Often described as "feisty," the Rufous
may have the ideal size-to-weight ratio among
North American hummingbirds. This bird outflies
all other species, and usually gets its way at
feeders at the expense of slower,
less-maneuverable hummers. The Rufous has the
longest migration route of all US hummingbirds.
In the East, this species is known as a scarce
migrant and winter visitor to Louisiana and
Florida. While in that area it feeds chiefly on
the flowers of hibiscus and salvia, which often
bloom all winter long. A few birds generally
spend the winter but may disappear abruptly when
the first severe cold spell occurs. Hummingbirds
share certain traits. The first bird to discover
a source of food defends it. Even when satiated,
it will perch nearby and intercept intruders in
the air with angry buzzing. If a female is
disturbed when feeding, she gives a "no
trespassing" signal by fanning and waving
her tail. Females, therefore, have developed
distinct tail patterns, whereas males, facing the
opponent, signal with their brilliant throat
patches, called gorgets.
Average weight: male 3.22 g, female 3.41 g.
Females are larger than males.
Adult male: Non-iridescent rufous crown, tail,
and sides; back may be rufous, green , or some of
each; bright orange-red gorget, white breast.
Green-backed Rufous cannot be reliably separated
from Allen's in the field without extensive
experience and a good view of the spread
tailfeathers through a scope.
Adult female: Green back and crown, white breast,
streaked throat, rufous sides and base of tail
feathers, white tips on outer tail feathers. Very
similar to female Allen's and Broad-tailed.
Observed in every state and province except
Hawaii, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. There
was even one very unusual report from extreme
eastern Siberia! The Rufous is the most
widely-distributed hummingbird in North America.
Winters in Mexico and possibly Panama.
Hummingbird Range Map
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