Although most of us are familiar with at least one hummingbird, the Violetear doesn’t usually ring a bell. Named for their violet ear patches, this hummingbird can be found in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.
Strictly a New World bird, hummingbirds only exist in “The Americas”: North, Central, and South America. With 338 known species, that makes this a very large and concentrated family of birds. It makes sense that they could not all have the word “hummingbird” in their name. After birding long enough in Central and South America, a birder becomes familiar with the other names like: Brilliant, Sabrewing, Sapphire, Coquette, Emerald. Here’s a full list of the world’s hummingbirds. When you glance over this long list of names, they all imply beauty.
The violetears are medium-sized hummingbirds at approximately 4 inches (10 cm) long, and have the greatest flying speed ever recorded for a hummingbird at 90 mph (140 km/h). Although you have to be quick to get your lenses on any hummingbird, the glittery little gems are always a joy to behold.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander