|Feeding while Flying|
The Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) is a medium-sized hummingbird, nearly 4 in (10 cm) in length.
Male and female both have iridescent green backs and crowns and a white breast. The male has a gorget (throat patch) that shines with a brilliant red iridescence. The female is much duller with rust-colored, mottled flanks and underside; her tail feathers are tipped with a band of white. In flight the male's wings produce a distinct trilling sound diagnostic for this species.
The summer range of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird extends across mountain forests and meadows throughout the Western United States, specifically the Great Basin region and southwards; the resident birds range from the cordilleran mountain areas of northern Mexico as far south as Guatemala. At summer's end the northerly birds migrate and overwinter in the southern part of their range. This species is somewhat vagrant, especially wintering birds, and is regularly seen in El Salvador where it does not breed. They occur at altitudes ranging from 700–900 m (2,300–3,000 ft) up to 3,350 m (10,990 ft) ASL in the tropical parts of their range.
Aside from the typical hummingbird diet of nectar and insects found at flower blossoms, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird will also actively hunt insects, both in flight and on foliage. This species is not considered endangered; it appears to be able to adapt quite well to human-modified habitat and frequents shade coffee plantations.
Nests are small cup of plant fibers woven together and bound to a branch with collected spider webs. The female lays two plain white eggs, that she alone will incubate for 16 days. Young Broad-tailed Hummingbirds fledge about 23 days after hatching. This species is known to hybridize with Costa's Hummingbird, but apparently only very rarely.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Selasphorus platycercus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- "Broad-tailed hummingbird Selasphorus platycercus". Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter. United States Geological Survey (USGS). Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- Herrera et al. (2006)
- E.g. Ice-cream-bean (Inga edulis): Herrera et al. (2006)
- Huey (1944)
- Herrera, Néstor; Rivera, Roberto; Ibarra Portillo, Ricardo & Rodríguez, Wilfredo (2006): Nuevos registros para la avifauna de El Salvador. ["New records for the avifauna of El Salvador"]. Boletín de la Sociedad Antioqueña de Ornitología 16(2): 1-19. [Spanish with English abstract] PDF fulltext
- Huey, Laurence M. (1944): A hybrid Costa's × Broad-tailed hummingbird. Auk 61(4): 636-637. PDF fulltext
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird - Selasphorus platycercus USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird Species Account - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird Nest with Chicks photo - Birds of North America
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird videos on the Internet Bird Collection
- Stamps (for United States) with RangeMap
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird photo gallery VIREO