Ruby-throated Hummingbird

(Archilochus colubris)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Ruby-throated Hummingbird


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Common migrant and breeder


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


3 to 3½ in length

3to 4¼ wingspan





  Photo by Laurie Wachholz


This 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.


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


Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) is the only other hummingbird found in Minnesota. It is an 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.


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.


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.


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.


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). NCBI34 has adopted the Sibley-Ahlquist reordering of hummingbirds. Most other authorities, including AOU, continue to classify hummingbirds in the order Apodiformes.



Apodiformes (swifts and hummingbirds)



Trochilidae (hummingbirds)













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.

Laurie Wachholz

  Ruby-throated Hummingbird    

Brenda Johnson

  Ruby-throated Hummingbird    

Bill Reynolds

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird taken in St Louis County

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







  Ruby-throated hummingbird
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Ruby-throated hummingbird  

Archilochus colubris

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




Visitor Videos

Share your video of this bird.


Other Videos

  Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Loring Park
jube o

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

Published on Aug 8, 2013

No description available.

  Hungry male Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Published on Apr 22, 2013

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





Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this bird.

Brenda Johnson

Location: Chatfield, MN

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

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

John Valo

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


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

Location: southern Minnesota

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

Charles Ham

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

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







Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2019 All rights reserved.