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Hummingbird, Panama (1 Viewer)

michalb

Well-known member
Poland
Hi all,
I recently came back from a wonderful trip to Panama plus a few days in Costa Rica. It was a backpacking trip with kids, so not a birding-oriented holiday, although my children are VERY keen on birds. Anyway, I obviously still managed to see plenty of fantastic birds and to id them thanks to a Angehr/Dean guide to birds of Panama (I found it extremely useful, a very good book). But even more obviously, I wasn't able to confidently id all the birds I saw, so I hope birdforum experts will be able to help me, as is usually the case :)

First one is one of many hummingbirds I saw at Finca Lerida coffee plantation on the slopes of Baru volcano. I have no idea what it is, perhaps a juvenile? At the same location we saw many hummingbirds of different species: Rufous-tailed (Amazilia tzacatl), Snowy-bellied (Amazilia edward), Scintillant (Selasphrous scintilla) - surely too small, Green/Lesser Violet-ears (Colibri cyanotus) and Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus) - much too big. This one looks most like an Amazilia to me?

Four photos are of the same individual, the last one might be a different one as the picture was taken a few hours later.

Thanks for any comments!

Location: Finca Lerida coffee plantation, eastern slopes of Baru volcano near Boquete, Panama
Date: 3.01.2020
 

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Jefferson Shank

Well-known member
Looks like but can't be as that species doesn't occur anywhere near Panama. Given the very rufous tail, I think it must be a slightly abnormal rufous-tailed hummingbird

According to eBird the Buff-bellied Hummingbird does occur and range a little above Panama. The pictures sent look exactly like the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. The buff-bellied does have rufous tail too.

I think it is a buff-bellied that is slightly out of it's range. The bird on the pictures looks a lot more like a buff-bellied than a rufous-tailed hummingbird.
 

Jefferson Shank

Well-known member
According to eBird the Buff-bellied Hummingbird does occur and range a little above Panama. The pictures sent look exactly like the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. The buff-bellied does have rufous tail too.

I think it is a buff-bellied that is slightly out of it's range. The bird on the pictures looks a lot more like a buff-bellied than a rufous-tailed hummingbird.

I will let you'all decide between Buff-bellied and Rufous-tailed now. I have had my say.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I don't see anything even particularly abnormal / out of the range of coloration for Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, and agree that this is clearly a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. Before even trying to ID it from plumage and structural and soft parts details, the odds of this being a wayward Buff-bellied Hummingbird are exceedingly slim, and the odds of this being the most common hummingbird in Central America are very, very high!
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
According to eBird the Buff-bellied Hummingbird does occur and range a little above Panama. The pictures sent look exactly like the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. The buff-bellied does have rufous tail too.

I think it is a buff-bellied that is slightly out of it's range. The bird on the pictures looks a lot more like a buff-bellied than a rufous-tailed hummingbird.

Perhaps we're looking at different maps. The one on the main page you linked shows the nearest record as two countries away in Honduras. Given the biogeography involved, this is potentially a "huge" distance: e.g. there're quite a few species which are endemic to the central American volcanoes of Panama and Costa Rica only; Honduran emerald is only in Honduras. This means you have to be pernicketty with respect to ranges, and it means you can often take the lazy step of ID by location and worry less precisely what the individual looks like. Of course, there are exceptions: wildly of out of range things, but you'd really have to work hard to justify such a misplaced buff-bellied in this case. In my experience, hummers are the devil, often impossible to id, frequently appearing similar to multiple potential species
 

Jefferson Shank

Well-known member
Perhaps we're looking at different maps. The one on the main page you linked shows the nearest record as two countries away in Honduras. Given the biogeography involved, this is potentially a "huge" distance: e.g. there're quite a few species which are endemic to the central American volcanoes of Panama and Costa Rica only; Honduran emerald is only in Honduras. This means you have to be pernicketty with respect to ranges, and it means you can often take the lazy step of ID by location and worry less precisely what the individual looks like. Of course, there are exceptions: wildly of out of range things, but you'd really have to work hard to justify such a misplaced buff-bellied in this case. In my experience, hummers are the devil, often impossible to id, frequently appearing similar to multiple potential species

I don't see anything even particularly abnormal / out of the range of coloration for Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, and agree that this is clearly a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. Before even trying to ID it from plumage and structural and soft parts details, the odds of this being a wayward Buff-bellied Hummingbird are exceedingly slim, and the odds of this being the most common hummingbird in Central America are very, very high!

So a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird it will be! I was wrong.
 

michalb

Well-known member
Poland
Thanks for all answers! Jefferson, it's true it does look a bit like Buff-bellied, but it's also waaay out of range. So I will put it under Amazilia tzacatl, which was actually my suspicion, that it's a juvenile of this species. However if I understand correctly, the consensus is that it's not a juvenile, but an adult bird, just slightly aberrant (or not)?
 

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