Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds and are found only in the Americas. There are many reasons why hummingbirds are interesting, and even more why you should find them here, in Costa Rica. Take a look:
Spotting Hummingbirds in Costa Rica
There are over 330 species of hummingbirds in total, with more than 50 species found in Costa Rica. There are even two species of hummingbirds that are ONLY found in Costa Rica. These endemic birds are the mangrove hummingbird and the coppery-headed emerald. Their unique anatomy and their flight patterns make hummingbirds one of the most interesting of all the families of birds.
In spite of their size, many hummingbirds can cover thousands of miles in their migrations. Imagine a creature weighing just a few grams making the journey from the Aleutian Islands to Baja, California. Or picture the tiny ruby-throated hummingbird that travels from Canada to Costa Rica!
People like to place feeders with sugar water to attract these brilliant little visitors. The hummingbirds quickly learn that a feast is waiting for them, and they will visit the feeders regularly. They are jealous and territorial too, so they often return to the same feeders as well. Hummingbirds will spend as much time defending their feeding spots as they do feeding.
One can sit for hours observing with awe these “sugar stations” and the frequent tricks they perform to feed and stop others from feeding. In locations like Monteverde, Cerro de la Muerte, and La Virgen, visitors can see 20+ species at a single feeder.
Fast Pollinators of the Forest
Hummingbirds, considered by some the jewels of all birds, are very important pollinators.
They develop some of the most specialized relationships with plants and flowers. The shape of the bills of some hummingbirds has developed to perfectly match the shape of certain flowers. It is an exclusive relationship of pollination between the hummingbird and the plant, making them not just beautiful but essential to the local ecosystems.
Throughout Costa Rica, whether in the rainforest or in a hotel garden, visitors can expect to see and enjoy the flashes of color, the spectacular plumage, and the wondrous flight of the hummingbird. Try to be quick and take a pic, because you're looking at a local star!