Scientific name: Calypte costae
Length: 3 - 3 1/2 inches (8 - 9 cm)
Identification: Costa's hummingbird has a long straight bill, a bright green
back and crown, white underparts, a dark tail, and greenish flanks. The male has
a distinctive, iridescent purple crown and gorget (like a purple mask extending down
the neck). The female has a white chin and underside, and like many female hummingbirds,
its dark tail has white tips on its outer tail feathers.
Habitat and range: Found in the low desert of southern California, Arizona,
and Nevada, Costa's hummingbird is at home in dry country.
FYI: The more exotic in appearance of the hummingbirds are most abundant in
South America, e.g., the white-tipped sicklebill hummingbird (Eutoxeres aquila)
with its hooked bill is found in Colombia and Ecuador, the sword-billed hummingbird
(Ensifera ensifera) with its longer-than-the-rest-of-the-bird bill is found
in northern South America, etc. Hummingbirds catch insects in flight with superb
control of flight rather than a wide, scooping bill. They may actually run up on
the insect, necessitating only the effort to swallow it. Source: Alexander F.
Skutch, The Life of the Hummingbird (New York: Vineyard Books, Inc., 1973), p. 52.
The greatest concentration of the approximately 319 species species of hummingbirds
is to be found in the Andes Mountains of Columbia. Source: "Hummingbird,"
The Audubon Nature Encyclopedia, 1965, Vol. 5, p. 892.
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