Nature Journal
with Photos

          
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
 
General Information
- Long, straight, thin bill
- Small hummingbird
- Bright green back and crown
- White underparts with greenish flanks

Adult male
- Iridescent scarlet gorget
- Black face and chin
- Entirely dark forked tail

Female/Immature
- White chin and throat with variable amounts of thin
   dark streaking
- Dark, shallowly-forked tail with white tips on outer
   tail feathers

Similar species
No other hummingbirds occur regularly over much of its range, but there is some overlap in the southeast and Texas.

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is similar to the male Ruby-throated, but has a rosy-red throat rather than a scarlet or ruby throat patch. Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can also be identified by their black face and chin, and their distinctive call notes, and the lack of a wing whistle produced by their wings in flight.

Females are similar to a number of other female hummingbirds, and are best told from the Calliope Hummingbird and species in the genus Selasphorus by their lack of rufous on the flanks and in the tail. Anna's Hummingbirds are larger and have grayer chests, while Costa's Hummingbirds differ only in subtleties of facial pattern and tail pattern.

Black-chinned Hummingbird females are essentially identical, and are not safely separable from female Ruby-throateds except in the hand.

Best told from all species except Black-chinned Hummingbird by call.
 
 
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