Green-crowned Brilliants

Aerial Acrobatics in the Highlands of Costa Rica
by James McIntyre


Hummingbirds are the most accomplished fliers of the avian world. With wings beating 12-80 times per second, they can perform amazing high-speed aerial maneuvers - even flying backward. Last February, in the mountainous highlands of northern Costa Rica, I was fortunate enough to capture the spectacular acrobatics of this pair of Green-crowned Brilliants (Heliodoxa jacula), with the male flying upside-down!

This species is a resident breeder at higher altitudes (700 - 2000 m) from Costa Rica to western Ecuador.

The picture was photographed with a remote-controlled, synchronized, ultrahigh-speed multiple-flash setup. Fleetingly, the hungry hummers flew into my miniature portrait studio.

James McIntyre

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