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.

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

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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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.

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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.
Learn more about this sound collection.