I always look forward to seeing which of the numerous species of hummingbirds I will spot first once we return to Jaltemba Bay each fall. When we arrived last week it was already dark, but the very next morning I spotted a Violet-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia violiceps) pecking at the red tail light on our truck! Needless to say my first job that day was to get a feeder hung up for that not so subtle hummer.
This bird is very easy to identify with its bluish-violet crown, white breast, large size of 4-4.5 inches (10-11.5cm) and black-tipped red bill. The males and females of this species are similar in looks. They are very feisty birds that are quick to defend the feeders as their own drinking fountains! The mixture I use in the feeders is 1/4 cup of sugar to one cup of water. I clean the feeders each time I replace the liquid, which is about every three days.
The flashy emerald-coloured Colibri de Berilo (Berylline Hummingbird) is also a consistent visitor to the feeders at our casa near El Tonino throughout most of the winter season. Endemic to western and southern Mexico, the Berylline enjoys living year-round in a habitat of woodlands and scrub with clearings. Their Latin name, “Amazilia beryllina,” brings to my mind the picture of a tropical bird with brilliant colouring, and this one certainly fits that description. They nest between June and October, which explains why I see many juvenile birds of this species shortly after we return to our casa.
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Written by Tosia Archer