Our bird identification guide to black-chinned hummingbirds and expert advice about this colorful hummingbird species.
This species is the western counterpart to the ruby-throated hummingbird. It's the most widespread of all western species, with a breeding range spanning from Mexico to southern Canada.
At one time, these hummingbirds resided strictly near canyons and in the foothill forests of western mountains. However, because of the popularity of sugar-water feeders and hummingbird gardens, these birds are now frequent residents in urban and suburban areas. And they're very comfortable with their human neighbors.
Like many hummingbirds, the black-chinned is named for the male's most distinctive feature—its prominent black throat. In the right light, you'll also see a spectacular flash of bright iridescent violet just above the white bib on its breast. Females are plainer than the male, and have no distinctive markings on their drab gray chins.
Black-chinned hummers almost always pump and wag their tails while in flight. And the males create a dull buzzing sound while in the air.
Besides nectar, these birds also drink tree sap from sapsucker wells and will catch insects by perching on a branch and dashing out to ambush their prey, much like flycatchers do.