Photo: Rick & Nora Bowers/Vireo

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Archilochus alexandri

Over much of the west, this species is widespread in many habitats at low elevations, often coming into suburban gardens and nesting in back yards within its range. Several other western hummingbirds may stay through the winter, at least in small numbers, but the Black-chin is almost entirely absent from the west in winter.
Conservation status Widespread and common, numbers probably stable.
Family Hummingbirds
Habitat Semi-arid country, river groves, suburbs. Breeds in many kinds of semi-open habitats in the lowlands, including streamsides, towns, brushy areas, oak groves in canyons. In the southwest, avoids most open desert but may be found along dense washes or desert rivers. After breeding, may move to higher elevations in the mountains.
Over much of the west, this species is widespread in many habitats at low elevations, often coming into suburban gardens and nesting in back yards within its range. Several other western hummingbirds may stay through the winter, at least in small numbers, but the Black-chin is almost entirely absent from the west in winter.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • nestlings
  • adult male
  • juvenile
Feeding Behavior

At flowers, usually feeds while hovering, extending its bill deep into the center of the flower. At feeders, may either hover or perch. To catch small insects, may fly out and grab them in midair, or hover to pluck them from foliage; sometimes will take insects from spider webs.


Eggs

2. White. Incubation is by female only, 13-16 days. Young: Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar. Age of young at first flight about 20-21 days. Usually 1-2 broods per year, sometimes 3.


Young

Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar. Age of young at first flight about 20-21 days. Usually 1-2 broods per year, sometimes 3.

Diet

Mostly nectar and insects. Takes nectar from flowers, and will feed on tiny insects as well. Will also feed on sugar-water mixtures in hummingbird feeders.


Nesting

In courtship, male performs "pendulum" display, flying back and forth in wide U-shaped arc, making whirring sounds on each dive. Also buzzes back and forth in short flights in front of perched female. Nest site is in a tree or shrub, typically 4-8 feet above the ground, sometimes lower or higher (up to 30 feet). Placed on horizontal or diagonal branch. Nest (built by female) is a compact cup of grasses, plant fibers, spider webs, lined with plant down. The outside is camouflaged with lichens, dead leaves, other debris.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Strictly migratory, arriving in spring and leaving in fall. Almost all winter in Mexico. A few stray east in fall, and may winter near Gulf Coast.

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Migration

Strictly migratory, arriving in spring and leaving in fall. Almost all winter in Mexico. A few stray east in fall, and may winter near Gulf Coast.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A low tup.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Hummingbirds

Black-chinned Hummingbird

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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