Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)

Purple Gallinules are some of the most brightly colored birds that you can see walking in Costa Rica. Indeed while they can also fly, they more commonly wade in shallow waters and in dense grass plains, looking for prey. I have seen them in Palo Verde in big numbers, and spotted individuals in Rio Frio, where they join chickens and forage in the backyards of houses; indeed I was able to see two adults rearing four young hatchlings, which were still covered in black fluffy hairs, getting along with the chickens just fine. The underside and head is entirely purple with a metallic look, showing a small light blue patch on the forehead. The beak is mostly bright red, with a yellow tip. The upperparts show blue to olive green hues, particularly on the wings. The yellow legs are long, letting them to wade in shallow edges of lagoons without having to swim.

Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaemus)

The Purple-throated Mountain-gem is a striking hummingbird, where the male has a brilliant, iridescent throat the turns purple. The crown also changes color, from dark purple to metallic blue, all due to the angle of light that is hitting it. The upperparts are mainly green, although the belly is gray and the chest has a broad metallic green band as well. The female is similar but has a cinnamon belly, chest and throat, which does make it look very contrasty and eye catching. Both sexes have a white postocular line that reaches down and back almost to the neck. They are mostly seen in mid elevation cloud forests. The iridescence in hummingbird means that there is something different about each picture, even of the same individual.

Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus)

The Violet Sabrewing is one of the largest hummingbirds to be seen in Costa Rica; whenever these hummingbirds perched on the delicate branches, their weight and speed would made them swing very fast. This species has a fairly down curved bill. Most of the male’s body is deep, glittering violet, although some parts have a bluer hue. The underside of the tail feathers is white, while the wings are brown, with green-blue feathers on the shoulder. The female is drab in coloration, with gray underparts showing green and yellow sports, and green-yellow iridescence on the back of the head.

Rufous-gaped Hillstar (Urochroa bougueri)

Not to be confused with the Oreotrochilus genus, the Rufous-gaped Hillstar is the only member of the Urochroa genus. It is rather large and streamlined, showing lots of different colors around the body. Its throat is blue to purple, ending on a dark orange malar strip which is very conspicuous and looks like a big smile. The belly is gray but shows blue-green feathers on the sides. The back and head of the body has olive, blue and green hues. A very small white postocular spot finishes the look.

White-bellied Woodstar (Chaetocercus mulsant)

The White-bellied Woodstar is among the smallest hummingbirds like most woodstars, however it is colorful and conspicuous. The body is mostly green, with a white collar that joins a white line coming out of the eye. The gorget is metallic purple due to iridescence, so it looks dark sometimes. The black bill is long, thin and just slightly curved down. The vent and belly also show white plumage. It flies in a typical bee fashion, with smooth movements instead of the rapid bursts that larger hummingbirds do.

Velvet-purple Coronet (Boissonneaua jardini)

The Velvet-purple Coronet was one of the most impressing hummingbirds we saw in Colombia. Its plumage is strongly iridescent all around the body, showing marvelous different hues with each movement. At one time it would look almost entirely black, then it flashed green and olive tones on the upper wing and shoulder, along with brown feather tips on the back and head. The head, throat and belly would look almost entirely black, until it turned the head towards me and flashed deep blue and purple colors, with turquoise flanks. White feathers cover the legs and the tail underside. So much change is almost unbelievable until you see it with your own eyes or camera lens, whichever is faster. To top if off, after perching it would hold the wings open for a brief moment, showing a chestnut coloration on the underside of the wings.

Tourmaline Sunangel (Heliangelus exortis)

The Tourmaline Sunangel forms part of the Heliangelus genus of hummingbirds, consisting of ten species that are only found in South America. The Tourmaline is by the most part green, with a purple gorget that brightens up on sunlight. They are small in size and have a thin dark bill. It shows some white on the vent and in the postocular spot. In good light, this hummingbird displays a purple-like gorget that looks metallic.

Purple-throated Woodstar (Calliphlox mitchellii)

The Purple-throated Woodstar bears some resemblance to the White-bellied Woodstar, even though they do not belong to the same genus. Their flying behavior is more like a bee, in that they move swiftly and without sharp turns like most hummingbirds do. As they fly over, they do sound like bees. They are also pretty small, like most woodstars. It does not have the glittering green body of the White-bellied; instead, the back is a duller green color, and the belly is olive with orange feathers covering the legs and white vent. A white ring almost surrounds completely the neck. The female has a white-gray throat, while the male has an iridescent purple throat (as the name would suggest) that looks rather dark from some angles.

Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae)

This is a medium-sized hummingbird that can be found in South America, specifically in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Males have a violet crown, while females have a green crown. It has iridescent plumage, like many other hummer species, which changes the color depending on the view angle and the angle of the light that bounces off it, giving away colors that look metallic and intense. In general it is green on the back and sides, white on the belly, chest and throat, and coppery in the upper tail. The bill is black, mostly straight and thin. The wings are brown, but glow blue when iridescent.