Selasphorus sasin

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, is sometimes confused with Rufous Hummingbird, but the adult male of the latter is rusty on the back, while the Allen's is usually all green; some Rufous have a scattering of green in the crown and back. Female and juvenile Allen's and Rufous Hummingbirds look even more alike and are very difficult to differentiate in the field. A male Allen's Hummingbird is smaller than a female.

FIELD MARKS: Length is about 7.5cm (3"). Adult male Allen's Hummingbird has a iridescent copper-red gorget (throat), rufous sides, and a metallic green head and back; the tail is dark and forked. Adult females typically have a few reddish gorget feathers; their tails are rounded with white tips on the outer three feathers. Immatures resemble the female. All ages and sexes have a long, straight, thin black bill.

Some Allen's Hummingbirds are year-round California residents, while others are migratory; migrants are somewaht smaller than sedentary individuals. This species is very rarely observed in the eastern U.S.; see list of Hummingbirds by U.S. States for details.

If you have a sharp photo of an Allen's Hummingbird you would like to contribute for this page, please send it to PROJECTS with info about when and where the photo was taken, the photographer's name, and any anectdotal info about the bird.

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, adult male

Adult Male (above) and Adult Female (below)

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, adult female

Photographs courtesy of Animal Pictures Archive


Breeding Bird Survey Results (above)

Maps courtesy of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey

NOTE: Although Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the primary focus of "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project", we are also interested in other hummingbird species--especially vagrants that appear in winter (mid-October through mid-March) in the eastern U.S. If you know of a wintering hummingbird east of the Mississippi, please report it to RESEARCH. We will contact a local hummingbird bander about capturing the bird, identifying and banding it, and releasing it unharmed.

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