Rufous Hummingbird

Selasphorus rufus




Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

5 - 50 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Plant down covered with lichen, moss, bud scales, leaves, shredded bark, and plant fibers.





Rufous Hummingbird: Medium-sized hummingbird. Male is bright rufous-brown overall with white breast and ear patch, red-orange throat, and green shoulders; rounded tail is rufous with black edges. Some males show green on back and head. Female has green upperparts, rufous sides and undertail, and white breast and belly; throat is gray and white mottled with an orange-red spot; tail is rufous, black, and green with white-tipped outer tail feathers. Juvenile resembles female but has white throat. Subadult male also resembles female but has rufous mask and more rufous on back and head. Diet consists of nectar and insects. Direct or hovering flight with very rapid wingbeats.

Range and Habitat

Rufous Hummingbird: Breeds from southeastern Alaska, British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, and western Montana south to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and northern California. Winters mainly in Mexico and occurs in small numbers along the Gulf Coast during migration and in winter. Prefers forests, riparian shrub, lowland stream, foothill brush lands, coasts, and high-mountain meadows.

Breeding and Nesting

Rufous Hummingbird: Two white eggs are laid in a lichen-covered cup nest made of plant down and spider webs, attached to a horizontal branch. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Rufous Hummingbird: Eats mostly nectar, but also sap from sapsucker wells, insects, and spiders. Attracted to honeysuckle, scarlet sage, horsemint, and black locust; also red, tubular flowers. Consumes up to 3 times its body weight daily.

Readily Eats

Sugar Water, Commercial instant nectars


Rufous Hummingbird: Calls include an abrupt, high-pitched "zeee" and various thin squealing notes.

Similar Species

Rufous Hummingbird: Allen's Hummingbird has a green back and slightly decurved bill; females are very difficult to distinguish.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Ear patchX
Consists of soft, loose-webbed feathers on the side of the bird's head below and behind the eyes.
Outer tail feathersX
The tail feathers farthest from the center.
Relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater. 
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X