This four-inch hummingbird is a Costa Rican specialty, and even within that small country, the bird is hard to spot.

Imagine you're standing in the ocean with your back to the shore—then you see the Mangrove Hummingbird zip past. That's the usual way people lucky enough to see this bird experience it.

The species is found only in mangrove swamps and adjacent vegetation along the Pacific Coast. It's so closely tied to mangroves that the bird even prefers to feed on mangrove flowers.

Rising Waters, Sinking Species?

Sea level rise associated with climate change is one of the biggest threats to the Mangrove Hummingbird. Since mangroves are low-lying, any rise in surrounding waters could quickly inundate the species' limited habitat.

Habitat loss is another issue. Although mangrove logging is illegal in Costa Rica, trees are still cut to make room for shrimp aquaculture, road construction, and charcoal production. This ever-shrinking habitat puts Mangrove Hummingbirds and other vulnerable species at risk, including the Yellow-billed Cotinga, Black-cheeked Ant Tanager, and Turquoise Cotinga.

Oasis on the Osa

The species' limited range and declining numbers have led the International Union for Conservation of Nature to classify the Mangrove Hummingbird as Endangered. In 2008, our International Program and Osa Conservation established the Yellow-billed Cotinga Sanctuary in 2013, helping to protect mangroves essential to the hummingbird and other species.

Birders and ecotourists can visit the Osa to see the Mangrove Hummingbird and other birds found nowhere else. Visit Conservation Birding to learn more.