Our bird identification guide to broad-billed hummingbirds and expert advice about this colorful hummingbird species.
Broad-billed hummingbird by Steve Byland
If one bird rivals the colors of a rainbow, it would have to be the male broad-billed hummingbird.
This tiny 4-inch package is a kaleidoscope of colors, from its bright-red bill with a black tip to a sapphire throat patch, glimmering green breast and steel-blue tail feathers.
Its species name comes from the Latin word latus, meaning "wide," and rostrum, which means "beak." Translation in En-glish—broad-billed.
Females are iridescent green and gray below. Their bill is mostly black, with orange or red around its base.
These birds migrate from Mexico to arid areas near mountain canyons and stream-beds in Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Occasionally, they're seen in Cali-fornia and Texas.
Broad-billed hummers nest in low shrubs and trees, often on a branch that hangs over water. The female builds the nest using plant down, bits of bark, leaves and flower blossoms held together with spiderwebs.
Like most hummingbirds, they feed on nectar from flowers such as ocotillo, century plant and paintbrushes, but also eat aphids, leafhoppers, spiders, daddy long-legs and even pollen grains. The birds often visit gardens with sugar-water feeders and plentiful nectar flowers.
Despite their diminutive stature, broad-billed hummingbirds are quite bold. They'll often approach humans and curiously hover near them for a moment with their tails spread until their interest has been satisfied.
It's not unusual to see females chasing large butterflies from their feeding territories. For some unexplained reason, however, they'll tolerate smaller butterflies even though they feed on the same nectar-producing flowers.