Habitat and Range
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds live in open woodlands with ample sources of nectar. This includes the following habitat types:
- forest edge
- old fields
- stram borders
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are found throughout the eastern half of North America in the spring, summer, and fall months.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are difficult to track when flying due to their diminutive size and ferocious speed. They are most often seen hovering around flowers and feeders, or when perched on a thin twig. Hearing a loud humming sound is often the first indication that a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is in the vicinity.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Colors:
- Back & Crown: Metallic Emerald Green
- Underparts: White/Gray
- Wings: Black
- Only male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have the famous ruby-red throat patch, which is called a gorget. The gorget only "shines" when light hits it at certain angles/directions.
Video: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate from eastern Northern America to wintering grounds in Central America and southern Mexico each fall (late August/September/October). A small number winter in southern Florida. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will migrate back to North America the following spring to breed.
Scientific Name and Family
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are members of the Trochilidae family, which encompasses all hummingbirds.
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird's diet is composed of nectar, small insects, and spiders.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds get nectar from flowers and hummingbird feeders. They favor bright red, tubular-shaped flowers.
The most commonly heard sound a Ruby-throated hummingbird makes is the sound of its wings humming.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird communicate with squeaky-sounding chip calls.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are small, fearless creatures who are solitary outside of the breeding season. They will often forage in very close proximity to humans and their homes, and will even take nectar from a human hand.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will also defend flowers and feeders from other hummingbirds.
Males arrive on spring breeding grounds before females to claim and establish territory. During this time males will often get into territorial fights. Once the females arrive, the male Ruby-throated Hummingbird will begin his courtship display. Which starts with exaggerated U-shaped flights, receptive females will then perch on a twig and allow the male to fly back and forth her sides.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly at very high speeds and with great control. While they will most often fly straight ahead, they are capable of flying in all directions (including backwards). Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also have the ability to instantly transition from high-speed flight to a lower speed mid-air hover. Which they will do when foraging for nectar.
Nesting Habits and Egg Color
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds place their nest on top of a well-camouflaged tree branch. The nest measures 2" across and is 1" deep, it is composed of herbaceous matter, spider silk, and moss.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird eggs are white, about a half-inch long, and 0.3" wide. The clutch size (how many eggs the hummingbird lays) is usually 2.
Video: Lew Scharpf
Attracting Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Flowers that attract Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Trumpet Honeysuckle
- Trumpet Creeper
- Cardinal Flower
- Red Columbine
- Scarlet Bee Balm
Attracting Ruby-throated Hummingbird with a hummingbird feeder
- Step 1: Buy a hummingbird feeder
- Step 2: Buy a hummingbird nectar solution or make your own
To make hummingbird nectar bring 1 part table sugar to 4 parts water to a boil. (ex. 1/4 cup table sugar with 1 cup water). Let cool. Deposit into a hummingbird feeder.
- Step 3: Strategically place hummingbird feeder to avoid cat attacks and window collisions.