Ecuador Birds

And then there are these guys. The Booted Rackettail, or Racket-tailed Puffleg, Ocreatus underwoodii. No other hummer in Ecuador has rackets. So the males are easy to ID and their bodies are fairly small. Busy and common hummers at the Tandayapa feeders with a presence from sunup to sundown. Often gangs of them present. The round racket tips are blue black which you can somewhat see here. They zip each other with widely spread tails and males do a lovely split tailed halo maneuver around the perched females. Really, endlessly entertaining.

The males have a glittering green throat that is very strongly demarcated. I think this male is not quite full adult. Though he had full rackets protruding. The birds on the east slope apparently have buffy or orangey leg puffs or pajamas. These east slopers were bright white on the pufflumery. 

Definite juvenile male with a racket and an almost female colored breast and throat. No book I saw pictured the red moustache on juveniles but there it is. Glittering green over the back and dark wings. The puffs are not fully developed yet. 

Now that is the female. Spotty flanks and the tipped tail. None of the books showed the rusty colors on the central tail feathers. Her tail is very forked but never racketed. Little creamy color on the vent.

And undoubtedly a juvenile female. Less flank spotting and the red facial mark again. Boots not quite up to full puffy. Short forked tail. Really nice hummer even without the racket trailers.

More nearly adult female. Red facial marks fading. The puffs about full. Spotting on the flanks reaching across the belly. One of the fine NW Ecuador birds. I am not sure we saw them anywhere but the Tandayapa feeders.

The genus Eriocnemis also have puffs but no rackets. There are nine in the genus in northern South America. They are mountain lovers. These were at Yanacocha at 11 thousand feet and this is the Sapphire-vented Puffleg, E. luciani. Note the blue facial coloration and the very blue vent. Long forked tail is longer than any of the other Pufflegs.

The puffs better shown in contrast here. These were buzzing at the feeders along with the Golden-breasted Pufflegs, E. mosquera, which did not pose for me. They are shorter tailed with a pale vent and no blue on the head and face. They have a golden shimmer on the upper breast. The Black-breasted Puffleg, E. nigrivestis, for which Yanacocha was preserved, has not been seen there in over a year. It only occurs on the slopes of Volcan Pichincha. Hopefully it will be relocated or reappear at this beautiful place.