Thursday, February 27, 2020

Hummingbirds of Arizona: Lucifer Hummingbird

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Today, we are showing:

Lucifer Hummingbird

Size: Lucifer is a small hummingbird of about 3 1/2 inches with a long decurved bill.

Identifying Characteristics: Here it is the bill. Very distinctly long and curved in both male and female set it apart from other hummers. The male's magenta gorget is very long and streaked. Buffy flanks and rufous tail are also distinguishing characteristics. See photo of the male and female Lucifer. Identifying the male is seldom a problem. For the female you need a good angle of the bill for proper identification otherwise it could look like a Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

Habitat: Open arid desert often near agaves.

Range: Chisos Mountains of SW Texas and extreme southern mountains of Arizona.

Seasons: April through October,

Where To Find: Ash Canyon is a very reliable site every year. The feeders in Portal (Chiricahua Mountains) are a possibility. It is a rare species so checking the Audubon's Rare Bird Alert is helpful. 

They may frequent the feeders earlier in the season when there are not so many hummers to compete with, but I've seen them as late as September in Ash Canyon. 

Comments: Lucifers are not abundant and do not hang around the feeders. I have been to Ash Canyon (Bed and Breakfast) several times and been lucky a third of the time. But, I have also talked with others that have spent six to eight hours there without seeing one. This hummer requires patience. First to see one, and second to photograph one hovering or in a tree. Most cameras (and photographers) are not fast enough to manually or even auto focus while hovering. So, the trick is to focus on a particular feeder and then recenter on the hummer without changing the focus. 

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