Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
Length: 3 inches (7.62 cm)
Identification: The black-chinned hummingbird is one of the smaller hummingbirds
with a bright green back and crown, and greenish flanks. Its underside is white,
while the adult male has an iridescent purple gorget (lower throat), a black face,
black chin, black upper throat, and a dark tail. White distinguishes the female from
the male, where the female has a white chin, white throat, and white tipped outer
tail feathers. Various amounts of thin dark streaking also occurs on the female.
Habitat and range: This hummer is found commonly in the woodlands throughout
southwestern United States and central Texas. It ranges up to British Columbia and
winters in Mexico.
FYI: Unlike most birds, the hummingbird's wing is joined to its body only
from the shoulder joint, allowing it supple movement and an axial rotation through
180°. Sources: "Hummingbird," The New Encyclopaedia Britannica,
2002, Vol. 6, p. 144 and Alexander F. Skutch, The Life of the Hummingbird (New York:
Vineyard Books, Inc., 1973), p. 28. Hovering flight is accomplished by the hummingbird
tracing its wings in a figure eight forwards and backwards. The hummingbird's wing
strokes are so powerful because one-third of the hummingbird's body weight is dedicated
to its breast muscles. Source: "Hummingbird," The International Wildlife
Encyclopedia, 1969, Vol. 9, p. 1136. A clutch of hummingbird eggs -- generally
two -- incubates in 13-16 days. Source: USGS: Migratory Bird Research
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