In Costa Rica we have 53 species of hummingbirds, which are distributed throughout the country, mainly in the middle and highlands.

The collections of the National Museum of Costa Rica has a representation of 90.5% of the species of hummingbird of the country. In other words, a representation of 43 types, of 53. The oldest skin that holds the National Museum dates from 1900 and is a hummingbird of the largest size (13 cm), highland, is called hummingbird of Talamanca, Eugenes spectabilis.


Hummingbirds are one of the many beautiful species that can be found in Costa Rica. They are known for their small size, fast wings and the ability to float in one place. There are about 300 species of hummingbirds in the world, but only 11 of them can be found in Costa Rica. They live in different flowers and plants, so they can feed on nectar. Some people think they also feed on insects, but this is not true. They can also survive without food for a day or two when they need to migrate or hibernate during the winter.

On the other hand, a curious fact about these are the colors of their plumage. That is, their colors are due to a phenomenon of light reflection called iridescence, produced by microscopic structures located inside the feathers. Depending on the angle with which the light illuminates these microparticles, this is the observed coloration, which varies between green, red, yellow and iridescent blue.

Also, the body of these birds presents different shades of color in different parts of the body, accented, in the head, throat and chest. In the back of hummingbirds there is also iridescence; however, these feathers reflect light in different directions, so they are not attractive.

The Smallest Creatures of Costa Rica

Among them, we find the two smallest species of our country, measuring between 6.5 and 7.5 cm in length. In fact, due to their size and movement mode when flying, these birds sometimes mimic bumblebees. These species are known in Costa Rica as sparkles: one of them is the sparkle (Selasphorus scintilla) and the other, the volcanic sparkle (Selasphorus flammula). These hummingbirds inhabit from the center to the highlands of Costa Rica, especially the volcanic spark.

The most common hummingbird in Costa Rica is the ruby-throated hummingbird. These birds migrate from North America and Mexico to Central America every year. Male birds have a red throat, while the female has a white throat with a red stripe.

These unique hummingbirds are the mangrove hummingbird or Amazilia boucardi and the hummingbird called the coppery crown emerald Microchera cupreiceps.

The mangrove hummingbird is most abundant in the vicinity of the Osa Peninsula; however, over time, its presence has increased even to that of Nicoya, but always close to the mangroves and the coast. It feeds on the nectar of the pineapple mangrove Pelliciera rhizophorae. On the contrary, we find the one with a coppery crown in higher lands such as the Guanacaste and TilarĂ¡n mountain ranges, between 1200 and 1500 meters, in middle lands and the Caribbean slope between 600 and 1500 meters. The latter species is nourished by flowers of tall trees or medium strata in the forest, as well as epiphytic flowers.

Author. Zelda Walters for Sensorial Sunsets.