The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a species of hummingbird that generally spends the winter in Central America, Mexico, and Florida. It migrates to Eastern North America for the summer to breed. It is by far the most common hummingbird seen east of the Mississippi River in North America.
This hummingbird is from 2.8 to 3.5 inches long and weighs from 0.071 to 0.212 oz. Adults are metallic green above and grayish white below, with near-black wings. Their bill, at up to 0.79 inches, is long, straight, and very slender.
The species is sexually dimorphic. The adult male has a gorget (throat patch) of iridescent ruby red bordered narrowly with velvety black on the upper margin and a forked black tail with a faint violet sheen. The red iridescence is highly directional and appears dull black from many angles. The female has a notched tail with outer feathers banded in green, black, and white and a white throat that may be plain or lightly marked with dusky streaks or stipples. Males are smaller than females and have slightly shorter bills. Juvenile males resemble adult females, though usually with heavier throat markings. The plumage is molted once a year, beginning in late summer. [Wikipedia]
A flash of green and red, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is eastern North America’s sole breeding hummingbird. These brilliant, tiny, precision-flying creatures glitter like jewels in the full sun, then vanish with a zip toward the next nectar source. Feeders and flower gardens are great ways to attract these birds, and some people turn their yards into buzzing clouds of hummingbirds each summer. Enjoy them while they’re around; by early fall they’re bound for Central America, with many crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a single flight. [All About Birds]
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Facts [All About Birds]
- The extremely short legs of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird prevent it from walking or hopping. The best it can do is shuffle along a perch. Nevertheless, it scratches its head and neck by raising its foot up and over its wing.
- Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds don’t stick around long. Pairs are together long enough for courtship and mating – just a matter of days to weeks. Then he’s off on his own and may begin migration by early August.
- Scientists place hummingbirds and swifts in the same taxonomic order, the Apodiformes. The name means “without feet,” which is certainly how these birds look most of the time.
- The oldest known Ruby-throated Hummingbird was a female, and at least 9 years, 1 month old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in West Virginia.