Selasphorus rufus
(Rufous Hummingbird)

Order: Apodiformes
Order Description: Swifts, Hummingbirds
Family: Trochilidae
Family Description: Hummingbirds

Physical Description:
3-4" (8-10 cm). Males are non-IridescentClick word for definition, red-brown on back, sides, and top of tail; breast is white; throat (gorget) is bright iridescent orange-red; crown is green. Occasionally, males have some green on back. Females and immatures are whitish below; dull red-brown on sides, rump, and most of tail; greenish on upper wings and back.

Similar Species- Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Calliope Hummingbirds

Calls a low tchup and an excited, buzzy zeee-chuppity-chup; very similar to calls of Allen's Hummingbird. The wings of adult males may produce a musical buzz in flight.

Breeds from southern Alaska, southwestern Canada, and western Montana, south and west of Cascades to northwestern California and southern Idaho. Winters mainly in Mexico. Often strays out of usual range.

Found in coniferousClick word for definition forests, second growth, and thickets and brushy hillsides (forages in adjacent scrubby areas and meadows). During migration and in winter, found in open situations where flowers are persent. A study in north-central Idaho found these hummingbirds more common in clearcut areas than in fragmented or contiguous stands of coniferous forest.

Feeds on nectar, insects, and tree sap.

Builds nest in tree, often on drooping branch; occasionally nests on vine. May nest in loose colony of up to 10 nests. Defends feeding territory during migrationClick word for definition and on breeding grounds. Capable of altering energy balance by employing NocturnalClick word for definition torporClick word for definition.

Female lays 2 eggs. Young are capable of first flight about 20 days after hatching.

Element Code: ABNUC51020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B

Important State References:
Hutto, R.L. 1993. Effects of clearcutting and fragmentation on the birds of a western coniferous forest. Final report to the Clearwater National Forest., Univ. Montana, Missoula. 13pp.

Photo by C. S. Robbins, ©2002.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.