This is the only species of hummingbird that nests east of the Great Plains. It is very similar in appearance to Black-chinned Hummingbird. Ruby-throated bill averages slightly shorter and straighter; tail is longer. The crown is usually all green. The outer primaries taper to a dull point. Male: Emerald green above. Dull whitish below with green on sides forming a dark “vest.” The white of the upper breast extends around the sides of the neck, creating a collar. The gorget is ruby-red, with a band of black across the upper edge. In certain light, the entire head may appear black. Female: Golden green above, dull whitish below. Dusky face contrasts with whitish throat. Throat is often unmarked, but may show streaking or spots. Tail is more deeply notched than that of a Black-chinned Hummingbird, and extends beyond the wingtips at rest. Center tail feathers are green; others have green bases and black bands. Outer three tail feathers tipped white. Juveniles resemble adult female, but with buffy feather edges on the upperparts and shorter bills. Juvenile female has white tips on next-to-center tail feathers. Juvenile male has spotting on the throat.
Length: 8 (cm) Wingspan: 11 (cm)
Call is a thin high chip.
Mixed forest, deciduous forest, residential areas.
Does not pump tail as regularly as Black-chinned Hummingbird.
Feeds on floral nectar, sap from sapsucker wells, and small insects.
Well, I learned something today. Last week I observed an apparent male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a local feeder but rather than showing the rich ruby red iridescence in the gorget, this bird was orange to orange-yellow, similar in color to the orange of an adult male Baltimore Oriole. In every other way it appeared to be a typical Ruby-throated male. I contacted Bob Sargent, the guru of hummingbird banders and Ruby-throat aficionado, described the bird and he mentioned that he has seen birds in molt show this type of coloring. Today, I was able to get some images of the bird. I used a very high ISO as I wanted to use natural light and not flash in order to keep the colors close to what I was seeing in the field. Though the images are far from stellar, lo and behold, this bird WAS in molt. Perhaps some aspect of this process somehow altered the reflective properties of the gorget and the typical rich red was now reflected as orange. Again, a lesson in not putting all of your eggs in the "one field-mark" basket. The gallery is below and I include an image of a more typical ruby-throated Ruby-throat for comparison. http://birddog55.zenfolio.com/p145646176
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
Expanded Life History
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|Adult Male Description||Contribute Content|
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|ID Tips - Size & Shape||Contribute Content|
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