Green Hermit Hummingbird Acrobatics

On a recent visit to the mountains surrounding San José, Costa Rica, we were able to spend several days in the company of these sparkling acrobats. 

I had great difficultly in picking out my favorite pose, ultimately choosing the one featured in this post. So I've decided to share here some of the runner-ups as well as a bit of fun info about this little flying jewel. 

Ok, now, let's see. How do I get to this sweet treat?

Let's do an investigative pass

Maybe straight down?


That worked! What good aim! 

I can just picture myself trying to hoover while aiming my beak at an opening just big enough to let in the tippy tip...

Good to the last drop!. Let's clean up on the outside, too. I don't want the bees to get any of it. 

Green hermits, unlike other hermit hummingbirds are dimorphic. The female has yellow facial stripes while the males has nearly black 'cheeks'.

They are generally not aggressive, but will occasionally defend a particularly good flower.

Indirect evidence of song learning came from observing neighboring Green and Little Hermits. It is thought that geographical variation is due to cultural drift acquired through song learning.


Unlike other hummingbirds, hermits usually fly in the understory of the forest where they create invisible highways of flowers with tubular corollas which their uniquely shaped bills can easily reach. They will visit the same flowers periodically, allowing enough time between each visit for the flower nectar to replenish. 

Like other hermits, it also spends a lot of time gleaning spiders and insects from spiders' webs.

For much of the year, up to twenty males gather at traditional leks in dark forest understory, where they sit, tails bobbing, and call for long periods. Their "song" is a nasal, froglike note repeated about once a second—ad infinitum.

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  • Glad you agree about how difficult it is to chose one from among these little, graceful gems. The second problem then becomes how to chose from among all the beautiful flowers. That is part of the fun!

    • cindy
  • Magnificent birds!! They really are a combination of living heels and flowers.

    • Merryl Goldman
  • Great photos. Yes,I agree that all of the photos are outstanding and difficult to chose only one.

    • Terri Groff
  • Thank you, Jim. We are very glad to hear that, specially coming from you.

    • Cindy
  • Love these birds. Thanks for sharing.

    • James