Saturday, March 7, 2020

Hummingbirds of Arizona: Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Size: The Violet-crowned Hummingbird is a medium-large hummer at 4 1/2 inches with a fairly long one inch red and straight bill.

Identifying Characteristics: This one is easy! It is the only hummingbird with a pure white chin, throat, breast, and belly.  The red bill also makes this one stand out, especially since the other red-billed hummers like the Broad-billed and White-eared are much darker all over.

Habitat: Canyons and riparian woodlands with Sycamores, near water.

Range: Mexico with occasional sightings in extreme Southern Arizona.

Seasons: April through September.

Where To Find: Paton House in Patagonia is the easiest and most reliable place to find the Violet Crowned Hummingbird. Some may stay year round.

Although it can be found occasionally at Kubo Cabins or the Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon, Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca's, or Cave Creek Ranch in Portal, with some patience it is a sure thing at Paton's in Patagonia.

Comments:  It is a fairly aggressive hummer and usually won't share a feeder with others. Others will typically stay out of its way.

It doesn't "hang out" at feeders. You may need to wait 30 minutes or so.

It hunts insects as a flycatcher would. It bathes by "slam-dunking" i.e. diving from a height and penetrating the water with force.

It has been observed mating in flight. Nests are typically very high and in Sycamore trees, so difficult to find.

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