Birds of Panama: The Hummingbird

Panama has 57 species of hummingbirds and within this large family are the smallest birds in the world… many of them weighing less than a dime! These birds are found exclusively in the Americas and with the largest population being in northern South America. In Panama they live exclusively in highland areas like Boquete, Volcan Baru, Cerro Azul, Anton Valley and the Central Mountains of Cocle. They can also be found in forests, open or disturbed areas, and some species can be seen in gardens, fields and cities.

Besides its size, hummingbirds are famous for a number of things. One of the most remarkable is its powerful wings and the fact that this bird manages to turn its wings at an angle of 180 degrees. This allows it to have much more control, including the ability to be suspended in the air and fly backwards. It also allows it to go up and down or make a few maneuvers that only this bird knows how to perform.

The difference between the male and the female is a white border between the feathers located in the throat and chest of the female. During mating season, males perform a number of flits to attract the female. In both species, the reddish color beak is approximately nine centimeters and holds a split tongue, forming a small double suction tube, which allows the bird to sip flowers and grab insects around them.

Hummingbirds, bees, insects and bats play a key ecological role in the transfer of pollen from one flower to the other, contributing to the formation of fruits and seeds, which will allow plants to extend its species and multiply.

In 1986 the hummingbird received a deserved recognition by the Panamanian authorities who decided that is should become the symbol for the Omar Torrijos Herrera Park in the central highlands in El Copé, district of Penonomé in the Cocle province.

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