(Calypte costae) is a species of hummingbird.
This species is very small, a mature adult growing to only
3?3.5 in (7.6?8.9 cm) in length.
The male Costa's has a mainly green back and flanks, a small
black tail and wings, and patches of white below their gorgeted throat and tail.
Its most distinguishing feature is its vibrant purple cap and throat with the
throat feathers flaring out and back behind its head.
The female Costa's hummingbird is not as distinct as the male,
having grayish-green above with a white underbelly.
is fairly common in the arid brushy deserts and any nearby gardens of the
Southwestern United States and the Baja California Peninsula of
The male Costa's hummingbird's
courtship display is a spirited series of swoops and arcing dives, carefully
utilizing a proper angle to the sun to show off his violet plumage to impress
prospective mates. Each high-speed dive will also pass within inches of the
female, perched on a nearby branch, which will be accented by a high-pitched
shriek that is produced by the tail. Separately, the male will perch and produce
similar sounds in his song-- except, the song is vocal rather than
Costa's hummingbird constructs a small cup-shaped nest out of plant
fibers and down and coated with lichen to hold it together. The nest will be
situated above ground on a yucca stalk or tree limb. The female lays just two
eggs, which are white in color, which she will incubate for 15 to 18 days before
the young hatch. The young Costa's hummingbirds leave the nest after 20 to 23
Like all other hummingbird species, Costa's hummingbird
feeds on flower nectar and any tiny insects that it happens to find in the
flower petals. As with other species, it can slow down its metabolism during
cold nights when it enters a hibernation-like state known as torpor and its heart and
respiration rate are dramatically slowed.
Hybrids between this bird and Anna's hummingbird, the
black-chinned hummingbird as well as the broad-tailed hummingbird are
The binomial commemorates French nobleman Louis Marie
Pantaleon Costa, Marquis de Beauregard (1806?1864).
Photos by John Spencer
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