Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Range Map
Archilochus alexandri

The Black-Chinned Hummingbirds are found during the summer breeding season in most of the Western USA. Many will spend winters either near the west coast of mainland Mexico, but some will remain year round in north-central Mexico and southern Texas.

I’ve read reports that Black-Chinned Hummingbirds often build their nests near actively nesting large birds of prey to deter smaller nest predators.

As with most hummingbirds, the female is larger than the male. Taxonomists regard the Black-Chinned Hummingbird as monotypic (i.e. there are no recognised subspecies).

Closely related to Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, there are some key differences. Black-Chinned seek their summer homes in western USA, while Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds go east during their spring migration. The gorget of the male Ruby-Throated is brilliant red, while those on the male Black-Chinned are pure black bordered with deep violet feathers. At rest, the primary wing feathers of the Ruby-Throat are narrow, while those of the Black-Chinned broaden to a wider tip.

Most of the hummingbird nests I come across belong to Anna’s Hummingbirds, and these are decorated profusely with bits of lichen. They are a work of art. When I’ve found Black-Chinned Hummingbirds’ nests, they seem plain by comparison. Present are lichen flakes, but not in the same abundance as the Anna’s Hummingbirds’ masterpieces.

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