A male Costa’s Hummingbird has joined the Studio City Gang! Costa’s are seen occasionally along coastal California during the summer, but it is rare to see them here in January. I was pretty sure I saw a hummer that flashed some purple at me when I was out refilling the feeders last week. Today I saw him again and was able to get a few mediocre photos. My big question, though, is whether this bird is a true Costa’s or if it is a Anna’s x Costa’s hybrid.
There have been reports of Anna’s x Costa’s hybrids in the area, so I had to wait to get more photos of this guy to see if he’s a hybrid or an actual Costa’s. Marilyn Meadows Bernstein had a hybrid in her yard in Calabasas, and Luke Tiller had one in his yard in Altadena a couple of years ago. Marilyn’s hybrid is pictured below.
An Anna’s Hummingbird has a rather long tail, which extends beyond its wingtips when its wings are closed. A Costa’s Hummingbird has a short tail which does not extend beyond its wingtips. I learned all of this from Luke Tiller’s birding blog “Under Clear Skies”. Here’s the link if you want to learn more. https://underclearskies.com/tag/annas-x-costas-hummingbird/
My bird has the gorget of a Costa’s and it stays purple with no pink tones. His tail is short, but it extends maybe a millimeter beyond it’s wing feathers. The first picture below is one of my Anna’s and you can see the rather long tail. The second picture shows the tail of this Costa’s.
This bird also has the “vested” appearance of the abdomen like a male Costa’s. I haven’t seen the bird enough to comment on it’s posture. Costa’s tend to have a “hunched” appearance when resting. Here are a male and a female I photographed in Arizona.
Rest assured I will be stalking this guy for more and better photos. In the meantime, what do you think we have here?
Studio City, California