Common Name: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Scientific Name: Archilochous colubris

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Apodiformes

Family: Trochilidae

Genius: Archilochous

Species: A. colubris


The Archilochous colubris or Ruby-throated humming bird is a very unique kind of bird. These birds can be found in trees, near a waterfall, a bird bath, or eating nectar from flowers in a garden. There are many types of hummingbirds and the ruby-throated is distinguished by the color of the feathers on its throat.

First of all, the sizes of humming birds are very tiny. The size of an Archilochous colubris is about 7.5 to about 9.0 cm long and for an average weight it would be about 3.4 g for males and 3.8 g females. These hummingbirds have very beautiful colored feathers especially the males. The males have a bright ruby-red throat and a forked-like tail. The females have a grayish-brownish throat and a tipped white tail.  Hummingbirds spend their time flying around and finding food like fruit flies.

Secondly, they can be found in Southern Mexico, Canada, North and Central America, and the West Indies. Now there are at least 328 known species. Snakes, falcons, jays, toucans, hawks, and cats are some animals that eat hummingbirds. If a hummingbird sees a hawk or some other bird that it doesn’t want in its space it will give a high-pitched warning or sound and start attacking. Then other hummingbirds often join in to dive the hawk until they chase it away. The hummingbird is fearless because it can outsmart mostly anything, unless something takes it and eats it by surprise. They eat- nectar from flowers, sap from trees, and tiny insects, spiders, and mites.

Lastly, hummingbirds are not very social animals. In fact, males and females live apart until breeding season. Usually, a male will call to a female and show off his feathers. Some male hummingbirds attract a female by forming a lek. A lek is where males group up to show off in front of a female. It can include up to 100 males. If a female seems interested in one of the males, the male bird will do a little dance in the sky for the female bird. Once they meet, the female is on her own to build the nest and raise her babies.

All in all, hummingbirds are interesting animals. The most interesting facts I learned about hummingbirds are that they are the only animals that can fly upside-down, straight, and even sideways! Also, that these hummingbirds make their humming sounds with their wings. If you want to learn more about ruby-throated humming birds you can visit the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park.

Author: Isabela M.
Published: 3/2010


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