Return of the Violet Sabrewing

What happened to the Violet Sabrewings? This was a question I repeatedly asked myself for the first five months of this year, 2017, because until May 12 I did not have a single local sighting of this stunningly beautiful hummingbird. The Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus) is the largest Costa Rican hummingbird, with a length of 6 inches and a weight (males) of around 11.6 grams. Compare this with the smallest and the subject of an earlier post, the Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla), whose males weigh in at barely 2 grams with a length of 2-1/2 inches. The sabrewing has until this year been a rather frequent visitor to my garden and is referred to locally, without too much justification, as the colibrí de montaña, “mountain hummingbird”.

122 Violet sabrewing male (2)

Our biggest hummingbird: Here, a male Violet Sabrewing, courtesy of Karel Straatman

Fortunately, I have now begun to see this lovely bird with some frequency again, most recently both here at the heliconias in the garden and a little lower down at the San Diego cabins. To close this post, here is John Beer’s photo from his garden in nearby Santa Rosa.

Hummingbird, Sabrewing Violet Santa Rosa (1)

Violet Sabrewing in Santa Rosa in late September 2016

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