Scientific name: Selasphorous rufus
Length: 3 1/2 inches (8.9 cm)
Identification: Having a compact body, long bill, and short wings, the male
is rufous (brownish red) on all sides with a white breast and bright orange-red gorget
(throat). The female rufous hummingbird is green above, rufous on the sides, white
beneath, and has orange-red spots on the throat patch -- just like the female Allen's
hummingbird. However, unlike the female Allen's, a closer observation finds the female
rufous with rufous coloring at the base of its outer tail feathers, black in the
middle, and white at the tip.
Habitat and range: Traveling further north than any other hummingbird, the
rufous hummingbird reaches the sixty-first degree of latitude on the coast of Alaska.
Inhabiting woodlands, it ranges down through western Canada and Montana, continuing
through Washington and Oregon into northwestern California.
FYI: Hummingbirds are consummate fliers. They do not hop or walk, instead
they fly, when they change positions on a branch. Their wings flap between 22 and
79 wingbeats per second compared to a mute swan's 1.5 times per second and a gnat's
500 times per second. Though a female ruby-throated Hummingbird was clocked at 27
mph (43.5 kph), an Allen's hummingbird diving to earth under wing power was calculated
to be traveling about 60 mph (96.6 kph). Source: Alexander F. Skutch, The Life
of the Hummingbird (New York: Vineyard Books, Inc., 1973), pp. 30-32. A penny
weighs only a little less than a rufous hummingbird. Source: Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Pictures: click picture(s) for larger version, photo credits, and description.