Rufous Hummingbird


Common Name
Rufous Hummingbird
Scientific Name
Selasphorus rufus
Length
3 1/2" - 3 3/4"
Weight
Male Rufous Hummingbirds average 3.2 g, females 3.4 g.
Range
Abundant migrant in the Western U.S.
Characteristics and Identification

No other North American hummingbird has a rufous back. They are fiercely territorial, feisty, and are perhaps the most aggressive hummingbird.

It is a fairly small, slender hummingbird with a nearly straight medium-length black bill and a tail that tapers to a point when folded. The body is overall rufous.

Male has a orange-red gorget, rufous, reddish brown back, tail and sides.

Female has rusty sides and undertail coverts. Females and immatures are similar to Allen's hummingbird, the larger Broad-Tailed and the smaller Calliope.

Rufous hummingbirds breed in southern Alaska, western Canada and the Pacific Northwestern states of Washington and Oregon.

The female builds the nest about 1.5" in diameter from plant down, fibers, flower petals and bud scales. The eggs are white, and unmarked. The clutch size is normally 2, with an incubation period of 15-17 days.

Rufous Hummingbird Migration

The spring migration from Mexico is through the Pacific states, and the fall migration through the Rocky Mountains.

During migration, they can be found in mountain meadows as high as 12,000 feet. Winter habitat in Mexico and southern Texas includes shrubby openings and oak-pine forests at middle to high elevation. It is also a somewhat rare visitor to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast during winter.

The map below shows the approximate spring migration arrival dates for Rufous Hummingbirds in North America.

Arrival dates vary from year to year and from location to location, depending on a number of weather-related conditions and other environmental factors.

Map showing the approximate spring migration arrival dates for Rufous Hummingbirds in North America

Rufous Hummingbird (August, 2015)
Rufous Hummingbird
Source: Author's archives
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rufous Hummingbird ... hovering
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
Source: Audubon Society
Comparison of a Rufous Hummingbird (R) with a Ruby-Throat Hummingbird (L)
Rufous Hummingbird (R) sharing a feeder with a Ruby-Throat Hummingbird (L) (August, 2015)
Source: Author's archives
Rufous Hummingbird in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rufous Hummingbird in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Source: Ken Mock, 2015
Rufous Hummingbird in Texas
Rufous Hummingbird in Texas
Source: SN, Killeen, Texas