Pavones Hummingbird Hedge gets 14 species – no feeders used!

On one of my first visits to Costa Rica I was astonished to see 10 species of hummingbirds at the Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery. It’s a major attraction for tourists visiting there as the birds mob the feeders paying no attention at all to visitors. This is matched, and bettered in my opinion, by a natural rabo de gato (porterweed) hedge on the side of the road between Pavones and San Rafael just outside Turrialba, which has so far attracted at least 14 species. Thanks to regular observations by San Rafael ornithologist and native Steven Aguilar, all of the following species have been verified:

  1. Green Hermit
  2. Stripe-throated Hermit
  3. White-necked Jacobin
  4. Garden Emerald*
  5. Crowned Woodnymph
  6. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
  7. Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer*
  8. Green-breasted Mango
  9. Ruby-throated Hummingbird**
  10. Brown Violetear*
  11. Green Thorntail*
  12. Black-crested Coquette*
  13. Snowcap*
  14. Violet-headed Hummingbird*

The ones marked with a single asterisk * are very difficult if not impossible to find on our side, the volcano side, of Turrialba.

The Ruby-throated hummingbird (double asterisk**) is the only migratory species in Costa Rica and was added to this list on November 24, 2015.

The rabo de gato is found throughout Costa Rica and this particular hedge does not seem to offer much more than do other similar sites. Here’s what it looks like:

The Hummingbird Hedge!

The Hummingbird Hedge!

I revisited just today and without spending a huge amount of time found the following 6 species:

Female Rufous-tailed hummingbird, courtesy of Karel Straatman

Female Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, by far the commonest species in our area; photo courtesy of Karel Straatman


A male shows his crest

A tiny male Black-crested Coquette with distinctive white rump band and crest


Violet-headed hummingbird, female

The equally tiny Violet-headed Hummingbird, female


Hummingbirds in the hand tend to stay motionless for a few seconds if placed on their back.

Hummingbirds in the hand tend to stay motionless for a few seconds if placed on their back. This Stripe-throated Hermit (no throat stripes in Costa Rica) was banded at CATIE.


Male Garden Emerald, courtesy of Steven Aguilar

Male Garden Emerald at the Pavones hedge, courtesy of Steven Aguilar


Photo of female Snowcap to be inserted.


Moral of the story: Check out all rabo de gato (porterweed) hedges very carefully!  Post to be completed when all photos are available. Just missing a female Snowcap!




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