Location Code: OTT2
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), adult male
Date & Time: December 1, 2008. First observed by homeowner on November 7, 2008, and last observed on December 4, 2008. I arrived around 9:00 a.m. and the bird made an appearance at around 9:30. I then set up my trap at 9:35 a.m. and caught the bird at 9:40 a.m (it actually approached the trap while I was still setting it up). The bird was banded and released at 9:52 a.m. under Federal permit No. 23156, and Michigan Permit No. SC 1303. The bird returned to the feeders at 9:58 a.m.
At the home of Nancy Gillis in
Observer (s): Allen & Nancy Chartier.
Equipment: Photographed in-hand with digital camera. All measurements were made using digital calipers. Bill corrugations were determined by viewing through a 10x loupe, as they are impossible to accurately determine any other way.
sky was overcast and the light was diffuse. The bird was banded,
measured, and weighed indoors and photographed outdoors. Photos are
attached to this report.
When the bird first made an appearance at the feeder, it was
obvious that it was an adult male Rufous Hummingbird, based on the
extensively rufous upperparts, as Allenís Hummingbirds do not have any
rufous on the back This
observation was made with 10x Swarovski EL binoculars from a distance of
about 30-feet. The bird was
captured for banding, and it was aged, sexed, and identified in that
order. The proper use of
Stiles (1972) for banders requires that an individual Rufous/Allenís
Hummingbird in-hand be correctly aged and sexed before a species
determination can be made (B. Sargent and N. Newfield, pers. comm.). In
this case, the birdís plumage made all these obvious.
The bird was aged as after hatch-year (adult) based on the
absence of shallow groovings or corrugations on the upper mandible.
This is universally recognized as the most reliable method for
age determination in hummingbirds (Ortiz-Crespo, 1972). Of course the
completely rufous upperparts and full orange-red gorget indicated that
the bird was an adult.
The full orange-red iridescent gorget made it obvious this bird
was a male.
The back was entirely rufous, with no green feathers or feather
edgings evident in-hand. The
second rectrix (r2) showed a very distinct notch on the inner side, and
a very distinct emargination on the outer side. These characters are
sufficient to identify the bird as a Rufous Hummingbird. Additional
measurements of tail feathers were taken, as a matter of consistency,
though not much has been published on the ranges of some of these
(particularly the widths of r5 in adult males). This birdís outer
rectrix (r5) was 1.92mm wide, and its central rectrix (r1) was 8.10mm
There was no body molt noted on this bird. The outer 5 primaries
(p6-p10) were old and worn, p5 was about 80% grown in; p1-p4 were full
grown and shiny black, contrasting with the old outer primaries. All the
rectrices appeared fresh, except the right central (r1).
The bird had a fat code of 1 (0-3 scale) and weighed 3.08 grams, about
typical for an adult male likely to overwinter.
Briefly, sharp chatter when
the bird was released. More strident than Ruby-throated gives.
Any rufous in the back feathers effectively eliminates Allenís
Hummingbird, the only similar species in adult male plumage. Further,
the distinctly notched second rectrix (r2) is diagnostic for Rufous
Hummingbird. The width of the outer rectrix (r5) was narrower than the
range for adult male Rufous presented by McKenzie and Robbins (1999),
but Allenís does not have the distinctly notched r2 of Rufous, as
shown by this bird.
I have seen dozens of Rufous
Hummingbirds in several states, banded 50+ in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana,
and Ontario, and handled ~35 in Louisiana in February 2003 with Nancy
Newfield, and handled about a dozen in Arizona in 2006 helping other
banders. I have seen several
Allenís Hummingbirds on two trips to
report was written:
This report was written on December 21, 2008 based on data and
photos taken during the banding process.
None were consulted while observing the bird in the field, nor
were any used to write notes in the field or to write this report.
Stiles (1972) and Pyle (1997) were available during the banding
of the bird, but neither was necessary to identify the bird.
P.M. and M.B. Robbins. 1999. Identification of adult male Rufous and
Allenís Hummingbirds, with specific comments on dorsal coloration. Western
Birds 30: 86-93.
A new method to separate immature and adult hummingbirds. Auk
Identification Guide to North
American Birds: Part 1. Slate
Creek Press, CA.
FStiles, F.G. 1972.
Age and Sex Determination in Rufous and Allen Hummingbirds.
The Condor 74: 25-32.