Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
|The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is so small and it's flight so amazing that some may mistake it for a large insect, with the hum from it's wings hence it's name. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly straight and fast but can stop instantly, hover, and adjust their position up, down, or backwards with flawless control.|
They measure in length 2.8–3.5 inches (7–9 cm). The wingspan is 3.1–4.3 inches (8–11 cm) and weigh 0.1–0.2 oz (2–6 g) which is no more than a penny!
The male has an emerald green back, iridescent ruby red throat, gray flanks, forked tail with no white and is smaller than the female.
The female also has an emerald green back, white breast and throat, rounded tail with white tips. She is larger than the male and has a longer bill.
The young of both sexes look like the adult female. In August and September, young males may develop some red spots on the throat.|
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird has one complete molt per year, which may start during the fall migration and continue into March. Young males will acquire the full ruby throat color during their first molt.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Gender identification is simple if the light is right, as the red throat of the male is unmistakable. Although, the shape and presence of white on the tail (female or young) is a more reliable, depending on the time of the year.|
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds live in open woodlands, forest edges, meadows, grasslands, and in parks, gardens, and backyards.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of red or orange tubular flowers such as trumpet creeper, cardinal flower, honeysuckle, jewelweed, bee-balm, red buckeye and red morning glory, as well as at hummingbird feeders and, sometimes, tree sap. They will catch insects in midair or pull them out of spider webs. Insect food includes mosquitoes, gnats, fruit flies, and small bees and spiders. They sometimes take insects attracted to sap wells or pick small caterpillars and aphids from leaves.
Males give a courtship display to females that enter their territory, making a looping, U-shaped dive starting from as high as 50 feet above the female. If the female perches, the male shifts to making fast side-to-side flights while facing her.
The female builds the nest on a slender, often descending branch, built directly on top of the branch rather than in a fork. They are usually found in deciduous trees such as oak, hornbeam, birch, poplar, hackberry, and sometimes pine. Nests are usually 10-40 feet above the ground. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have the smallest net, about the size of half a walnut shell. They use spider web silk, thistle, or dandelion down, linchens, moss, and spit or sometimes pine resin.
She will stamp on the base of the nest to stiffen it, but the walls remain pliable. She shapes the rim of the nest by pressing and smoothing it between her neck and chest. The exterior of the nest is camouflaged with bits of lichen and moss. The nest takes 6 to 10 days to complete.
Ruby throated Hummingbird females lay 1 to 3 white eggs, each about the size of a pea. After about two weeks incubation time the eggs will hatch. The young are naked apart from two tracts of gray down along the back. The eyes are closed and the young are clumsy. The nesting period is between eighteen and twenty two days.