hummingbird identification

Asked May 17, 2016, 1:50 PM EDT

First saw these 'red-throated' hummers in 2014, thought Ruby-Throated but didn't get a picture. saw them again in the spring of 2015 and got some poor quality pic, also realized they only hang around a few days and are gone again - still migrating? I realize ruby-throats are not supposed to be here in this part of the country.

Saw one again today and got a couple of decent pics before they"re gone again. the 'right-side' image shows the display partly closed up and it almost looks like an immature 'black-chinned' hummer which is our dominant species here for the whole summer. So - can you help out with an id for this one - like I said, they only are here a few days and then are gone for the rest of the year. I do not see them again in the fall during the winter migration. thank - Jim Evans

Garfield County Colorado

1 Response

While the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is not common in Colorado it does come through.

With the shadows it is hard to tell for sure if it is a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird or a Rufous Hummingbird. There are two characteristics to look at.

First, the neck of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is a bright red. The throat of the Rufous Hummingbird has a more orange tint to it.

Second, the tail of the Rufous is generally pointed and the Ruby-Throated is broader, called slightly forked.

The Rufous also has a brown back. These appear to be green. That would indicate a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

I am including the URL to information comparing the two birds. After looking it over if you have questions contact your local Garfield County Extension Office or eXtension.

Good Luck,