Ecology & Environment
"In the Ecuadorian Amazon, which represents just two percent of the whole basin, live one-third of all the bird species in the entire Amazon region, and 10 percent of all the tree species on earth. Over 24 tropical life zones are found in Ecuador (according to the Holdridge Life Zone system) including: mangrove swamp, dry tropical forest, tropical cloud forest, páramo, and tropical lowland rainforest. Due to its great variety of life zones, Ecuador boasts one the highest levels of bio-diversity in the world. For example, one hectare of lowland rainforest can contain as many frog species as in all of North America; one tree can contain more ant species than in all of the British Isles combined; and of the world’s known bird species (about 9,000), pint-sized Ecuador is home to over 1,500. Ecuador also has one of the greatest levels of endemism anywhere in the world." (Taken from Ecuadorexplorer.com)
"Ecuador is an ecological miracle. It is no larger than the state of Colorado and ranks among the top ten most ecologically diverse countries in the world. Ecuador is also a wonderful place to watch hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are an important part of Quito’s cultural ancestry, as well as that of all America: A “Land of Hummingbirds ". Many of Ecuador's hummingbirds are brightly-colored and some are so distinctive than even the most inexperienced bird-watcher can easily identify them.
Due to the variations in altitude, made possible by the presence of the Andes Mountains, and our position on the Equator, Ecuador is a unique place on Earth – one of the geographical areas that contain practically all of the climate steps in the world! It is because of this location on the globe that we are home to so many birds; there is something for everyone! Hummingbirds in Ecuador can be found in nearly every type of habitat from sea level to the snowcapped mountains and can even be found in city centers of large towns. The most amazing ones occupy the high altitude regions of the Andes right up to the glaciers of 5000 meters. To survive that high up, those species of colibries (Spanish for hummingbirds) go into a state of torpor at night, diminishing their heart rate and dropping body temperature by 25° Celsius to conserve energy in the cold and often freezing paramo nights.
Also, did you know that Ecuador holds the world record for the number of hummingbird species in one country? Well, we do! Ecuador is home to over 132 species of hummingbirds grouped into 57 genera, representing almost half of all hummingbirds found worldwide. Hummingbirds are a very unique bird; they’ve adapted to any type of climate and altitude by changing their feathers, bill and size to adapt. It is very interesting to observe how there are a higher number of species in less extreme areas. As we move towards more intense, harsh conditions, the number of species dramatically reduces to a handful. History shows that hummingbirds may have originally appeared in warmer, more tropical areas and, as they began to colonize areas outside of their comfort zone, their bodies changed to accommodate their new conditions.
Hummingbirds are the only type of bird that can fly backwards. The posture of a hummingbird can help indicate which family it belongs to. The hermits have long curved bills and tend to tuck their tails slightly under making them look as if they are curved forwards. They often hover with their bodies in a nearly vertical position. Woodstars, small with short tails and straight bills, tend to hold their bodies more horizontally with their tails sticking upwards. They can also hover in mid-air and can even fly upside down. Although the 'elbow' and 'wrist' joints are fused so the wings do not bend in the middle, hummingbirds have 180º of motion at the shoulder joint." (Taken from https://www.eco-lodgesanjorge.com/ecuador_hummingbirds.shtml)