Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris
A flash of green and red, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is eastern North America’s sole breeding
hummingbird. These brilliant, tiny, precision-flying creatures glitter like jewels in the full sun, then
vanish with a zip toward the next nectar source. Feeders and flower gardens are great ways to
attract these birds, and some people turn their yards into buzzing clouds of hummingbirds each
Read more to learn about the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migration in spring an fall:
Spring Migration and
Find Ruby-throated Hummingbirds by wandering flowering gardens or woodland edges at the
height of summer, or by putting up a hummingbird feeder or visiting a friend who keeps them.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are common in suburbs and towns, and can become quite bold,
feeding at hanging plants and feeders on your porch or next to your windows.
A series of rapid squeaky chipping notes.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly straight and fast but can stop instantly, hover, and adjust their position
up, down, or backwards with exquisite control. They often visit hummingbird feeders and tube-shaped
flowers and defend these food sources against others. You may also see them plucking tiny insects from
the air or from spider webs.
Feeds primarly on nectar but takes some insects and spiders as well as sap from sapsucker drill
wells. n courtship flight it makes huge 180-degree arcs bak and forth while emitting a buzzing sound
at its lowest point. Males often arrive on breeding grounds well ahead of females. These birds are
strongly attracted to the color red.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a small hummingbird with a slender, slightly downcurved bill and fairly
short wings that don’t reach all the way to the tail when the bird is sitting.
Length: 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm)
Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g)
Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in (8-11 cm)
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are bright emerald or golden-green on the back and crown, with gray-white
underparts. Males have a brilliant iridescent red throat that looks dark when it’s not in good light.
Hummingbird nests are tiny architectural gems. Like so many other birds, the hummingbirds, too,
show great resourcefulness when it comes to building a safe shelter for their young. Now, tiny as
these birds are, the nests they build are even tinier. Most these nest homes are about 1.5-2 inches in
diameter and are normally no bigger than, say, a bottle cap or a ping pong ball.
Incubation is 11-16 days by female. Altricial young stay in the nest 20-22 days
and are fed by both females. There is one to three broods per year.
Very rapid wing beats - up to 75 per second.
Common to fairly common in breeding range.
Red columbine in spring. Salvia, trempet or coral huneysucke and bee balm later in the year. Also
jewelweed, phlox, petunias, lilies, trumpet creeper, Siberian peatree, nasturtium, cone-shaped red
flowers and sugar water.
It’s nesting time! Birds are master builders, putting together intricately made weavings of twig
and leaf, stem and fluff, hair and moss
Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about hummingbirds. This quiz is intended for
fun, in a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.
This guide features regional native plants for the Great Lakes that are highly
attractive to bird pollinators.