Aagh! This hummingbird would have been a life bird for me, and right there close to home. Is there a population of White-tipped Sicklebills (Eutoxeres aquila) at the Espino Blanco Reserve, which is adjacent to the property where neighbour and friend Susan Magree found the bird pictured below?
This bird has its eyes closed because it was briefly stunned after colliding with a window. Susan picked it up and placed it in a hanging basket and it very soon flew away. She had never seen the species before. Local guide Steven Aguilar ( says that rather than being a sedentary species it travels long distances, adding that he sees it more frequently on the Pacific side, where he has found more than one nest, often located underneath a leaf. Be sure to check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Schiffornis.Tafari
This large hummingbird’s incredibly decurved bill, which it uses to feed on heliconias, is its chief distinguishing feature, though the heavily streaked breast should also be noted.
It seems that the species is perhaps not a rarity, being found in humid forest at lower and middle elevations (up to 1200 m) from Costa Rica south to northern Peru. In our immediate area there are quite a few records but only 3 so far this year, 2020. Hotel Quelitales is one of them and it’s a place that is rapidly becoming well-known for hummingbird species but it is a fairly long drive away, near Cachí. Las Brisas near La Alegría de Siquirres has one of other two records but it too is a good hour’s drive from Turrialba so the Rancho Naturalista, a mere 30-40 minutes from Turrialba is nearest. However, I have been to all three of these without ever even suspecting that the White-billed Sicklebill might appear. It looks like I may have to invest more serious time at the Espino Blanco Reserve, just 10 minutes from my house!