Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bulletin 161 - Arizona hummers #1

Southeast Arizona in late summer has a possible 13 species of  hummingbirds. These species include all the 10 normal western hummers (Lucifer, Violet-crowned, Broad-billed, Blue-throated, Magnificent,  Allen's, Costa's, Rufous, Calliope, and Broad-tailed). Several Mexican vagrants are possible as well (Plain-capped Starthroat, Berylline and White-eared). Lisa and I spent a few days there is mid August with guide Melody Kehl and searched for them.

We saw all of the western birds except Broad-tailed and Violet-crowned. In addition we saw a Plain-capped Starthroat (lifer for me) but were unable to get any photos. The other two Mexican species were not present this year at all.

The Lucifer Hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer) is a small (3.5") hummer with a curved beak. The male has a long purple gorget. An important ID mark is the very narrow tail. Here are several photos of a male.

Lucifer Hummingbird - male
Lucifer Hummingbird - male
The Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cyanthus latirostris) is a most beautiful bird. The male has a green back, blue throat, dark tail, and red bill tipped with black.

Broad-billed Hummingbird - male
We saw several juvenile males as well whose throats and breasts had some blue feathers molting into full adult plumage. Here are a couple of different birds in various stages of molt. This one lacks much of the blue throat.

Broad-billed Hummingbird - juvenile male
And another with a full throat of color, but incomplete breast feathers.

Broad-billed Hummingbird - juvenile male
The male Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) has a red throat and a red crown. The back is green

Anna's Hummingbird - male
The juvenile males lacked a complete set of red feathers.

Anna's Hummingbird - juvenile male
The Blue-throated Hummingbird (Lampornis clemenciae) is a large (5") hummer of mountain canyons. Both sexes has extensive white coners to their tails as an important field mark. The male has a blue throat and gray breast. The female has a gray throat. The bill is black. Here is a male in profile. The blue is not as dramatic as in the Broad-billed hummer above.

Blue-throated Hummingbird - male
Here is a bird looking at the camera and I was able to catch the iridescence of his gorget. The white in his tail is clearly seen as well.

Blue-throated Hummingbird - male
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2012 David McDonald

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