Hummingbird behavior in the Cloud Forest

With at least 17 different hummingbird species found at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, it’s important to understand their behavior and feeding habits so that we can best preserve their habitat. With that being said, how exactly does a hummingbird forage, and what affects it? Would that behavior change if there was an artificial hummingbird feeder present?

White-Crested Coquette (Lophornis adorabilis) Photo credit: Madelyn Peterson

These were the questions Cloudbridge researcher Luuck Reessink sought to answer, spending dozens of hours in the field watching the hummingbirds zoom back and forth. Luuck paid particular attention to three aspects of these hummingbirds behavior: how long did they spend perched on a tree; how often did they forge (feed); how territorial was their behavior? He studied these three behaviors while the hummingbirds foraged naturally on flowers, then studied these behaviors after an artificial feeder was present.

Lesser Violetear (Colibri cyanotus) Photo credit: Madelyn Peterson

After his data collection and statistical analysis, it turns out that artificial feeders do have an effect on general foraging behavior. On average, while the artificial feeder was present, the hummingbirds spent less time foraging on flowers and more time perched in a tree, which in turn can have adverse environmental effects due to changes in their natural behavior. To read more, click here to view the entire paper.

Suggested Reading on Hummingbirds

  • Climate change affects hummingbirds just the same as all other animals on earth. Monteverde has been studying these affects on these small birds, in a cloud forest of their own.
  • Did you know hummingbirds only occur in the western hemisphere, and no where else in the world? Out of more than 300 hummingbird species that live in this side of the earth, Costa Rica is host to about 54 of these species. Learning so many birds at once can be overwhelming, so feel free to read more about what you could find during your visit to Costa Rica.
  • Here at Cloudbridge, we’ve been diligent on maintaining a bird species list throughout the years in order to track how our reforestation has been going. Jennifer Powell et. al. have recently been peer-reviewed and published for their outstanding research on what bird species can be found here in the Talamanca mountains.

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