Archilochus alexandri

The Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri, is the western counterpart of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris. Their breeding ranges do not overlap, but the Black-chinned does occasionally wander into the eastern U.S. in fall and winter.

FIELD MARKS: Length is about 7.5cm (3"). Adult male Black-chins have a back throat with a lower edge that is iridescent violet; from the side in poor light they look just like Ruby-throats. Female Black-chins also resemble their Ruby-throat counterparts, with a white throat and rounded tail with white tips on the outer three feathers. Young male Black-chins look like females but may have dark streaking on the throat. All ages and sexes have a long, straight, thin black bill. This species typically pumps its tail more frequently when hovering than does the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Several Black-chins have been banded in the Carolinas in winter as part of Operation RubyThroat; for photos and descriptions of these birds, please see the links from Vagrant & Winter Hummingbird Banding. For other locations in which it has been reported as a vagarnt, see list of Hummingbirds by U.S. States.

If you have a sharp photo of a Black-chinned Hummingbird you would like to contribute for this page, please send it to PROJECTS with info about when and where the photo was taken, the photographer's name, and any anectdotal info about the bird.

Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri, adult male
Adult Male (above) and Adult Female (below)

Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri, adult female

Photographs courtesy of Animal Pictures Archive


Breeding Bird Survey Results (above)

Christmas Bird Count Results (below)

Maps courtesy of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey

NOTE: Although Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the primary focus of "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project", we are also interested in other hummingbird species--especially vagrants that appear in winter (mid-October through mid-March) in the eastern U.S. If you know of a wintering hummingbird east of the Mississippi, please report it to RESEARCH. We will contact a local hummingbird bander about capturing the bird, identifying and banding it, and releasing it unharmed.

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