2 3/4-4" (7-10 cm). A tiny hummingbird; short bill and characteristic hovering posture -- with tail slightly cocked up and body almost horizontal. Bill is more frequently stained with yellow from pollen than other hummers. Males have elongate purple-red throat feathers than can appear as streaks or rays on white background, be fluffed out to give a whiskered effect, or be folded like a dark inverted V on a white throat; white below with green sides; metallic green above. Females have pale cinnamon-buff sides; upperparts green, red-brown base of tail with white tips on corners; white below with a few fine, dark spots on throat.
Similar Species- Male Costa's Hummingbird, female and immature Allen's, Rufous, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, female Black- chinned Humming bird
Calls a high, thin tsip. Male's display call is a high, thin zee-ree.
Breeds in mountains from central interior British Columbia and southwestern Alberta, south through Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California to northern Baja California, and east to northern Wyoming, western Colorado, and Utah. Winters from northern to central Mexico.
Found in mountains (along meadows, canyons and streams), in open montane forests, and in willow and alder thickets. During migration and in winter, found in chaparral, lowland brushy areas, and deserts.
Feeds on nectar, insects, and spiders. Food sources include: paintbrush, penstemon, columbine, trumpet gilia, and elephant head.
Builds cup-shaped nest in tree on limb or cone, or in shrub. Nests from 180 m (Washington) to more than 3000 m (California). Takes nectar from flowers, or may hunt from perch. Tends to feed close to ground. In southern British Columbia, defends territories from late April-late June. Smallest bird north of Mexico.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
No references are available at this time.