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Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbird and Green Pit Viper, By Bence Máté, Pusztaszer, Hungary

Green-crowned
Brilliant Hummingbird
and Green Pit Viper

Heliodoxa jacula
and Bothriechis schlegelii

Learn more about Heliodoxa jacula and Bothriechis schlegelii from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Santa Rita, Costa Rica
By Bence Máté
Pusztaszer, Hungary


Bence Máté

Tiny, vibrantly colored hummingbirds are a favorite among wildlife lovers. Of the 338 known species, roughly 50 types of these flying jewels live or breed in the tropical lowlands and cloud forests of Costa Rica, where arboreal vipers also live amid the foliage.

“I was photographing hummingbirds when I heard the sharp, alarming noise of the birds reacting to the presence of a predator. Sixty feet away from me this green-crowned brilliant was fearlessly attacking a small viper. The long shutter speed and shallow depth of field made it difficult to make an image with both animals sharp. I quickly set up two flashes to increase the light and shutter speed, one fired from the background and the other from the camera.” —BM


Nikon D700; 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens; 1/100 sec at ƒ/4; ISO 200; Canon 540EZ flash and 550EX slave; Gitzo carbon tripod; Gitzo fluid head.