Magnificent Hummingbird

Magnificent Hummingbirds (Eugenes fulgens) range from the mountains of southeastern Arizona to those of western Panama. These large hummingbirds are fairly common residents in the higher elevation mountains of Costa Rica. In May of 2007, we spotted these Magnificent Hummingbirds and many others in the gardens and at the hummingbird feeders of the Savegre Mountain Hotel in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica.

Male Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) in Costa Rica

Magnificent Hummingbirds are large, up to 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) long, and besides their distinctively large size, they also have a distinctive white spot behind the eye and a long, straight, black bill. Male Magnificent Hummingbirds are iridescent green above and blackish below with an iridescent violet crown, a black face, and an iridescent blue-green gorget. The iridescence on a male Magnificent Hummingbird's crown and throat are only visible at certain angles and in bright light, so the males often appear to have a drab, blackish head.

Male Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) in Costa Rica

Female Magnificent Hummingbirds are bronzy green above and gray below. Like other birds with iridescent green plumage, the green plumage of hummingbirds can vary greatly in color and brilliance with the lighting source, becoming a bright golden green in the artificial light of a camera's flash.

Female Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) in the rain

This female Magnificent Hummingbird above was our regular dining companion on the outside patio of the Savegre Mountain Hotel. There were usually four of us at the table for our meals, myself, my dad, my cousin, and the friendly Magnificent Hummingbird. As we ate, she would occasionally dart over to a nearby hummingbird feeder for a sip and then quickly return to her seat with us. Even when it was raining (a frequent occurrence in the cloud forest during the rainy season), we would sit outside huddled under the table umbrella just so that we could dine with this charming hummingbird.