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How to See and Photograph 40 Species of Hummingbirds in Costa Rica

Hummingbirds! Of the many avian families that occur throughout the world, the members of the Trochilidae just might win the prize for being the most incredible. Tiny, pugnacious, and sporting breathtaking, iridescent colors, hummingbirds captivate our attention. The hummingbird family is also much larger than most people realize. Although just one species is regular in eastern North America, more than 300 live much further south, and more than 50 occur in Costa Rica.

The Steely-vented (Bue-vented) Hummingbird is a common inhabitant of dry forest and coffee farms.

Thankfully, these amazing real-life feathered fairies are common in most parts of Costa Rica. If a birder or photographer knows how to find them, a few dozen hummingbird species can be seen during a two week trip. The following are a few suggestions for seeing and photographing more than 40 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica during a trip of 14 or so days:

Put the focus on hummingbirds

First and foremost, to see more hummingbird species, you have to concentrate on seeing more of these amazing little birds. This means spending more time at sites with feeders and at the flowering bushes and trees that attract them.

Visit key parts of the country

Differing numbers of hummingbird species live in each part of Costa Rica. Whereas 12 or so might occur around Carara, 15 more species may live at middle elevation sites. Different species also occur on either side of the mountains, in dry forest, and in southern Costa Rica. A birding photography tour in Costa Rica that visits each of these regions is necessary to connect with 40 plus hummingbird species.

The fancy White-crested Coquette mostly occurs in southern Costa Rica.

The exquisite Black-crested Coquette is on the other side of the mountains.