The Violet Sabrewing

By Emily Rackers

MONTEVERDE, Costa Rica — In the cloud forest of Monteverde, tourists can see one of the largest humming bird species in the world — the violet sabrewing.

Its dark silhouette looks almost black in the shadows of its “lekking area,” as naturalist guide Esteban Mendez Vargas calls the area where males congregate to attract females. But in the light, it’s a mirage of indigo and violet, with graceful white-tipped wings.

These large hummingbirds get their name from their territorial and aggressive behavior, and tendency to fight with their wings. At 5.9 inches long, a stand-off between two violet sabrewings is quite a sight.

Unfortunately for those of us hoping to run into this colorful creature back in the United States, the beautiful violet sabrewing is only found in Central and South America.

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