Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

Rufous Hummingbird

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Trochilidae | [latin] Selasphorus rufus | [UK] Rufous Hummingbird | [FR] Colibri roux | [DE] Zimtkolibri | [ES] Colibri Rufo | [NL] Rosse Kolibrie


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Male: No other North American hummingbird has a rufous back. Upperparts bright red-brown; throat flaming orange-red. aerial display a closed ellipse, slowing on return climb.
Female: Green-backed; dull rufous on sides and at base of tail.

Listen to the sound of Rufous Hummingbird

[audio: Hummingbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 8 cm size max.: 9 cm
incubation min.: 15 days incubation max.: 17 days
fledging min.: 20 days fledging max.: 21 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


North America : West


Forest edges, streamsides, mountain meadows.
Breeding habitat includes forest edges and clearings, and brushy second growth within region of northern coast and mountains. Winters mostly in pine-oak woods in Mexico. Migrants occur at all elevations, but more commonly in lowlands during spring, in mo
untain meadows during late summer.


Male’s courtship display flight traces a steep U shape or vertical oval, climbing high and then diving steeply, with whining and popping sounds at bottom of div
e; also buzzes back and forth in front of perched female. Male may mate with several females, takes no part in raising young.
Nest: Site is usually well concealed in lower part of coniferous trees, deciduous shrubs, vines. Located 3-
30′ above ground, usually under 15′, although nests may be higher later in season. Old nests may be refurbished and reused. Nest (built by female alone)
is a compact cup of soft materials, lined with plant down, outside camouflaged with lichens and moss, held together with spider webs.
Eggs: 2, sometimes 1, rarely 3-4. White. Incubation by female only, 15-17 days.
Young: Female feeds young by inserting bill deep into nestling’s open mouth; young probably fed mostly insects. Age of young at first flight about 21 days.

Feeding habits

Mostly nectar and small insects. Consumes nectar from flowers, especially red tubular flowers such as penstemons, red columbines, paintbrush, scarlet sage, many others. Also feeds on sug
ar-water and sap. Eats many small insects and spiders.
Takes nectar while hovering in front of flowers; will also perch to feed if perches are convenient. Catches insects in midair or takes them from foliage. Regularly visits hummingbird feeders for sugar-water. Will visit drillings made in bark by sapsucker
s to drink oozing sap.


This species has an extremely 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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Rufous Hummingbird status Least Concern


Breeds in northwestern North America; winters in Mexico. A rare but regular straggler in fall and winter (November-April) eastward along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida. Casual or accidental elsewhere in the eastern United States.
b Migration: Moves northwest in early spring through Pacific lowlands; moves southeast beginning in late June, mostly through Rocky Mountains. Adult males migrate slightly earlier than females or young.

Distribution map

Rufous Hummingbird distribution range map

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