This is the common hummingbird of mountain meadows throughout much of the West. In all plumages, the tail is broad and quite long, extending well beyond the wingtips at rest. At close range, note the pale eye ring. Male: Emerald green upperparts. The gorget is rose-red and contrasts sharply with the white upper breast. The sides are green with a buffy wash, creating a dark “vest.” The central tail feathers are green; the others are blackish with thin rufous edges. In flight, the tips of the male’s outer primaries produce a loud whistling sound. Female: All green above. Underparts are whitish with a buffy vest. The throat is often covered with uniform rows of dark spots. The tail is green with a black band at the end. The three outer sets of tail feathers have white tips. The bases of the outer sets of tail feathers have a small area of rufous; less than is shown on Rufous and Allen’s Hummingbirds. Juveniles resemble adult female. Young males may show scattered red feathers on gorget, and green flecks on sides.
Length: 10 (cm) Wingspan: 13 (cm)
Call is a sharp high chip. Loud metallic wing whistle of adult males is distinctive.
Open mixed woodlands, riparian woods, mountain meadows.
Male performs a series of steep dives when courting female.
Feeds on floral nectar and small insects.
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