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.
Males and females are very similar in size (4.25 inches or 11 cm) and looks, with both having dark scintillating green covering their backs, breasts and throats, dark purple uppertail coverts and a slightly downcurved black bill with only the lower mandible having some red on it near the base. Females also have a small amount of white-edged feathers at the base of the bill.
Below are photographs I have taken in my yard of other species of this incredible flying jewel-like bird.
About the Author: Tosia Archer spends her winter living near El Tonino (a 20 minute drive north from La Peñita) along with her husband David and their Mexican adopted pets: dogs Agua Chili Bob and Momz, and their cat Blanca. They all travel south together by truck from Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada each fall and return there to work each spring. She enjoys photographing local wildlife and flowers, whale watching and then rendering what she has seen into watercolour art. She volunteers with JBAR and is a member of the Guayabitos Artists Collective and Writers Who Love Mexico. Tosia is also part of the Jaltemba Bay Life Team.
This story was submitted by one of our staff writers. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com