Broad-tailed HummingbirdSelasphorus platycercus

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird



4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Male metallic green, with rose-red gorget; green crown; broad tail with little rufous. Female similar to female Rufous and Allen's Hummingbirds, but has green central tail feathers; outer tail feathers are rust-colored at base, black in middle, and white on outer tips.


Call is a sharp chick.


chips and trill
flight display


Mountain meadows, pinyon-juniper woodlands, dry ponderosa pines, fir or mixed forests, and canyon vegetation.


Breeds in mountains from eastern California and northern Wyoming south through Great Basin and Rocky Mountain states to southern Arizona and western Texas. Winters in Mexico.


Accounts of this species mention that it nests in the same tree or bush year after year, a phenomenon known as philopatry -- faithfulness to the previous home area. It will return to the same branch and even build a new nest atop an old one.


2 white eggs in a woven cup nest of lichen and plant down.

Similar Species

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

Black-chinned Hummingbird

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.

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.


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