Hummingbirds at Quelitales, Cachí

This week John and I made an excursion west of Turrialba to the Cachí area, specifically to the Hotel Quelitales, an attractive tourist spot uphill from the lake area. We spent several enjoyable hours walking in the grounds and beyond. Middle-elevation species such as the Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) and, below, the Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala), are the rule here:

Tanager, Silver-throated Calle Vargas (2)

Typical at this elevation is the Silver-throated Tanager; John Beer’s file photo is from closer to Turrialba at Calle Vargas

For me, however, the best attraction was the numerous hummingbird species on the hotel grounds. These include two  that I rarely get the opportunity to see, the Coppery-headed Emerald (Elvira cupreiceps) and the White-bellied Mountain-gem (Lampornis hemileucus). We have no photograph of the former (can anyone help?), which is a tiny, bright-green hummingbird with what looks like a completely white tail when it is in flight. Its bill is noticeably decurved. The White-bellied Mountain-gem, which is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama, is very similar to our local Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaemus) but with white underparts, as its name indicates.

Here is the male White-bellied Mountain-gem that appeared at Quelitales:

Hummingbird, Mountain-gem, White-bellied, male, Hotel Quelitales (1)

Male White-bellied Mountain-gem perched showing only a trace of the post-ocular stripe and purple gorget; photo by John Beer

Here is what is probably the same individual but in flight. The post-ocular stripe is now evident:

Hummingbird, Mountain-gem, White-bellied, male, Hotel Quelitales (7)

White-bellied Mountain-gem feeding on rabo de gato at Quelitalesphoto by John Beer

There are several other hummingbird species at Hotel Quelitales. Most dominant is Costa Rica’s largest hummingbird, the Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus):

Hummingbird, Sabrewing, Violet, male, Hotel Quelitales (3)

Male Violet Sabrewing at Hotel Quelitales fans his tail; photo by John Beer

The Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy) seems to be even bigger than the Violet Sabrewing because of the great length of both its bill and its tail. The individual that showed itself on this day looked distinctly more blue than green:

Hummingbird, Hermit, Green, Hotel Quelitales (1)

Male Green Hermit at Hotel Quelitales; courtesy of John Beer

A species that gave us some difficulty with identification was the little Black-bellied Hummingbird (Eupherusa nigriventris), whose females are not black of belly at all! They can easily be confused with other species, particularly if the white in the bird’s tail is not in view. Fortunately, John took this photo with the bird showing a good view of the underside of the tail:

Hummingbird, Black-bellied, female, Hotel Quelitales (1)

Female Black-bellied Hummingbird at Quelitales; photo by John Beer


You will find more photographs at the following link to the list of species noted on our last visit:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s