Research & Collections

Rufous Hummingbird

(Selasphorus rufus)

This species breeds the furthest north of any hummingbird, from southern Alaska south to northern California, and winters in south and western Mexico. Of the various vagrant species of hummingbirds found in North Carolina, this one is most regularly found. The species has been seen in about 30 counties so far, and there are now hundreds of records for North Carolina. We know of four banded birds that returned multiple years to Durham, Shelby, Hampstead, and Vass. Anecdotally, we know of more returning birds in Charlotte, Asheville and Coinjock.

This is an adult male. Note the overall rufous color. Also note how at this angle, the throat appears greenish, whereas in the "right light" it is red. Finally, some individuals, like this one, have green on the head, while others will be all rufous.
Photo: D. Bedson


This is a young female, from Hampstead. Females of this species acquire some reddish throat feathers.
Photo: Sargents

This adult female shows extensive rufous at the bases of the tail feathers. Photo: Sargents