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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Rufous Hummingbird - Selasphorus rufus

Potential Species of Concern

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4B

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
PIF: 3


 

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Copyright by Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, all rights reserved.
 
General Description
Widely known for its aggressive nature. Short-bodied, stubby and rusty in appearance. Sexually dimorphic. Male's dorsal plumage is a non-iridescent rusty red. Female and juvenile dorsal plumage is a green iridescence. Male gorget is brilliant orange-scarlet. Female throat varies from clear or streaked with bronze-green, to multiple scarlet spots or large central gorget patch of male-like colors. Male's wings emit a metallic whine. Juveniles resemble females with green iridescent backs and white-tipped rectrices. (Healy and Calder 2006)

For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are larger with broad, lengthy tails and buff or buff-and-green flanks. Calliope Hummingbirds are smaller, with shorter bills and noticeably shorter tails. Black-chinned Hummingbirds are a dull metallic bronze-green above; males have the black chin and throat that give the species its name.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 1252

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

Breeding
(direct evidence "B")


Breeding
(indirect evidence "b")


No evidence of Breeding
(transient "t")


Overwintering
(regular observations "W")


Overwintering
(at least one obs. "w")



 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
The longest known avian migration (when measured in body lengths). Wintering grounds are primarily in Mexico. (Healy and Calder 2006)

Habitat
Generally cool environments. Principally secondary succession communities and openings, forested and brushy habitats of the Pacific northwest through the Gulf of Alaska coastal forests and inland to northern Rocky Mountains. Typically nests in second growth and mature forests. (Healy and Calder 2006)

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Floral nectar and small insects (Healy and Calder 2006).

Ecology
Highly territorial throughout range (Healy and Calder 2006).

Reproductive Characteristics
Nests are ususally well hidden in a variety of plants and sites including shrubs, drooping lower branches or trees-conifers and oaks. Reports of colonies of up to 20 nests only a few yards from each other in timber or second growth. Clutch size is normally 2 eggs (Healy and Calder 2006). Eggs and nests found in July. Near Fortine, egg dates range from June 3 to 25; earliest hatching observed was June 10.

Management
By offering artificial food supplementation during times when flowers are unavailable, feeders may elevate populations, at least on a local level (Healy and Calder 2006).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Rufous Hummingbird — Selasphorus rufus.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on December 8, 2016, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNUC51020