“A resonance of emerald..”

Ecuador has about 134 different species of hummingbirds. Compared to 1 in Maine and 0 in  England, this is really quite overwhelming. They are not good at staying still for photos, and they are also not easy to identify, but the variety is astonishing. I have been completely unable to exercise self-control and limit my number of photos, so stop when you get bored.

Different shaped beaks to fit into specifically-shaped flowers:

Tawny-bellied hermit

P1120752

with whip-like tongues:

P1140053
Empress Brilliant

“Ears”,

P1150333
Violetear

Crests,

Wire-crested Thorntail
Wire-crested Thorntail

or tails that Isadora Duncan would envy, like these:

Violet-Tailed Sylph
Violet-tailed Sylph
P1120787
Male Booted Racket-tail
Empress Brilliant
Empress Brilliant

Some have fluffy pompoms round their ankles.

P1130769
Puffleg

 

They are also very territorial and engage in frequent spats:

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and ??
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and something I can’t ID!

And most of them are iridescently glorious, with what is called “structural color”. The iridescent colors  “are the result of the refraction of incident light caused by the microscopic structure of the feather barbules. The refraction works like a prism, splitting the light into rich, component colors. As the viewing angle changes, the refracted light becomes visible in a glowing, shimmering iridescent display.” (Cornell University All About Birds website). If the light angle is wrong, the feathers just look black.

Lesser Violetear?

P1140046

P1150124
Golden-tailed sapphire

Green-crowned brilliant?

Purple-bibbed whitetip
Purple-bibbed whitetip
Green-crowned Woodnymph
Green-crowned Woodnymph

Puffleg

Fawn-breasted Brilliant
Fawn-breasted Brilliant
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Rufous-tailed hummingbird

PS: My title today is a line from Emily Dickinson’s poem, The Hummingbird.

…A route of evanescence
With a revolving wheel;
A resonance of emerald,
A rush of cochineal;..

PPS: If you are interested in their behavior, this recent article calls hummingbirds “bees with feathers”, and argues for treating them as an example of convergent evolution:

http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/13/12/20170610

 

5 thoughts on ““A resonance of emerald..””

  1. Excellent! Loved your photos.. quite a feat! Have a wonderful holiday season. Best to George!

    On Sun, Dec 10, 2017 at 11:45 AM, Eyes on the Wild wrote:

    > myip2014 posted: “Ecuador has about 134 different species of hummingbirds. > Compared to 1 in Maine and 0 in England, this is really quite > overwhelming. They are not good at staying still for photos, and they are > also not easy to identify, but the variety is astonishing. I ” >

    Like

  2. Moira, I am astounded at how many beautiful birds you saw! I love my hummers and wait for them to come every year..only rufous, of course!

    “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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