Credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Description: Ruby-throated hummingbirds are tiny birds at 4 inches long. The back and head are iridescent green, the underparts are white. Males have a brilliant red metallic throat and a forked tail. Females have a dull grayish throat, white tips on their wings and a square-tipped tail.
Life History: Ruby-throated hummingbirds are solitary. Adults only come into contact for the purpose of mating. The primary food sources of ruby-throated hummingbirds are floral nectar and small insects. They consume twice their body weight in food each day. Adult ruby-throated hummingbirds are vulnerable to predation by raptors, while blue jays predate nestlings. However, the most common predator of ruby-throated hummingbirds is probably house cats.
Habitat: The Ruby-throated Hummingbird can be found in deciduous and pine forests and forest edges, orchards, and gardens. During the winter, ruby-throated hummingbirds live in tropical deciduous forests, citrus groves, forest edges, hedgerows, along rivers and marshes, and in old fields.
Distribution: Ruby-throated hummingbirds are found in North and Central America. They breed throughout the eastern United States and in southern Canada where there is eastern and mixed deciduous forest. They winter in southern Mexico, Central America (as far south as Costa Rica), and in the West Indies.
Status: The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is not threatened and has not been given a special status. However, it is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty between the U.S. and Canada, and like all hummingbirds, is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Animal Diversity Web