Hummingbirds are a fascinating family of birds, with around 338 different species found exclusively in the New World. Their unique ability to hover for extended periods and even fly backwards sets them apart from other birds. Despite their small size, hummingbirds pack an incredible amount of energy, as demonstrated by the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s ability to flap its wings up to 200 times per second during courtship displays. These birds are also among the flashiest in the world, with male hummingbirds sporting iridescent feathers to attract mates. From the rainforest to the desert to the Andes, hummingbirds have adapted to thrive in various environments across their range from Alaska to South America. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the most spectacular hummingbirds in the world for you to enjoy!
The Fiery-throated Hummingbird is a truly remarkable bird with its stunning iridescence that is hard to find in any other bird. It can only be spotted in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and western Panama, making it a top destination for bird enthusiasts. A visit to Central America is incomplete without catching a glimpse of this beautiful bird.
The male Marvellous Spatuletail is an extraordinary bird species that has unique racket-shaped appendages used in their courtship displays. These appendages are also capable of independent movement. Unfortunately, this bird species is only found in a small area of northern Peru, which makes it even more concerning that they are endangered due to habitat loss. As a result, the Marvellous Spatuletail has been listed on the IUCN Red List.
The Red-tailed Comet is undeniably stunning with its vibrant hues and lengthy tail, making it one of the most attractive hummingbirds globally. These birds inhabit dry, high-altitude regions in Bolivia and upper parts of Argentina.
Anna’s Hummingbird is a unique and hardy creature that can be found year round in the northernmost regions. These tiny birds have even been known to winter in places as far north as Southeast Alaska! To survive the cold winter nights, they use a fascinating technique called “torpor”, which involves a significant drop in their metabolic rate of up to 95%. However, their internal body clock wakes them up two hours before dawn, and they shiver until their body temperature rises back up to 40°c. This process is truly amazing and allows Anna’s Hummingbirds to thrive in even the coldest climates.
The Ecuadorian Hillstar is a remarkable species that can survive at elevations of over 5200m or 17,000 feet in the northern Andes. Despite being exposed to freezing temperatures and thin air, these birds are able to adapt and thrive in their environment. The secret to their survival lies in their diet – they primarily consume the orange flowers of chuquiraga plants that grow on the slopes of volcanic peaks. It’s truly amazing how these birds have developed such incredible abilities to survive in such extreme conditions.
Male Long-tailed Sylphs are truly an amazing sight with their long, shimmering tails. These birds can be found in the cloud forests of the northern Andes, where they swiftly fly through the thick foliage, trailing their sparkling streamers behind them.
The Rufous-crested Coquette is a small hummingbird that boasts one of the greatest hairdos among all birds. It can be found in patches throughout lowland rainforests spanning from Panama to Bolivia.
The Wire-crested Thorntail hummingbird is a fascinating sight to behold with its unique alien-like appearance. Its lengthy head feathers resemble antenna while its tail is equally impressive in length. These birds are frequently spotted hovering around the eastern side of the Andes mountain range.
The Velvet-purple Coronet is an eye-catching bird that displays a magnificent blend of iridescent hues. This species can be spotted in the Colombian and northern Ecuadorian regions situated in the western foothills of the Andes. If you’re interested in capturing its beauty, join our Ecuador Photo Workshop.
The Booted Racket-tail bird is a sight to behold with its distinctive and unusual appearance. Its fuzzy “boots” and spatule-like tail appendages make it look like it belongs in another world. This bird can be observed in the cloud forests of the Andes, spanning across Venezuela to Bolivia. If you’re interested in capturing a photo of this unique species, join our Ecuador Photo Workshop.
The male Black-tailed Trainbearer sports an extraordinarily long tail that is noteworthy even amongst other birds. When it comes to staking out their territory, these birds emit a loud cracking noise as their tail feathers collide. This species can be found across a vast area spanning from Colombia to southern Peru, and its resilience has enabled it to thrive in the harsh, high-altitude environment of the Andes. If you’re interested in capturing a snapshot of this unique bird, consider signing up for our Ecuador Photo Workshop.
The Rainbow-bearded Thornbill is a stunning hummingbird that can be found in the páramo grasslands of the northern Andes in countries like Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. With its strikingly colorful gorget, it’s definitely a sight to behold!
Have you heard of the Sword-billed Hummingbird? It’s a fascinating little bird with the longest bill of any known bird species! This bird can be found in the cloud forests of the Andes, spanning from Venezuela to Bolivia. Interestingly, the Sword-billed has developed a close relationship with several species of long and tubular flowers, which have co-evolved alongside it. Due to its unique bill size, this bird has exclusive access to the nectar of these flowers. In return, the Sword-billed serves as a highly efficient pollinator – a perfect example of symbiosis in nature! If you’re interested in capturing a photograph of this incredible species, consider joining our Ecuador Photo Workshop.