Ruby-throated Hummingbird

(Archilochus colubris)

Conservation Status
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Photo by Laurie Wachholz
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the smallest Breeding bird in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It is seldom seen but easily recognized because it is the only hummingbird that breeds in or migrates through Minnesota. It is 3 to 3½ in length and has a 3to 4¼ wingspan. The male weighs about 3 grams, the female about 3.5 grams.

The adult male has an iridescent green back and forehead, whitish underparts, gray or grayish-green sides and flanks, an iridescent ruby-red throat (gorget), and a black face and chin. The bill is slender, straight, and about ¾ long. The tail is entirely dark and forked. The wings are nearly black.

The adult female is larger. It has a grayish-white throat; a longer bill; a rounded to squared, shallowly forked tail; and white tips on the outer tail feathers. Juveniles resemble adult females. Young males and some older females have a few red feathers on the throat.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

3 to 3½ in length

3to 4¼ wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
 

A soft buzzing of the wings. A loud "chick" or squeak.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) is the only other hummingbird found in Minnesota. It is a rare, accidental visitor, not a resident. The back of the male is entirely brownish-red (rufous), occasionally with some green markings, but rarely entirely green. The female has a white throat with red spots.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dense or open, mixed or deciduous woodlands; wetlands, savannas, orchards, gardens, wooded back yards.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

In the spring, males arrive in late April or early May and establish a territory. Females arrive in early to mid-May.

In the fall, adults males begin migrating in early August. Females follow soon afterward. They fly across the Gulf of Mexico or along the western coast of Mexico and spend the winter in Central or South America.

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

The male performs a diving courtship display for any female that alights in its territory in the spring. After mating, the male has nothing more to do with the female or its offspring.

The female selects a nest site usually near the end of a down-sloping branch. She builds an open, cup-shaped nest on top of the branch out of bud scales, binding it together with spider silk or pine resin, lining it with thistle or dandelion down, and decorating it with lichens or moss. The nest takes 6 to 10 days to build and is about 2 in diameter when done. When the nest is completed the female lays 1 to 3 white, ½ to 9 16 long eggs.

The eggs hatch in 12 to 14 days. The young leave the nest 18 to 22 days after hatching.

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Flower nectar, small insects and spiders, sweetened water from backyard feeders. Where available, they also feed from Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wells. Early spring migrating males are heavily dependent on sapsucker wells because there are few or no blooming flowers when they arrive.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common migrant and breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Apodiformes (swifts and hummingbirds)  
 

Family

Trochilidae (hummingbirds)  
 

Subfamily

Trochilinae  
 

Genus

Archilochus (ruby-throated and black-chinned hummingbirds)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

In 1990, evolutionists Charles Sibley and Jon Ahlquist proposed a new taxonomy of birds based on DNA studies done in the 1970s and 1980s. In the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy the order Apodiformes is raised to a superorder and hummingbirds are separated as the order Trochiliformes. Some but not all of the proposed changes have been accepted by the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU).

Some taxonomists have placed hummingbirds into their own order Trochiliformes. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has adopted this classification. Few other sources have.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Gorget

A patch of colored feathers on the throat or upper breast of a bird, especially a hummingbird.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this bird.

 
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Gregory Gilman

 
 

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird   Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
           
 

Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird      
 

KG

 
 

2019 hummingbird nest

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird   Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
           
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird      
 

Gerry Garcia

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird      
           
 

First Hummer of the year

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird   Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
 

Laurie Wachholz

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird      
 

Brenda Johnson

 
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird      
 

Bill Reynolds

 
 

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird taken in St Louis County

I closely follow the spring and fall migration of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird each year. The first report of this season just came out. And so, with hummingbirds on the brain, I just noticed that you don't have any images of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

These images are of Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird and were taken in St Louis County.

Each year I typically will have 8-10 hummingbird hanging around the property here in Pennington County.

Historically, the Ruby-throated arrives here in Minnesota near the end of April or early May each year and leave in September.

  Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
       
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird      
           
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
  Ruby-throated hummingbird
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Ruby-throated hummingbird  
 
About

Archilochus colubris

 
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Allen Chartier
 
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this bird.

 
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Gerry Garcia

 
  Ruby throated Hummingbird 01
Published on Aug 7, 2019
 
   
 
About

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Lyndale Park, Minneapolis, MN

Video by Gerry Garcia

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Birds/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird.html

   
  Ruby throated Hummingbird 02
Sep 27, 2019
 
   
 
About

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

West Bloomington, MN

Video by Gerry Garcia

9/26/2019

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Birds/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird.html

   
  Ruby throated Hummingbird 03
Sep 27, 2019
 
   
 
About

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

West Bloomington, MN

9/26/2019

Video by Gerry Garcia

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Birds/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird.html

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Loring Park
jube o
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 2, 2013

Ruby-throated Hummingbird is stretching on the branch.
Loring Park
Minneapolis, MN.
Sep 2, 2013

   
  Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus Colubris 13
birdguyusa
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 8, 2013

No description available.

   
  Hungry male Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
colong7034
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 22, 2013

Hungry male Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). Transylvania County, NC. Shot 4/21/13

   
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Don in BC
11/23/2020

Location: Brooklyn Center, MN

Activated my motion sensor on my surveillance camera

 
  PikeMike
9/23/2020

Location: Big Lake, MN

I had many all summer, they would empty a feeder in a day when all the young were flying. After the frosts they all left 9/21/2020. I miss them already.

 
  Merrspa
9/7/2020

Location: Apple Valley, MN

Such a special surprise to see this bird – I can’t remember the last time they came by my house!

 
  Gregory Gilman
6/8/2020

Location: Rochester, MN

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  Gregory Gilman
5/29/2020

Location: Rochester, MN

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  Gregory Gilman

Location: Rochester, MN

Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  KG
9/22/2019

Location: Scott County

2019 hummingbird nest

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  Gerry Garcia
8/4/2019

Location: Lyndale Park, Minneapolis, MN

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  Gerry Garcia
5/6/2019

Location: West Bloomington

First Hummer of the year

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  Brenda Johnson
10/24/2018

Location: Chatfield, MN

How late in the fall will hummingbirds continue to migrate through southern Minnesota?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
  John Valo
10/27/2018

Southward migration begins in early August. According to Birds of Minnesota and Wisconsin (Janssen, Tessen, and Kennedy), Ruby-throated Hummingbird “rarely lingers into November.”

 
  Lauren
10/14/2018

Location: Cannon Falls, MN

I have 1 hummingbird left at my feeder. We got snow here today and freezing temperatures at night. I have been taking the feeder in at night and putting out every morning. Wish it would move on as I am worried about it. Anything else I can do to help?

 
  Jeff Larson
10/14/2018

Location: southern Minnesota

I have a hummingbird on my feeder today does it need rescue?

 
  Charles Ham
9/28/2017

Location: Minnetonka

Our Ruby Throated Hummingbirds departed on Sept. 27.  We had two families coming to our feeder on the 26th and none on the 27th.

 
  Bill Reynolds
5/27/2006

Location: St. Louis County

I closely follow the spring and fall migration of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird each year. The first report of this season just came out. And so, with hummingbirds on the brain, I just noticed that you don't have any images of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

These images are of Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird and were taken in St Louis County.

Each year I typically will have 8-10 hummingbird hanging around the property here in Pennington County.

Historically, the Ruby-throated arrives here in Minnesota near the end of April or early May each year and leave in September.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


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