Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated Hummingbird specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are about 7.5 to 9 cm long and weigh 3.5 grams. Males have an emerald green back, an iridescent ruby red throat, gray flanks, and an entirely dark, forked tail. The female differs from the male as she is larger with a longer bill, has a white breast and throat, and has a rounded tail with white tips. Immature birds resemble the female. These birds feed exclusively on nectar and insects, but they will eat tree sap when nectar is scarce. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only breeding hummingbird in the eastern United States. Ruby-throated hummingbirds winter in tropical deciduous or dry forests, scrubland, citrus groves, and second growth forests. They breed in mixed woodlands, eastern deciduous and pine forests, gardens, and orchards. The population is stable and common in its range.

DC Information

Fairly common breeder and transient, migrating north to this region in April and May and departing in August and September. Nests from late May to July. Seen usually in brushy hedgerows near flowers. The male has a sparkling red throat, the female a white throat.

Specimen Information

The bird in front is a male;  a female is in the back.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC17056 Archilochus colubris (Ruby-throated Hummingbird)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC17065 Archilochus colubris (Ruby-throated Hummingbird)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54376 Archilochus colubris (Ruby-throated Hummingbird)