Hummingbirds Observed in Panama – Long Version

This is a post with lots of pictures of the hummingbirds I saw while on a birding trip in Panama.  View the pics to enjoy the beauty of the birds or to familiarize yourself with the most commonly seen hummingbirds in Panama before going there yourself.

Coming from the U.S. midwest where we only see one type of hummingbird regularly (Ruby-throated) with the occasional rare sightings of a couple others, the variety of Panama’s hummingbirds were stunning.  According to The Sibley Guide to Birds there are only 16 species of hummingbirds seen in the U.S.; nine of those are rarely seen, and then only along the southernmost border with Mexico.  In contrast, there was a possibly of seeing 29 species of hummingbirds while in Panama; I managed to observe 24 of them and came back with usable pictures of the eleven shown below.

We did see hummingbirds occasionally during our trips in the countryside where it was extremely difficult to get any good pictures of them, whereas at the feeders, the hummingbirds came and perched on the feeder or a nearby branch.  In most cases the feeders were shaded, which meant that I had to lower my shutter speed considerably to get a shot without too much noise.  Most the pictures below were taken at 1/300th of a second or slower (one was taken at 1/30th).  When the hummingbirds are perched you don’t have to worry about stopping the movement of their wings so slower shutter speeds are OK; to capture them in flight you have to take shots at 1/2000th of a second, or higher, to stop the action of their wings.  If you are interested in the shutter speed (or other camera settings) used for any shot below, just click the image.

Snowy-bellied Hummingbird

Our first Panamanian hummingbird is the Snowy-bellied Hummingbird. This one perched quite close to me and gave me a good long stare before flitting off.  You can see some of its “snowy belly” beneath the green.

Here are another two shots of the Snowy-bellied – another male then a female.


White-necked Jacobin

This male White-necked Jacobin was observed perched near one of the hummingbird feeders at the Canopy Tower.  It would zoom in for a sip of nectar and then zoom back to its perch.  This was the hummingbird we saw most frequently in Panama.

Being the most numerous of Panamanian hummingbirds I took the most pictures of them.  Here’s a picture of the female followed by the male with its tongue sticking out.


Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer

Although many hummingbirds look similar, the Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer has distinctive pink feet to help with identification.

Here are two more shots of the Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer.  The first one of the female at the feeder and the second one of a male.


Crowned Woodnymph

The Crowned (note the purple crown) Woodnymph is a bundle of colors.  I love the name “woodnymph” as it gives this hummer a mystical aura that matches the beauty of its plumage. No, it wasn’t sleeping – just giving us a wink!  Then a photo of a female with its beak open and tongue sticking out, followed by two more pictures of a male.


Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

The Rufous-tailed Hummingbird is a hummingbird I’ve seen in Honduras, Mexico, and Costa Rica.  Their rusty tail make it easy to identify them.


Purple-crowned Fairy

This Purple-crowned Fairy was one of the few hummingbirds I got a shot of in the wild (most of the others were seen at feeders).  A long, slender body makes it look bigger than it really was.


Green Hermit

Look at the long, curved bill of this Green Hermit!  Designed for extracting food from deep-throated flowers.


Long-billed Hermit

I wish I had a picture of this Long-billed Hermit perched or flying into the feeder because its bill was so long.  If you look carefully you can see the tip of the bill in the nectar, showing just how long it was.


Green-crowned Brilliant

While browsing through our collection of GreatBirdPics I noticed that asteinmann and Rebecca Bowater have both submitted photos from Costa Rica of this bright green hummingbird.  Let me add three more, the first two of the male at a feeder in Panama followed by an equally brilliant female.


Violet-bellied Hummingbird

This cute little hummer is the Violet-bellied Hummingbird, and for good reason.  You might recall other hummers like the White-necked Jacobin have the opposite color pattern – blue on the head and green on the body.


Purple-throated Mountain-Gem

Here’s the last of my Panama hummingbird pics (and not a very good one).  It is a Purple-throated Mountain-gem.  In the shadows it doesn’t show very well, but in the sunlight I bet it’s stunning.


That’s it for the hummingbirds of Panama.  If you’ve been to Panama and taken pictures of these beautiful little birds please share them with us on


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John Weisgerber
John Weisgerber

Great pics. Thanks for sharing!