Finca Tres Equis: First photos of a Blue-chested Hummingbird for Cartago Province

Blue-chested Hummingbird (Amazilia amabilis); Amazilia Pechiazul; Blaubrustamazilie; Colibri à poitrine bleue

Male Blue-chested Hummingbird seemingly defending his territory at Finca Tres Equis; photo by John Beer

The Turrialba area has to be rated one of the very best in Costa Rica for birding expeditions. It offers not only a range of elevations but also a point of contact between Caribbean and Pacific Coast species. However, some of the lowest elevations close to Turrialba have not yet been adequately surveyed by birders. This means that several Caribbean lowland species are likely to turn up at sites such as Finca Tres Equis, (

This nature reserve allows access to river rafting companies offering trips down the Rio Pacuare, one of the prime tourist attractions for our area. The reserve contains cacao and coffee plantations but most of the area is quite heavily forested and connects to the Barbilla National Park on the other, eastern side of the river. A 5 km dirt road (4-wheel drive not required) leads down from the main Turrialba-Siquirres highway at an elevation of 660 m to the Rio Pacuare at a mere 280 m.

As an example, at the beginning of May local tour guide Steven Aguilar from nearby Pavones and friends John and Milena Beer found a Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant (Myiornis atricapillus) at approximately 450 m elevation. Here is the link to Steven’s eBird report from that day:

The list also includes John and Milena’s photos from that day. It’s no mean feat for Steven to record so close to his own home what was for him, as for John and Milena, a life bird. John reports that the photos could finally only be taken thanks to Steven’s infinite patience and skill in locating the culprit after hearing its buzzy call. See my next post for more details.

My own excursion with John this week brought relatively few sightings of species. The day was extremely hot and humid and whole families, such as tanagers, antbirds, euphonias and warblers, seemed to be completely absent. At a pond at around 580 m, however, we found at least one Blue-chested Hummingbird:

This male Blue-chested Hummingbird repeatedly moved between two perches close to his feeding territory; photo by John Beer

This hummingbird is the Caribbean equivalent of the Pacific Coast Charming Hummingbird (Amazilia decora), a species that was the subject of an earlier post of mine years ago, from La Gamba Biological Station in Puntarenas Province. It is not by any means a rare species in its range, but John’s photos are the first, as far as we know, taken in our province of Cartago.

Finally, here’s the link to the day’s eBird list of sightings:

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