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Bird Bio - Rufous Hummingbird

Common Name:

Rufous Hummingbird

Scientific Name:

Selasphorus rufus


The tiny Rufous Hummingbird is only 3-1/2 inches tall. The adult male is orange-brown in color, with a red iridescent throat and a white collar. The female has a green back with orange iridescent spots and white on its bely. It's difficult to distinguish the female Rufous Humminbird from Allen's Hummingbird.


Rufous Hummingbirds build their nests on the lower ends of coniferous tree brances, about 15 feet high. The nest is compact, and is made of soft materials camouflaged by lichens and moss. It's held together with spiderweb strands. The female will lay 1 or 2 white eggs. Incubation is 15 to 17 days; nestlings are ready to fledge 21 days after hatching. They will raise 1-2 broods per season. Rufous Hummingbirds generally breed in Northwestern North America.


The Rufous Hummingbird can be found in the edge of the woods and thickets of mountains and lowlands in the Fall and Spring in the Northwest U.S., western Canada, north to southern Alaska. They will migrate south along the coast, and may occasionally be seen along the Gulf coast in Fall and Winter.

Like other hummingbirds, the Rufous is a nectar eater, and will visit hummingbird feeders. They are particularly attracted to red tubular flowers like Penstemons, Red Columbine, Paintbrush, and Scarlet Sage. They also eat insects while in flight and spiders.

The Rufous Hummingbird is one of the most aggressive hummers, and has longer migration trips than other hummingbirds. It has no known predators.

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