Ecuador Birds

A dainty hummer among the big boys at Tandayapa. There are 10 species of Woodstar in northern South America. In five different genera. This species just makes it up to Panama and is the Purple-throated Woodstar, Calliphlox mitchellii. They look somewhat like some of our small North American species but do not behave like them. Flight is cocked up tail flight, helicopter hover. Several of them have distinctive tail shapes. This one has a deeply forked and fairly long tail. Males and females are very different in most species. And males lose the bright throat colors in non-breeding season. This species barely makes it up into Panama.

This is a juvenile male trying to molt into full colors. Some of the orange color is retained below the green in the full male coloration. Very young juveniles look like the females below. This transitional bird is not pictured in Restall's book.

This is the lovely adult female. Bright orange belly, bright orange flank patches, orange tail base and orange tail tips. With a white eyeline that often curves back to continue onto the white throat slash.

The smallest hummer competition at Tandayapas feeders was a race between the Woodstar female above, the Rackettail females and these intense little hummers. This is the Western Emerald, Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus. Only two in the genus in Ecuador and the other is mainly east slope and Amazonian. Small short-tailed little reflective jewels. They came about once or twice an hour when we were there and I never definitely saw a female. They are white-breasted with a strong eyeline.

I did say jewels. Just beautiful things and only 11 cm with beak. They are not aggressive at the feeders and tried to wait for quiet feeders before approach. They are quick direct fliers.

The males are green everywhere with other overtones. Note the diminutive size compared to the feeder flower. And the dark, almost blue tail.

Among the long-tailed species in Ecuador is the striking Violet-tailed Sylph, Aglaiocercus coelestis. Always an eye stopper. The tail goes off the screen here another body length.

They often perched on branches and the fence railing and gazed around. This is likely a male that is not quite full adult. It did have a fine tail and we saw some shorter tailed younger males as well.

The males do have reflective foreheads and throats. Green on top and purple on bottom. The two other long tailed species in Ecuador are both Trainbearers with very different flight and habits. They never attended at Tandayapa's feeders while we were there and favored higher altitudes.

The only female I saw the whole week. They are not long tailed and have the really nice orange breast and belly color. They have some bright reflective green on the forehead as well. Tail is squared off with some white tipping. I never saw one stop to feed at any feeder.