At the same Utah rest stop where I’d seen the Black-chinned Hummingbirds in a previous blog, I found another species of hummingbird–which I thought was a female Ruby-throated until I processed my photographs. This female has a light rust wash on her flanks and speckled streaks on her throat, whereas the female Ruby-throated has clear flanks and throat.
Broad-tailed hummingbirds breed in the US southwestern mountains, as far west as eastern California and as far north as southern Idaho. The birds prefer meadows and other open habitats in lower elevations in the mountains and regularly visit nectar feeders during migration.
The Broad-taileds winter primarily in Mexico.
Other than plumage, a Broad-tailed’s wings give out an unusual metallic trilling when in flight rather than the humming/thrumming sound of other hummingbirds’ wings.
They’re very territorial and defend patches of wildflowers from others of their species. Aggressive as they may be within their own species, they’re frequently dominated by other species of hummers.
My thanks to Jim McConnor and Anders Fjeldstad of Blackbrook Audubon Society for confirming the identity of the two species of hummingbirds.
from South Dakota birds and About.com Photo copyright Carole Clement