look swallowlike. And were almost stopped at this moderate shutter speed. You can see the rich sapphire in the wings. The male is deep blue green over most of the body with even more sapphire in the wing coverts. And yes, the feet are pinker in this species than most. Nearly as large as the Giant Hummingbird, which is found in more open high altitude habitat.