Black-chinned HummingbirdArchilochus alexandri

adult male
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult male
Rolf Nussbaumer/VIREO
adult female
Rolf Nussbaumer/VIREO
nestlings
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult male
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult male
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
juvenile
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird

Family

Description

3 1/4-3 3/4" (8-10 cm). A small hummingbird. Male green above with iridescent black chin underlined by violet-purple throat band. Female green above with white throat and breast, buff sides, and white-tipped outer tail feathers. See Costa's Hummingbird. In East, female not distinguishable in field from female Ruby-throated.

Voice

A low tup.

Listen

flight display
chase calls

Habitat

Mountain and alpine meadows, woodlands, canyons with thickets, chaparral, and orchards.

Range

Breeds from British Columbia south throughout West to Mexico and central Texas. Winters in Mexico.

Discussion

The male Black-chinned, like all hummingbirds, maintains a mating and feeding territory in spring. He courts his female with a dazzling aerial display involving a pendulum-like flight pattern. When mating interest wanes, the male often takes up residence elsewhere, near a good food supply. Later, when plant blooming and insect swarming subside, the birds move south.

Nesting

2 white eggs in a nest of fluffy plant wool and lichens woven together with spider webs, placed in a shrub or low tree.

Similar Species

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Male metallic green, with rose-red gorget; green crown; broad tail with little rufous.

adult male

Rufous Hummingbird

3 1/2-4" (9-10 cm). Male has bright rufous upperparts and flanks and iridescent orange-red throat. Female green above, with rufous tinge on rump and flanks, and much rufous in tail.

adult male

Allen's Hummingbird

3-3 1/2" (8-9 cm). A very small hummingbird. Male has iridescent green crown and back; rufous rump and tail.

adult male

Calliope Hummingbird

2 3/4-3 1/4" (7-8 cm). The smallest North American hummingbird. Male metallic green above; has white gorget with purple-violet rays, which can be raised to give a whiskered effect.

adult male

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

3 1/2" (9 cm). Tiny. Needle-like bill. Metallic green above, white below; male has brilliant, iridescent red throat. Immature male lacks red throat.

adult male

Lucifer Hummingbird

3 3/4" (10 cm). A small hummingbird, with decurved bill. Male iridescent green, with green crown and long purple gorget; white below, with buff on flanks.

adult male

Anna's Hummingbird

3 1/2-4" (9-10 cm). A medium-sized hummingbird. Both sexes metallic green above; male has dark rose-red crown and gorget and grayish chest.

adult female

Costa's Hummingbird

3-3 1/2" (8-9 cm). A tiny hummingbird. Male's violet-purple crown and gorget, which is flanked with very long, conspicuous side feathers, distinguish it from Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Vireo

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