On our recent adventures in Costa Rica two species were common; especially Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza. I think that, on average, we saw more males than females and it is indeed a handsome bird.
It is instantly recognizable with its brilliant turquoise body, yellow bill and red eye in a black hood.
The female might merit the name Green Honeycreeper more than the male perhaps, for she truly is green, a lovely lime green in fact, with a slightly decurved yellow bill and a dark culmen. Equally as handsome as the male in my opinion, it is not hard to understand why early ornithologists upon first seeing them, thought they were a separate species, until pairs were seen together engaged in behaviours that clearly marked them as different genders of the same species.
The second species we saw was Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus, not as frequently, however as Green Honeycreeper. Here is a male perched in the lower branches of a tree.
As you can see the name is appropriate for the red legs are indeed a distinguishing feature. Red-legged Honeycreepers do not join mixed flocks as frequently as Chlorophanes honeycreepers and when they do their hostility is limited to posturing rather than physical action. Females especially (seen below) seem to be more argumentative than males.
We saw the male several times displaying its pale turquoise crown but we were never able to determine what proximate conditions caused it to do this.
It was entertaining to watch, however.
So, if you have plans to travel to the neotropics be sure to keep an eye open for these attractive little birds. Observe them closely and you will be rewarded with a living lesson in avian ecology. It is sure to enhance your experience.