Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Trochilidae | [latin] Selasphorus platycercus | [UK] Broad-tailed Hummingbird | [FR] Colibri a queue large | [DE] Dreifarbenkolibri | [ES] Colibri Coliancho | [NL] Breedstaartkolibrie


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

The male of this Rocky Mountain species may be known by the sound of its wings, a shrill trilling.b Male: Back green; throat bright rose-red.b Female:
Larger than the female Black-chin; sides tinged with buffy; touch of rufous at basal corners of tail.

Listen to the sound of Broad-tailed Hummingbird

[audio: Hummingbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 9 cm size max.: 10 cm
incubation min.: 16 days incubation max.: 17 days
fledging min.: 21 days fledging max.: 26 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


North America : Westcentral


Mountain meadows and forests.
Breeds mostly in mountains, up to over 10,000′ elevation. Mostly in rather open forest, especially near streams, including pine-oak and pinyon-juniper woods, and associations of spruce, Douglas-fir, and aspen. Migrants occur in all semi-open habitats of
mountains and also make stopovers in lowlands.


Male defends territory by perching high, scanning for and then chasing intruders. In courtship display, male repeatedly climbs high in air (up to 60′) and then dives, with loud wing-trill. After mating, male takes no part in raising young.
Nest: Site is in tree, on near-horizontal twig or branch, typically sheltered from above by overhanging branch. Usually 4-
20′ above ground, sometimes higher. Nest (built by female) is a cup of spider webs and plant down, the outside covered with lichen, moss, bits of bark.
Eggs: 2, sometimes 1, very rarely 3. White. Incubation by female only, 16-19 days.
Young: Female feeds young by inserting bill in open mouth of nestling and regurgitating nectar and insects. Female sleeps on nest at night until young are 10-
12 days old. Nest gradually stretches as young grow. Age of young at first flight about 21-26 days.

Feeding habits

Mostly nectar and small insects. Feeds on nectar from flowers, especially red tubular flowers adapted to be pollinated by hummingbirds. Also takes sugar-water and flowing sap. Eats many s
mall insects and spiders.
Takes nectar while hovering in front of flowers; will also perch to feed if a perch is convenient. Catches insects in midair or takes them from foliage. Regularly visits feeders filled with sugar-water. Will visit drillings in bark made by sapsuckers to
drink oozing sap.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird status Least Concern


Western United States to Guatemala. Migration:
Migration is early in both spring and fall, with many moving north in early March, south in early August. Adult males migrate before females and young in both spring and fall. Tends to move north through lowlands, south through mountains.

Distribution map

Broad-tailed Hummingbird distribution range map

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