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Hummingbird banding begins

Posted on Dec 5, 2013

On December 3 we started hummingbird banding and research at Finca Pura Vida. To say these magnificent birds overwhelmed us is an understatement. We have been having feeders filled for us while we were away from our research station so that when we got here the birds would already be accustomed to the food source. We set our traps last night and filled all of our feeders to the brim to start early. On average over 50 individuals were feeding at one time and we had most likely over 300 individuals feeding in the time period we were working. We constantly had to close traps and nets to catch up on banding already captured individuals.

Finca Pura Vida hummingbird feeders

The most common species we caught was the Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii) which was interesting because last year it was our least encountered species. I took some photos of different ages and sexes to show you this beautiful bird. Once it reaches full breeding plumage the adult male molts to an all-black and green throat.

Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii) (1)

Here are two-hatch year males that are at different stages in their basic body plumage molt.

Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii) (2)

Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii) (4)

The last is what the typical adult female looks like with the black stripe down the middle with large white patches.

Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii) (3)

Our biggest highlight for the day was two White-necked Jacobins (Florisuga mellivora). This is a species that is not supposed to occur on the Nicoya Peninsula.  We caught an adult male last year as well, but with this species occurring two years in a row it begs the question of whether this is a vagrant or a species that was overlooked here. We caught both a male and a female.

White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora)

The last photo is of a Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) and what their amazing gorget feathers look like head on.

Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae)

We caught a multitude of species the last couple of days and I will post more on them soon. Yesterday we started setting up our station at Cabo Blanco and today our interns arrive.


Sean Graesser
RTPI Affiliate

Photos © Sean Graesser