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Critter Spotlight: Ruby-throated hummingbird: Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated hummingbirds may weigh less than a nickel, but these tiny little powerhouses are incredible. The ruby-throated hummingbird beats its little wings about 53 beats per second. It can hover, and is the only known bird to fly backwards. The male pictured above has a distinct red throat, hence its name. Females still sport the beautiful green heads, but lack the ruby throats. The ruby-throated hummingbird is eastern North America's only breeding hummingbird. These hummingbirds come together only for the purpose of breeding, otherwise they are solitary animals. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are diurnal, which means they are active during the day.


Archilochus colubris prefers open woodlands, orchards, and gardens.


Ruby-throated hummingbirds need a lot of sugar to maintain the energy needed for their busy lifestyle. They consume half their weight in sugar everyday. They feed mainly on nectar from flowers such as Trumpet Creeper, Cardinal flower, Spotted Jewelweed, and bee balms. They will also consume a variety of insects, and will visit hummingbird feeders.

Watershed Role:

Aside from being visually pleasing, ruby-throated hummingbirds help to maintain watershed insect populations, and play an important role as pollinators.

If you would like to learn more about the ruby-throated hummingbird, check out the links included below.

Here are some great bird pages for you to check out too! There is even a page on how to observe birds! Enjoy!

Happy Exploring my wonderful friends,

Mrs. Morissette

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