Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby throat in flight

Ruby throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris

Description:

  • Size: 3 to 4 (7-9 cm)
  • Wingspan: 3 to 4 (8-11 cm)
  • Weight: .07 to .21 ounces (2-6 g)

This tiny bird has a metallic green back and a bill that is long, straight and very slender. It hovers while feeding.

Diet:

They feed on tiny flying insects, spiders and nectar. They can be attracted to hummingbird feeders using artificial nectar (sugar water).

Sex Differences:

Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds are metallic green above and grayish white below with a glossy ruby red throat patch and a dark, forked tail. The female has a dark rounded tail with white tips and no throat patch, though she may sometimes show light spotting on her throat.

Nesting:

The female will search out nearby males after initiating nest construction. She will gather grasses, pieces of lichen, plant down and spider webs to build her nest. The spider webs are used to secure the nest to the chosen location and to hold the nest together. The chosen location is usually in a deciduous tree in dense woodland, 5 to 30 feet above ground and near the tip of a downward-sloping branch. The nest is about the size of a walnut.

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know:

  • Ruby-throats may travel as many as 2,000 miles between Canada and Panama. The trip includes a non-stop, 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The ruby throated hummingbird beats its wings 53 times a second.
  • Because of its extremely short legs, a ruby throated hummingbird can't walk or even hop. The best it can do is scoot along a perch. If it needs to, it can stretch its leg above its wing to scratch its head.


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