This species breeds in the western United States and northern Mexico. It winters primarily in Mexico, and now occasionally in the Gulf states. It looks much like the familiar ruby-throated hummingbird, except males have a black chin and a metallic violet lower throat patch. Because females, and immature birds of both sexes, of these two species are nearly identical, many are likely overlooked and they must be caught to verify their identification.
The Museum of Natural Sciences has banded four in North Carolina: Hampstead (January 2000), Charlotte, Goldsboro, and Sunset Lakes (all 2000-2001). A few others have been reported, some with photographs.