Our bird identification guide to ruby-throated hummingbirds and expert advice about this colorful hummingbird species.
Ruby-throated hummingbird photo by Steve Byland.
The ruby-throated hummingbird is the most widespread and recognized variety in North America—found throughout the eastern United States and southern Canada. In fact, it's the only hummingbird that nests east of the Mississippi River.
One look at a male ruby-throated hummingbird, and you'll know how it got its name. A distinctive scarlet patch, called a gorget, on the male's throat is its most prominent marking. Females don't have the signature patch, but sport the same metallic green backs as the males.
This winged wonder is tiny, even by hummingbird standards. The bird typically measures just 3-3/4 inches from the tip of its bill to the end of its tail and weighs a scant 1/10th of an ounce.
Despite their small size, ruby-throats are tireless fliers. Each year, these birds migrate up to 2,000 miles to and from southern Mexico and Central America. And many use a route that takes them over the Gulf of Mexico, traveling more than 600 miles nonstop!