Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Archilochus colubris, are probably the most common hummingbird in the world. They have the widest distribution of any hummingbird species, ranging from southern and central Canada in summer to as far south as northern Panama in winter. This is the only hummingbird species that breeds in the eastern U.S.

The adult male, with his bright red metallic gorget, gives the species its name, although other hummers in the central and western U.S. also have red throats and sometimes are INCORRECTLY referred to as "ruby-throats."

Through Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project, more than 3,600 Ruby-throats have been banded at Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History near York, South Carolina, and hundreds more have been banded at other sites.

FIELD MARKS: Details about identifying RubyThroated Hummingbirds are at External Characteristics.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, adult male

Adult Male (above) and Adult Female (below)

NOTE: Juvenile males resemble females but may have green or black streaking and/or one to several iridescent red feathers on the throat

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, adult female

Photographs courtesy of Animal Pictures Archive

Breeding Bird Survey Results (above)

Christmas Bird Count Results (below)

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

John James Audubon's rendering of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on Trumpet Creeper from Birds of North America
(Royal Octavo edition above, elephant folio below; note that the colors in the photobelow are faded and the birds look more like Rufous Hummingbirds!)

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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Operation RubyThroat is a registered trademark of Bill Hilton Jr. and Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History in York, South Carolina USA, phone (803) 684-5852. Contents of the overall project and this website--including photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of the author. To obtain permission or for further assistance on accessing this website, contact Webmaster.