Black-Chinned Hummingbird: Archiloches Alexander

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If you’re looking to lure in some hummingbirds in your yard, chances are you’ll have a Dark Black Hummingbird visit you.

Dark Black Hummingbird (Archilochus Alexandri), also known as the Black-chinned Hummingbird occupies a wide range of habitats. These birds like to spend the winter along the Gulf Coast. You can set up bird feeders, as it’s super easy to lure the Black-chinned Hummingbird to a feeding station, so they’ll always be around your backyard.

Their nests can be found all over southern Arizona and southern New Mexico rivers. This is also one of the most adaptable types of hummingbirds. Keep reading to learn more about these sweet birds.

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What Color Are Black-Chinned Hummingbirds?

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is about 3.25 in long. Adult males are slightly darker than adult females, and have a metallic green shine on their back feathers and grayish-white plumage on their underparts. Adult males also have a white spot that you can see just behind their eyes.

Adult males also have metallic purple gorget with a pattern similar to Anna’s Hummingbird, while females have a white throat. Males have dark forked tails, and the female’s three outer tail feathers have broad white tips. Both have glossed flanks with dull metallic green.

Females have rounded tails with white tips and lack a throat patch. Adult females also have white breast areas. Overall, their color patterns make them similar to ruby-throated hummingbirds.

The bill is long, straight, slender, and dark in both males and females. Both genders also have broad and curved wingtips. Youngsters initially look like females before they develop dark throats if they’re males.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Are Black-Chinned Hummingbirds Rare?

At the moment, the Black-chinned Hummingbird kind isn’t exposed to any threats. The total population number is about five million, and they’re quite spread out.

What Does a Dark Black Hummingbird Eat?

These hummingbirds are herbivores (nectarivores). This means they feed mainly on flower nectar. However, they may also eat insects and spiders and visit the sugar water feeders if you have them outside.

How to Create Hummingbird Feeders?

Hummingbird feeders are one of the best ways to attract a Black-chinned Hummingbird to your backyard. You can put the feeders out as soon as spring knocks on your door.

Make a sugar-water mixture with 1/4 cup of sugar per 1 cup of water. Table sugar is a good choice, and there’s no need to add any food coloring.

Keep in mind that sugar water ferments rapidly during summer and turns into alcohol that’s toxic for hummingbirds. This is why you’ll want to change the water as soon as it gets cloudy or discolored, usually every day.

Planting the flowers that hummingbirds like will attract more of them to your yard, and the sugar water will keep them energized and happy.

During winter, you can use Hummer’s feeder or similar products to prevent water from freezing. Still, know that most hummingbirds will sleep through winter to save energy.

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How to Attract Hummingbirds With Birdbaths?

Besides setting up feeders, you can also attract Hummingbird (Trochilidae) species with birdbaths. These tiny birds love the sight of moving water, so make sure you set up a fountain or use birdbath sprayer attachments to get the water moving.

You’ll need a basin where you can fit the small pump. Additionally, you’ll want to add some stones to keep the water shallow — it should be about two inches deep in the middle. Plus, hummingbirds can use the stones to stand and rest while bathing.

Keep the bath cool by placing it in the shade. Having trees nearby will ensure that your tiny friends can chill for a bit before they continue their flight.

The Conservation Status of the Dark Black Hummingbird

The Dark Black hummingbird is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List. What’s more, its numbers are increasing.

Where Are They Located?

These birds are the most common in Idaho and all around the western US, southwest Canada and northern Mexico.

They like:

  • lowlands,
  • forests,
  • orchards,
  • canyons,
  • deserts, and
  • gardens.

Dark Black hummingbirds are often found below sea level to above 2,500m. You’ll see them all around North America, Canada (usually Alberta and British Columbia), and Oklahoma.

If you live in areas where these birds aren’t present, you can visit Cornell Lab Bird Cams and observe all sorts of hummingbirds in their natural habitat.

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Black-Chinned Hummingbirds — Behavior

Black-chinned Hummingbirds will usually spend their day looking for plant nectar. They’re solitary and territorial, and males and females use separate habitats for breeding. Black-chinned Hummingbirds can be especially territorial around bird feeders and other small feeding spots. They use dives up 60 ft for defense and courtship.

They also become defensive during the breeding season. The call of the Black-chinned Hummingbird is complex, with random patterns. They’re also migratory when it comes to breeding and can visit areas in California or Colorado to breed during summer.

Additionally, their breeding range starts from southern British Columbia in Canada and goes through Idaho and Nevada. They can also mate from south to northern Mexico and in southern California, Arizona, and Texas.

These birds are polygynous — they don’t form long-lasting bonds. Males tend to mate with multiple females during the breeding season. Their breeding months are April to September, and they may raise two or three broods year-round.

Females will build nests in a protected location, in a shrub or a tree 6 to 12 ft above the ground. Their nests are usually made off of plant fiber, spider webs, and lichens. Once the nest is ready and the time comes, the female will lay two small white eggs and incubate them for the next 12 to 16 days.

If you have them in your yard, you may have a hard time following them. They’re quite fast and weave around the flowers, shrubs, and insect swarms. Still, after they’re done eating, you can see them returning to their favorite spot to rest.

Fun Facts About This Bird

Here are some fun facts about the Black-chinned Hummingbird that may help you identify them better:

  • On average, females are larger than males
  • If you visit southern Arizona and southern New Mexico rivers, you may see a nest every 100 meters
  • Dark-black Hummingbird is among the most adaptable kinds of all hummingbirds
  • These birds are often seen in both urban and natural areas
  • When migrating, they barely stay at the feeder even when there’s no food around
  • The Black-chinned Hummingbird extends the tongue through the nearly closed bill at a rate of about 13–17 licks per second
  • It consumes about 1/50 of a fluid ounce in one meal
  • They may eat three times their body weight in cold weather
  • Their resting heartbeat is 480 BPM. During cold nights, their heart rate drops to 45 to 180 BPM. While flying, the heartbeat of the Black-chinned Hummingbird achieves 1,260 BPM
  • The egg size is about the size of a coffee bean
  • The oldest known Black-chinned Hummingbird was an 11-year-old female
  • These types of hummingbird species could be mistaken for Anna’s, Lucifer, broad-tailed, and Costa’s hummingbirds
  • they can detect UV light
  • The wings of the Black-chinned Hummingbird flutter 70 times per second and make a humming sound you can hear

Comparison to Other Similar Species

If you’re new to birdwatching, you may confuse the Black-chinned Hummingbird with another one. Here are a few other kinds to compare them with:

Allen’s Hummingbird — small, compact, stocky. Its usual colors are copper and orange, with females having some bronze-green feathers.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird — these hummingbirds also have greenish feathers, but males have rose-magenta gorget. Females have green spots on their throats.

Calliope Hummingbird — it’s smaller than other hummingbirds and has a hunched posture. It has a purple gorget and looks more like a Broad-tailed kind.

Lucifer Hummingbird — this one is similar to Calliope and Broad-tailed birds. Their tails are long and narrow, and they have vividly purple throats.

Rufous Hummingbird — fast while flying, with white-orange colored back and belly and vivid red throat.

Final Word

Dark Black Hummingbird is among the common hummingbirds you’ll see around North American, western US, and Mexican areas. Luckily, they’re not endangered, and you can enjoy their company if you set up a birdbath or a feeder outside.

The male Black-chinned Hummingbirds are darker than adult females, with a tiny white spot next to their eyes. If you pay attention, you’ll notice them mingling around flowers and shrubs, so make sure you plant some flowers that attract them.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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