Each spring, Britsh Columbia welcomes back little orange dynamos known as Rufous Hummingbirds. These hummingbirds come all the way from Mexico to breed here in BC. When they arrive, the forest sounds alive. The males are chirping every few meters from each other, and you often see them chasing each other around. It’s quite fun to watch if you have the time!
Latin Name: Selasphorus rufus
Lifespan: 3 to 5 years
Identifying Rufous Hummingbirds
Mature male hummingbirds are a bright rusty orange, with a white collar. Their throat appears black, but when it catches the right light, it can appear neon yellow or green, and even a coral colour.
Females can be mistaken for an Anna’s Hummingbird at first glance as they have some green on their back. They can be distinguished by the orange on their sides and near the tail. They also lack the throat colouring that the males have.
Rufous Hummingbirds can be found on the edges of forests, alongside creaks, and even in meadows.
One amusing thing behaviour that I have observed is that the males always seem to spend their time in areas of the forest with deciduous trees, while the females that I have observed are in areas with more coniferous trees. With this habitat divide, it’s a wonder they manage to find each other at all.
Rufous Hummingbirds feed on nectar and insects. Their arrival in BC coincides with the bloom of several plants, including red-flower currant and salmonberry.
- This hummingbird has the longest migration in the world relative to its body size
- Rufous Hummingbirds are so aggressive that they have been observed chasing chipmunks away from their nests.