Ian’s Bird of the Week – Scintillant Hummingbird

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) by Ian

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Scintillant Hummingbird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/25/10

At the Hotel Savegre (http://www.savegre.co.cr/) where I stayed in the highlands in Costa Rica in pursuit of the Resplendent Quetzal, a variety of Hummingbirds were regular visitors to the hummingbird feeders and the flowers in the garden. The largest of these was the Magnificent Hummingbird, up to 14cm/5.5in in length and 10g in weight – sparrow sized – as in the first photo.

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Ian

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Ian

Size, however, isn’t everything particularly in hummingbirds and big ones risk looking like, dare I say it, mere ordinary birds. Much of the fascination in hummingbirds is how insect-like they are, so the smaller the better, and my favourite was the tiny Scintillant Hummingbird. The males, second and third photo, tip the scales at 2.1g with a length of 6.5cm/2.6in (the females average 2.3g and 7cm) and perched, seemingly weightless, on the tips and edges of the leaves of Zantedeschia plants. Their over-sized orange gorgets are very striking and this species is endemic to the mountain slopes of Costa Rica and Western Panama.

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) by Ian

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) by Ian

Incidentally, the smallest hummingbird of all, in fact the smallest bird of all, is the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba with the males, again smaller than the females, averaging 1.6g and 5cm/2in, not that much smaller the Scintillant Hummingbird. The largest is the Giant Hummingbird of the Andes, up to 23g in weight and 22cm/8.7in long and apparently swift-like in flight. Not surprisingly, the Bee Hummingbird is on my bucket list, the Giant isn’t.

Our premature wet season continues in North Queensland, so the website has received plenty of attention. I’ve revised the Thrush galleries with the addition of 6 Central American species, added a couple of swallows and the badly-named Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher – it may be silky but it’s not a flycatcher and it mostly eats fruit:

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

Black-faced Solitaire

Mangrove Swallow

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher

Best wishes,


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,

454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818

Phone: +61-7 4751 3115

Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au

Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

Wow! What gorgeous Hummingbirds. Love that Scintillant’s colors, but the Magnificent is also magnificent. What a creative Hand the Lord used when they were created.

Who does great things, and unsearchable, Marvelous things without number. (Job 5:9 NKJV)

The Hummingbirds belong to the Trochilidae Family of the Apodiformes Order. That Order not only has Hummingbirds, but also Owlet-nightjars, Treeswifts and Swifts.

The colors of the Scintillant fit right in with today’s day of Thanksgiving here in America.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us on this blog!

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:8 KJV)


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