Description: Ruby-throated hummingbirds are very small, only 3 ½ inches tall and weigh less than a quarter of an ounce. They move exceptionally quickly by rapidly beating their wings over 50 times a second.
Male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds look very similar except for one large difference. The males have the ruby throat that gave the species its name while the females have white throats. Both the males and the females have a metallic green head, back, sides, wings and tail with a white chest and belly. In different lighting the male's throat can appear pink, red or even purple.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds call with a mouse-like squeak. If you listen to a hummingbird, you may also hear the beat of the wings which make a humming sound, hence the name, hummingbird.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds use their long, needle-like bill to eat nectar from flowers such as, salvia, trumpet creeper, bee balm, thistle petunia and jewelweed. They will also gladly feed from backyard hummingbird feeders. If you put up a feeder, you might get a ruby-throated to make it part of its territory. When a ruby-throated marks its territory, it will defend it against all potential enemies, including other birds, large insects and even small mammals.
Range: Ruby-throated hummingbirds spend their summers throughout the eastern United States. In autumn, they migrate to the wintering grounds in Central America. Some ruby-throated hummingbirds have been known to winter in southern Florida. They prefer habitats where there are a lot of flowers, such as fields, parks, backyards and open clearings in forests.
Hummingbirds are the only birds that are able to fly backwards and hover in one spot.
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