An Introduction to the Birds of Tropical America


Most of the 40 different 'orders' in the classification system of birds are obvious even to the non-ornithologist. Hummingbirds, however, are in the order Apodiformes, which also includes the very different Swifts. Swifts will be described elsewhere.

Black-throated Mango
Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) Female
ProAves Cerulean Warbler Reserve, San Vicente de Chucuri, Santander, Colombia
Hummingbirds can hover in the air, as do many types of bird, but they can also uniquely fly backwards.

White-necked Jacobin
White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) Male
ProAves Blue-billed Curassow Reserve, Puerto Pinzon, Boyaca, Colombia
Hummingbirds come in almost all colors, although green is most common.

Sword-billed Hummingbird
Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)
ProAves Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve, Urrao, Antioquia, Colombia
The Sword-billed Hummingbird can reach nectar in flowers that other hummingbirds can't.

Pale-bellied Hermit
Pale-bellied Hermit (Phaethornis anthophilus)
ProAves Blue-billed Curassow Reserve, Puerto Pinzon, Boyaca, Colombia
Hermits are brown hummingbirds normally found deep in the forest.

Green-bearded Helmetcrest
Green-bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon guerinii) Male
Sumapaz National Park, Colombia
High altitude hummingbirds often have short bills because of the smaller flowers found in the 'paramo' ecosystem above the tree line. Helmetcrests are found as high as any other species of hummingbird, often over 4000 meters above sea level.

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