Appearance #1

The questions below come in part from visitors who leave messages on the Operation RubyThroat website. Please send your own questions to QUESTIONS, or post them on the Guestbook page.
1. Today (9/1/99) one of the hummers I saw at my window had yellow-orange dots about 3mm in diameter on each side of its neck where the head and neck join. The dots were iridescent and shiny in the sun. (Thanks to Don Dunsmore of Frederick, Maryland, for submitting this very first question and photo to Operation RubyThroat.)


Photo by Don Dunsmore, © Operation Rubythroat

This young male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) has started to get a few adult throat feathers (gorget). In male RHTUs, iridescent throat feathers sometimes look a little orange. By comparison, young male (and feamle!) Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) have iridescent gorget feathers that are very orange, but would have at least some rusty color in the tail or back. Adult male rufous hummers are distinctly rusty orange on the heads and backs. The feathers directly under the chin of the bird in this photo are also ruby-colored, but the light angle makes them look black.

Also see External Characteristics of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

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