The 15 Most Spectacular Hummingbirds!

There are about 338 different species of hummingbirds - an amazing family of birds found only in the New World. Their ability to hover for extended periods of time and even fly backwards makes them unique in the bird world. What they lack in size, they make up for with energy; the pinnacle of this being the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds incredible ability to flap up to 200 times per second during courtship displays. Though tiny, male hummingbirds are among the most flashy birds in the world; often sporting an array of iridescent feathers used to attract mates. Found from Alaska to the very tip of South America, from the rainforest, to the hot, dry desert, to the bone-chilling heights of the Andes, there are very few places where these adaptable birds can't survive. 

Here are 15 of the most spectacular hummingbirds in the world. Enjoy! 

Fiery-throated Hummingbird

There are few other birds that rival the spectacular iridescence of the Fiery-throated Hummingbird. Found only in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and western Panama, for bird lovers, this bird alone warrants a trip to Central America!

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Marvellous Spatuletail

The remarkable racket shaped appendages of male Marvellous Spatuletails are used in courtship displays and can even be moved independently. They are found only in a tiny region of northern Peru. Because of habitat loss and their small distribution, they're listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Red-tailed Comet 

Easily one of the most gorgeous hummingbirds in the world, with its dazzling colours and long tail. This species is found in arid, mountainous habitat in Bolivia and northern Argentina. 


Anna's Hummingbird

The northernmost year round resident hummingbird. Anna's Hummingbirds regularly winter as far north as Southeast Alaska! During cold winter nights, they must go into a controlled state of hypothermia known as "torpor", when their metabolic rate drops by an astounding 95%! Their internal body clock wakes them about two hours before dawn and they slowly begin to shiver, eventually raising their body temperature back up to 40°c.

Ecuadorian Hillstar

Found at elevations upwards of 5200m or 17,000 feet in the northern Andes, this species' ability to withstand freezing temperatures and thin air is impressive to say the least! They feed nearly exclusively on the orange flowers of chuquiraga plants that grow on the slopes of volcanic peaks.

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Long-tailed Sylph

The spectacularly long, iridescent tail of male Long-tailed Sylphs is truly an unbelievable sight! Found throughout the cloud forests of the northern Andes, where they zip through the dense foliage, glittering streamers in tow.

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Crowned Woodnymph

This widespread hummingbird ranges throughout Central and South America. Their glaring purple and green iridescence will certainly get your attention as they zip through the rainforest!

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Rufous-crested Coquette

This tiny hummer sports what is easily one of the best hairdos in the entire bird world! Patchily distributed throughout lowland rainforest from Panama to Bolivia.

Wire-crested Thorntail

The alien-esque appearance of this hummingbird truly has to be seen to be believed! Its long antenna-like head feathers are balanced out by its spectacularly long tail. They can be seen buzzing around the eastern slope of the Andes.

Velvet-purple Coronet

This stunner boasts a brilliant array of unique iridescent colour. It can be found in the western foothills of the Andes, in Colombia and northern Ecuador.

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Booted Racket-tail

Adorned by fuzzy "boots" and spectacular, spatule-like tail appendages, this bird looks truly other-wordly! This species can be found throughout the cloud forests of the Andes, from Venezuela to Bolivia.

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Black-tailed Trainbearer

The impressive tail of the male Black-tailed Trainbearer is among the longest in the world of birds. During aggressive territorial displays, a loud crackling sound is produced as the tail feathers collide. Ranging from Colombia to southern Peru, this species is very hardy, capable of surviving the harsh, high elevation climate of the Andes.

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Rainbow-bearded Thornbill

Sporting an incredibly colourful gorget, this hummingbird inhabits the high elevation páramo grasslands of the northern Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Sword-billed Hummingbird

The Sword-billed Hummingbird has the longest bill of any bird. Found throughout the cloud forest of the Andes - from Venezuela to Bolivia. This species has co-evolved with several species of long, tubular flowers. Due to its extreme bill size, it monopolizes these flowers, having nearly exclusive access to its nectar. To return the favour, the Sword-billed acts as a very effective pollinator - symbiosis at its finest! 

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Its tiny size and unique colouration make the Snowcap a very sought after hummingbird species. Found from Honduras to Panama, this primarily canopy dwelling species is often quite tough to see, unless you find its favourite patch of flowers.

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