Photo: Rob Curtis/Vireo

Magnificent Hummingbird

Eugenes fulgens

A big, long-billed hummingbird of forests in the southwestern mountains. Almost as large as the Blue-throated Hummingbird found in the same ranges, the Magnificent is not usually so aggressive or conspicuous, but some individuals are very pugnacious in defending flower patches or feeders, even fighting with the Blue-throat at times. In hovering flight, the wingbeats are almost slow enough for the human eye to see.
Conservation status Common in its limited U.S. range. May be vulnerable to habitat loss in Mexico and Central America.
Family Hummingbirds
Habitat Mountain glades, pine-oak woods. In southwestern U.S., usually in mountains at elevations of 5,000-9,000 feet. Inhabits shady canyons with sycamore and maple, open hillsides with pine-oak woodland, coniferous forest of higher mountains. Less restricted to streamsides than Blue-throated Hummingbird.
A big, long-billed hummingbird of forests in the southwestern mountains. Almost as large as the Blue-throated Hummingbird found in the same ranges, the Magnificent is not usually so aggressive or conspicuous, but some individuals are very pugnacious in defending flower patches or feeders, even fighting with the Blue-throat at times. In hovering flight, the wingbeats are almost slow enough for the human eye to see.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female
  • juvenile male
  • adult male
  • juvenile male
  • adult male
Feeding Behavior

At flowers, usually feeds while hovering. 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 or from bark; sometimes takes spiders and trapped insects from spider webs.


Eggs

2. White. Incubation is by female only, probably about 16 days. Young: Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar.


Young

Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar.

Diet

Mostly nectar and insects. Takes nectar from flowers. Also does much foraging in woodland away from flowers, watching from a perch and then flying out to catch passing insects. Will also feed on sugar-water mixtures in hummingbird feeders.


Nesting

Breeding and courtship behavior not well known. Male will sing a squeaky, scratchy song from a favorite perch in between bouts of chasing rivals. Nest site is in a tree such as pine or maple, 10-60 feet above the ground, saddled on a horizontal branch. Nest (built by female) is a compact cup of moss, plant fibers, spider webs, lined with plant down and sometimes feathers. The outside is camouflaged with bits of lichen.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Summer resident in the southwest, probably migrating only a short distance south into Mexico for the winter. Occasionally winters at feeders in Arizona.

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Migration

Summer resident in the southwest, probably migrating only a short distance south into Mexico for the winter. Occasionally winters at feeders in Arizona.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A high-pitched teek, not as drawn out as call of Blue-throated Hummingbird.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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