Hummingbirds are very small birds that belong to the Trochilidae Family whose members include more than 330 species that live from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. However, of the 330 species of the Trochilidae family, only four are scientifically recognized as belonging to the genus hummingbird. The rest belongs to other species (more than 100).
Hummingbirds move from flower to flower to find nectar that constitutes the bulk of their diet. These birds are capable of an extremely fast and efficient flight. Flapping their wings several dozens of times per second makes it impossible to distinguish them in flight. Various species of hummingbirds are the only birds capable of flying in reverse.
Independent and more or less aggressive, hummingbirds usually live in loosely knit populations. Depending on the species, they have different ways of feeding and selecting their habitat. Territorial birds exploit flowering plants that are rich in nectar and tend to settle for restricted territories that they defend harshly against any intruder.
Some birds are not content with the nectar of flowers alone. They also suck the juice flowing from damaged or overripe fruits, catch insects in flight or explore the flowers. Hummingbirds even pillage cobwebs to feed on trapped insects. To collect the nectar, species, such as the fairy hummingbird (Heliothryx barroti) or the red-shouldered hummingbird (Eupherusa eximia) pierce the base of the long corolla because their bill is too short to penetrate to the bottom.
Some of the species of hummingbirds include:
Sparkling violetear or Colibri coruscans is a species found from north to west of the South American continent. Like all hummingbirds, it is mainly nectarivorous (it feeds on nectar) although it can add small insects and spiders to its diet to boost protein intake.
Brown violetear or Colibri delphinae nests between 400 and 1600 meters high in the high forests of South America. However, it does not hesitate to descend from its pedestal to feed. It is found in the Guatemalan, Brazilian, Bolivian and Trinidadian forests. This species is particularly aggressive against other hummingbirds.
The white-vented violetear or Colibrí serrirostris is found throughout South America. It is active in dry tropical, subtropical and savannah forests. Males measure 12.5 centimeters and weigh 7 grams while females measure 11 centimeters and weigh 6 grams. It is a colorful species and males have more intense colors than females.
Mexican violetear or Colibri thalassinus is active in the highlands of Mexico to the Andes of Venezuela and Bolivia. This mexican hummingbird is a migratory bird that travels to the United States and Canada. Its habitat consists of fields with bushes and trees between 600 and 3000 meters high. They measure between 9.5 and 11 centimeters and weigh between 5 and 6 grams. Females are smaller and five subspecies have been identified.
Band-tailed barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri)
The bearded hermit can be found in areas of Central America and the northern part of South America. Its size does not exceed 11 centimeters in length and with a weight of up to 5.8 grams. Its chest is orange with a little brown and its back is green with a dark patch over the ear. Its back has a grayish color.
Rufous-breasted hermit (Glaucis hirsutus)
This type of hummingbird is also known as a shaggy hermit. It can be found from southern Panama to Bolivia. It can reach up to 10.7 centimeters in length and weigh approximately 7 grams. Their colors vary between brownish, green, yellow and black, which are distributed between the head, the beak and the body.
Their favorite places to live are the banks of rivers and next to the undergrowth. Unlike other hummingbirds, this genus has demanding habits, only take the pollen from the flowers that have whole petals and whose curvature is equal to that of its beak.
The Hook-billed hermit or Glaucis dohrnii is popularly known as Saber Boy Peak. They can be found in the forests of eastern Brazil, specifically in the states of Espiritu Santo and Bahia, hence their vulgar name. It is a species in danger of extinction due to the threat to its natural habitat.
White-tipped sicklebill (Eutoxeres aquila)
Also known as the sickle-bellied hummingbird, this species can be found in various countries, such as Colombia, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Venezuela. It can measure up to 11.4 centimeters in length and weigh 11 grams. Its colors vary between yellow under the jaw and dark green with black and sometimes yellow lists.
Broad-tipped hermit (Anopetia gounellei)
Another species of hummingbird endemic to Brazil. They can be found in the savanna or open forest areas of northeast Brazil at an altitude of between 500 and 700 meters above sea level. There is little information about this bird because it is difficult to observe.
Emerald-chinned hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei)
It can be found in the subtropical and tropical wooded areas of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Mexico. Generally, it inhabits wooded and degraded zones of these regions.
The Speckled hummingbird or Adelomyia melanogenys can be found in the mountainous areas of Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela at an altitude that exceeds 1000 meters above sea level. Its size does not exceed 8 centimeters in length. Their colors vary between bright green and bronze.
Purple-backed sunbeam (Aglaeactis aliciae)
This species is also known as a white-winged hummingbird or a purple-backed sunbeam. It is found in Peru and lives in tropical and subtropical forests as well as in plantation sites and more than 2,000 meters above sea level. It is currently in danger of extinction like many other types of hummingbirds due to habitat loss.
White-tufted sunbeam (Aglaeactis castelnaudii)
Also known as the cinnamon hummingbird or cinnamon sunbeam, this species inhabits the tropical and subtropical zones of Peru. It can reach up to 12 centimeters in length and weigh up to 8 grams. Its colors vary between dark reddish brown and have a white patch on the chest resembling a decoration.
Violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis)
The Violet-tailed sylph can be found in countries, such as Ecuador and Colombia and live up to 2,100 meters above sea level. They can reach up to 18 centimeters in length. Their colors vary between bright green, violet, blue, white and cream spread over different parts of your body.