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Volcano Hummingbird

From Opus

Selasphorus flammula
MalePhoto by Gary Clark  Quetzal National Park, Costa Rica.
Photo by Gary Clark
Quetzal National Park, Costa Rica.




  • Bronze-green upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Rufous-edged black outer tail feathers
  • The flaring gorget is different according to the range; each is a subspecies. It is grey-purple in the Talamanca range, red in the Poas-Barva mountains and pink-purple in the IrazĂș-Turrialba area.
Female Photo by scottishdude Savegre, Costa Rica, March, 2011
Photo by scottishdude
Savegre, Costa Rica, March, 2011

The female is similar, but her throat is white with dusky spots.
Young birds resemble the female but have buff fringes to the upperpart plumage.

Similar Species

Scintillant Hummingbird - the male is distiguishable by the orange gorget, but the female is almost identical. Look for a shorter section of rufous and brighter white tips on the Volcano's rectrices. The Volcano occurs at higher elevations, but in an area of range overlap, distinguishing the females can be very difficult in the field.


Photo by Greg Lavaty Talamanca, Costa Rica, January 2009
Photo by Greg Lavaty
Talamanca, Costa Rica, January 2009

South America: found only in Costa Rica and Panama



Three subspecies are recognized for this species[1]:

  • S. f. flammula: (Purple-throated)
  • Costa Rica (VolcĂĄn IrazĂș and VolcĂĄn Turrialba)
  • S. f. torridus: (Heliotrope-throated)
  • Sierra de Talamanca (Costa Rica) and VolcĂĄn BarĂș (western Panama)
  • S. f. simoni: (Rose-throated) - the male has a red gorget
  • Costa Rica (VolcĂĄn PoĂĄs, VolcĂĄn Barba and Cerros de EscazĂș)

The subspecies simoni,has in the past, been considered a full species: Cerise-throated Hummingbird.


Found 1800 meters or higher in elevation in Paramo habitat, brushland, in gardens and clearings.



The female builds a cup shaped nest from plant down high in a scrub or on a root below a south or east facing bank. The 2 white eggs are incubated by the female for 15-19 days; the young fledge after another 20-26 days.


The diet includes nectar, taken from a variety of small flowers, including Salvia and Fuchsia, and species normally pollinated by insects. It also takes some small insects.


  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. Wikipedia

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