All You Need To Know About The Rufous Hummingbird

All You Need To Know About The Rufous Hummingbird

Are you a hummingbird lover and love to identify new species and types? If you do, you must know about the Rufous hummingbird. They are smaller members of the hummingbird family, but they are still pugnacious.

If you want to understand the Rufous hummingbird better, you have come to the right place. Here is your complete guide to understanding this breed so that you can spot it on your next field visit.

The Habitat Of A Rufous Hummingbird

The habitat is the most important thing to understand as it will help you know where you can find this bird. Rufous hummingbirds breed in North-western U.S and forests in Canada. Besides that, they spend winters in Mexican highlands and spread across the U.S Gulf Coast.

However, you will commonly find this breed in forests, parks, yards, and open areas as that is where they breed. During migration, they pass through mountainous meadows that can go as high as over 12,000 feet, where all the tubular nectar-rich flowers are blooming everywhere.

The winter habitat is in Mexico because it includes oak-pine forests and shrubby openings. The hummingbirds can perch between middle to high elevations and enjoy the forest.

The Color Pattern of Rufous Hummingbirds

Male Rufous Hummingbird

Many species of hummingbirds have the brightest colors, and this one is no different. For example, when the lighting is good, the male Rufous hummingbird will glow like no other. It will usually have a bright orange color on the belly and back with a vibrant iridescent red throat.

Female Rufous Hummingbird

On the other hand, the female Rufous hummingbirds have a different color as they are green on the upper body with rufous-washed flanks. Besides that, they have rufous patches in their green tail and a little bit of orange in the throat. The males have brighter color patterns as they use them to attract the female hummingbirds.

The Size And Shape Of A Rufous Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are all small, and the Rufous hummingbird is no different. It is fairly small, but it has a nearly straight and slender bill. Besides that, it has a tail that tapers to a point when it is folded.

The wings are also fairly short and will not reach the end of the tail when the hummingbird is perching. As a general rule of thumb, the size of the Rufous hummingbird is almost the same as a ruby-throated hummingbird. So, they are small and slender.

The Behaviour Of A Rufous Hummingbird

All You Need To Know About The Rufous Hummingbird

Of course, like many hummingbirds, the Rufous hummingbirds have the gift of fast and darting flight with the ease of accurate maneuverability. These birds are incredibly pugnacious, and they are constantly chasing away other hummingbirds. That is true even in places they are visiting during their migration period.

Besides that, these hummingbirds also eat nectar and insects that they catch in mid-air or from spiderwebs. So, you must never underestimate the speed and pugnacity of a Rufous hummingbird as they are incredibly flighty.

Rufous Hummingbird And Their Incredible Memory

Rufous hummingbirds have the best memory as their hippocampus is relatively larger than any other bird group studied till now. That is because the hippocampus of Rufous hummingbirds occupies a percentage of brain volume that is five times larger than that of songbirds. Besides that, they also have incredible spatial memory.

Such a memory allows these hummingbirds to pinpoint:

  • Prime nectar locations
  • Locations of food sources such as feeders
  • Tracking of the flower blooms at their peak
  • And much more

Because of this spatial memory, the birds will only visit the flower when it offers the richest nectar supply. The best part about their memory is they can remember feeder locations from migratory pathways and other territories they crossed during the previous years.

Rufous Hummingbirds Courting Females

The male Rufous hummingbird will court females using an elaborate flight display. They will do incredibly steep U-shaped dives during these flights that will show how skilled they are. Besides that, such flights ensure that the air rushes through their wings and tail, which produces a chattering and buzzy noise that enhances their performance even further.

Keep in mind that the Rufous hummingbirds can also defend a breeding territory that can contain many nesting females. That is because after mating, the males usually go away, and the female does all the work in taking care of the young and raising them. However, some of them may defend a breeding territory.

Final Words

That is everything you need to know about the Rufous hummingbird. They are one of the fascinating species, but their population is slowly declining. This is because of habitat loss on wintering and breeding grounds.

These birds also face threats on their migratory journey that further enhance the risk. The current population is nineteen million, but it is declining. So, you can also take many initiatives and steps to ensure that the population of rufous hummingbirds keeps on growing as they are one of the most beautiful birds you will find.

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