Thursday, December 4, 2014

Calliope Hummingbird

Another old photo is of this Calliope Hummingbird, perched atop a pine near Missoula, Montana, on 14 June 2007. Even for the gorgeous Calliope, this gorget seems massively elongated. Why isn’t it a Costa’s Hummingbird? Well, the Costa’s is not found in Montana. Notice the white line that connects the gape to the neck—the Costa’s is dark in front of the eye. Finally, the tail is hard to see on the short-tailed Calliope Hummingbird.

Calliope Hummingbirds are North America’s smallest breeding bird. In fact, this hummingbird is the world’s smallest long-distance migrant (Calder and Calder 1994). Some individuals may migrate some 5600 miles each year between northwestern states and the southwesterm provinces, their breeding range, to southern Mexico, where they winter.

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