Iridescence of Costa’s Hummingbird’s Feathers

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Extreme closeup photo showing feather details of a male Costa’s Hummingbird.

At my home in the southern area of Baja, Mexico we havee two species of Hummingbirds. The Costa’s Hummingbird (Calypte costae) and the endemic Xantus’ Hummingbird (Hylocharis xantus). The Costa’s male has a brillant blue/purple cap and gorget. The male Xantus has a bright green cap and chin. The females lack these bright iridescent colors.

When the light is from a particular angle the iridesence provdes a brillant color. If the light is not at that particular angle the iridescence does not refelect the colors and the feathers appear dark.

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Another closeup of the Costa’s male hummer.The actual size of the hummer’s head is about the size of your thumbnail.

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Here you can see that the crown and gorget are reflecting colors.


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Here the bird has turned his head and you can see that much of the color has vanished.

Photo information: Camera Panasonic FZ46, shutter 1/350, f 5.2, zoom (closeup) 1300 mm, full 680 mm, ISO 200, Focal distance 30 inches, natural light.

John Spencer

Bird Photographer located in southern Baja, Mexico

John Spencer

Bird Photographer located in southern Baja, Mexico

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