Monday, July 30, 2012

Southwest Hummingbirds Part 4: Magnificent and Rufous

As I mentioned in yesterday's post (7/29/12), I was able to see at least four different species of Hummimgbirds, while sitting in one spot at the Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservatory.
A male Magnificent Hummingbird, Ramsey Canyon NC, Sierra Vista, AZ; 4/9/2012.
By far my favorite of the group of hummers was the Magnificent Hummingbird (Above). It was very aptly named, as I found it to be truly "magnificent" to observe. At 5.25" long, it is much larger than the other hummers (ranging from 3.5" - 4" long) that I have seen. Its dark overall coloring was very striking. In the right light, the Magnificent's crown will appear purple with a green throat, but in the shade he looked all black to go with its black breast and belly and with dark green back and wings. He's like the mysterious superhero of hummers.
A male Magnificent HB, Ramsey Can. NCA, Sierra Vista, AZ; 4/9/2012.
I also felt very fortunate to be able to see one of these regal hummers as they are not commonly found on U.S. soil. However, when they are within our borders, they can be found in the very local area of southeastern corner of Arizona in pine-oak forests. Otherwise it is more likely to be located in Mexico.

Another different looking hummingbird than the usual green-backed, red-throated , buffy-breasted species that occupy the western states, is the Rufous Hummingbird (Below).

A male Rufous Hummingbird, Ramsey Can NCA, Sierra Vista, AZ; 4/9/2012.
He appeared and was gone so fast that I almost missed him.  I was focussing on a Broad-billed Hummer (7/29 post) when he showed. The pic (Above) I did get is not the one of my best (poorly focussed), but was the best of the three I managed to get before he disappeared. I was hoping it would return, but never did. What I like about the Rufous is its unusual coloring for a Hummingbird, with an orangish head, back, belly, and tail, offset by its white breast, green wings and dark orangish/brownish throat. Females lack the orange back head and belly, and with the exception of orange under its tail, look much more like other typical hummers. I didn't notice a female at this spot, however. Rufous Hummingbirds are one of our more northern hummers as they reside in Oregon, Washington State and into Canada all the way up to Alaska during the summers. I was happy to get him while he was passing through in southern Arizona.  As a rare sighting, last winter in Chicago, a Rufous Hummingbird was spotted and spent much of the winter there, way out of its usual territory and long past its migration window.

1 comment:

~Val said...

I've never seen one of these. He's gorgeous!