Friday, August 31, 2018

Ruby-throated vs Black-chinned Hummingbirds

Every fall I watch for vagrant hummingbirds at our feeder. On 27 August 2018, this there appeared this noticeably white-breasted hummer. A grayish crown, grayish ear patches, and a long, slightly down-turned bill are all field marks of a Black-chinned Hummingbird. I rejected this identification because Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are by far the most abundant hummingbirds and because this bird’’s wing feathers are the wrong shape for a Black-chinned.
Black-chinned Hummingbird wings, like on this bird we saw on 12 August 2018 in Denton County, Texas, have curved, sickle-shapped outer primaries. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have more or less straight primary feathers. So its back to the rare hummingbird lookout. One of these days… Our Texas bird, by the way, was hawking for flying insects, one of which is remarkably in focus in the last photo.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate this description as these two are the only hummers I observe in our wooded yard here in Austin, Texas. They are really prolific this year!