Black-chinned Hummingbird

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Common Name: Black-chinned Hummingbird
Scientific Name: Archilochus alexandri

Size: 3.25 inches (8.25 cm)

Habitat: North America; Summer: Breeding habitat includes open semi-arid areas near water in the western United States, northern Mexico and southern British Columbia. Winter: Mexico.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a habitat generalist, found in lowland deserts and mountainous forests, in “natural” habitats and very urbanized areas as long as there are tall trees and flowering shrubs and vines.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 2,000,000 mature individuals. This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (72.6% increase over 40 years, equating to a 14.6% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count.

Diet: Flower nectar, small insects, and tree sap. Hovers at flowers and feeders, darts erratically to take tiny swarming insects, perches atop high snags to survey its territory, watching for competitors to chase off and for flying insects to eat.

Breeding: Adults are metallic green above and white below with green flanks. Their bill is long, straight and very slender. The adult male has a black face and chin, a glossy purple throat band and a dark forked tail. The female has a dark rounded tail with white tips and no throat patch; they are similar to female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. During courtship and territorial defense, males display by diving 66-100 feet.

Females build a well-camouflaged nest in a protected location in a shrub or tree using plant fiber, spider webs and lichens. A Black-chinned Hummingbird’s eggs are about the size of a coffee bean. The nest, made of plant down and spider and insect silk, expands as the babies grow.

Cool Facts: A hybrid between this species and Anna's Hummingbird was called Trochilus violajugulum. It is also known to hybridize with Costa's Hummingbird.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird’s tongue has two grooves; nectar moves through these via capillary action, and then the bird retracts the tongue and squeezes the nectar into the mouth. It extends the tongue through the nearly closed bill at a rate of about 13–17 licks per second, and consumes an average of 0.61 milliliters (about a fifth of a fluid ounce) in a single meal. In cold weather, may eat three times its body weight in nectar in one day. They can survive without nectar when insects are plentiful. They aren’t so much drawn to the red coloring as they are to the colors of recent nectar sources.

The oldest known Black-chinned Hummingbird lived to be 10 years, 1 month old.

Included in Songbird ReMix Hummingbirds of North America

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