Here is an update of the hummingbirds I've seen (so far) in Kabalebo.
Nesting season for the hummers; today we take a look at the Rufous-breasted Hermit's nesting.
Another successful Black-throated Mango's nesting for this year.
Mating season means meeting both male and female hummingbirds.
It is the nesting season of the hummingbirds; today it is all about the Black-throated Mango.
The Fork-tailed Woodnymph is a resident of Kabalebo; one that doesn't like to show off his true colors to the outside world.
This little fellow is still flying around in Kabalebo: the Green-bellied Hummingbird.
This young Rufous-breasted Hermit will follow in its mothers' footsteps soon.
Here you can see how a young male Crimson Topaz will change into a mesmerizing young adult. Enjoy reading.
The Reddish Hermit, the second smallest hummingbird in Kabalebo, is a proud mother of 2. I witnessed the incubation/feeding period for the second time.
The Crimson Topaz (Topaza pella) is best known for his colorful appearance. And you'll see why.
Hummingbirds are known as the gem of the rainforest. Small colorful birds who can mesmerize their surrounding by their appearance. Here are some hummingbirds I managed to photograph in Kabalebo.
The Green-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia viridigaster) has finally arrived this year in Kabalebo! Welcome back little fellow!
Since the arrival of feeders near the lodge, I have seen some regular visitors among the hummingbirds. The Black-throated Mango, the female in particular, is one of them. In return for this extra treat, she gives me the chance to observe her during her nesting period … for the second time.
When you take a quick look at these pictures, you will think that they are related to each other…. pointy long beaks, shimmering colors and also small birds. But they are not related to each other; one is a hummingbird (Crimson Topaz) and the other is a Jacamar (Green-tailed Jacamar)
After being away for a month I knew I had a lot of catching up to do. By the look of the water level in the Kabalebo River it is clear that the rainy season has already started.
Since 2013 I am anxiously waiting for this fellow to pay us a visit: the Green-bellied Hummingbird. He pays us a visit between February and May every year since 2013. And for this year he officially arrived at Kabalebo on March 14, 2015.
The Black-throated Mango is one of the dominant and aggressive hummingbirds that I have met in Kabalebo. Meaning that they defend their territory with all their might and are not afraid to chase other birds, bigger than them, away.
I have seen many Black-throated Mango's nests near the lodge or area. But they were always built on top of a tree branch, higher than 4 meters. This time I was lucky to observe one nest in particular that was built on a lower level.
In this article it is all about the nesting complete with pictures. Enjoy!
Hummingbirds are known for their unique way of flying and of course their colorful feather display. They are amongst the smallest and fastest birds in the world, which also makes it into a challenge for me to photograph and identify them correctly.
But once I succeed I forget about the whole endure. Patience and perseverance are the best ingredients for success.
The Crimson Topaz (Topaza pella) was one of my greatest challenges. Most of the time I've seen the Crimson Topaz on the river, feeding from blossoming flowers of the Inga tree or the Monkey Brush vine. Imagine to try and take a picture on a moving and unstable boat: Mission Impossible (for me)!!
What makes the Crimson Topaz so special for me is that in the first place it is the largest hummingbird (19 cm length) I've seen so far in Kabalebo. Second is of course its color display. This is where the sun needs to be involved too. Because without the sunlights it looks like a dull looking hummer. But when the 'lights' are on ….. an incredible plumage set on FIRE!!
Not only did I manage to photograph the colorful display … I was also fortunate to witness their breeding system.
March 27 - 30th, 2014: I went to check on the River Cabins when I suddenly heard a familiar sound. In a split second I found the culprit: a handsome male Crimson Topaz. Since the River Cabins are near the Kabalebo river it was no surprise to see him there. The Monkey Brush vine (Combretum rotundifolium) was blooming in abundance.
March 31 - April 1st 2014: I noticed that he was defending the vine with all his might. Constantly chasing away other hummers (Fork-tailed Woodnymph and Grey-breasted Sabrewings), except for one particular hummer: a female Crimson Topaz (of course)
It became clear that he wanted to mate with her, since he was very polite towards the female. Suddenly I noticed a second male was also in the neighborhood: rival Crimson Topaz (villain Crimson …)
The second one was even more aggressive in his approach towards the female. Right above me he rudely tried to 'waltz' with her (so it seems) …. giving me of course also the opportunity to 'capture' this unique moment.
The villain had something to prove … he is the main MAN, the center of attention or the boss. Either way he proved his point by showing off his delightful feathers in direct sunlight. I would rather call him MAN ON FIRE!! He was one hot little hummer. And he was right … I was stunned.
April 3 - 5, 2014: the female didn't mind all the attention. She just wanted to feed on the nectar.
Between March 27 - April 5, 2014, I was present between 10.00 - 11.00/14.30 - 17.00 hours. I have to admit that those were also the unbearable hours during the time. But also the best time for some action and also see the beautiful colors too at the same time.
All three were also used with my presence, allowing me to get closer for some memorable shots.
On April 6th 2014 all three were gone. Possibly one of them succeeded in his mission. They surely went their separate way.
While I was observing the Reddish Hermit taking care of her hatchlings, other hummingbirds also joined the nesting club. This time it was the Rufous-breasted Hermit … and it was a short observation too.
- August 25, 2014: her nest was found on one leaf of a small branch. A simple nest made out of dry grass, cobwebs, lichens and one dry papaya leaf. Inside the nest I found 2 white oval eggs. Just like the Reddish Hermit, the Rufous-breasted Hermit also sits in her nest facing the leaf with her head tilted to her back.
- August 27, 2014: she was out for a quick break. There were still 2 eggs inside. Most of the time she was sitting in her nest.
- August 29, 2014: this was kind of frustrating for me (and also for the bird I guess). The incubation was suddenly disrupted. Upon arriving I found her nest on the ground. Somehow the leaf broke off. Both eggs were gone, probably been eaten by Amazon whiptails.
I still see the Rufous-breasted Hermit nearby, but for her next nesting I still need to be patient. I kept her nest with the broken leaf as a reminder, until this day (November 6, 2014) the nest still looks strong. And that for such a simple construction.
It was a very busy period. While I was observing the Reddish hermit and her little family, I also noticed that other hummingbirds were busy nesting:
- Rufous-breasted hermit
- Black - throated mango
- Fork-tailed woodnymph
Of course I also wanted to witness their incubation period, so this meant that I had to cover a lot of areas. I checked their nests after work, so I did not have to rush.
In this post: the last week of observing the Reddish hermit nesting.
- September 6, 2014: the feathers are now darker then before. Still both of the hatchlings' eyes are still closed. I did notice that the first born's beak is now a bit longer (starting to look like a little hummer)
- September 8, 2014: the female is resting on a nearby branch. Now the nest is too small for both chicks. I can finally see that both of them can open their eyes. It was also possible that their eyes were already open, but that they were sleeping when I was there.
- September 10, 2014: here is when I am getting worried about their nest. Will it hold?
- September 13, 2014: it finally happened. When I arrived the mother was sitting on a nearby branch. The first born was sitting at the edge of the nest and ….. it started to fly. Not very far of course. It looked like it was doing some trial flights.
- September 14, 2014: both of them were doing trial flights. This was also the last day that I visited their nest, because the next day they were all gone, leaving behind an empty nest.
It all happened so fast, from the discovery until the flying out part … but I am also very happy to have witnessed this all.