At last, I believe I’ve found an ID challenge too diabolical for even the crack cadre of avian savants that tend to respond to our cruel offerings. If this turns out to be true, though, I’ll actually be disappointed because this ID may, for once, matter (as opposed to certain futile attempts to identify imaginary Asian birds on ancient dishware.)

A few weeks ago when Renato and Paola of Pululahua Hostal took me for a ride on Ecuador’s esteemed Ecoroute, we identified our fair share of birds but missed quite a few as well. One bird that made an impression on us was a little green hummingbird buzzing through the bushes on the side of the road. Our first thought was Western Emerald but, fortunately, Renato took a video of this wee beauty bathing in the puddle of a leaf. I’d be tempted to share that footage for the cuteness factor alone. However, the bird became more interesting when we realized that it has pufflegs, that puffy, leg-warmer-like feathering wrapping the lower extremities.

A number of Ecuadorean hummingbirds possess pufflegs; some are common while other range from rare to possibly extinct. We’re not sure exactly which kind we have here. What do you think?

Footage by Renato Espinoza

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.