Illustration by H. Douglas Pratt and Sophie Webb
This hummer is a familiar species in West Coast gardens, where it is present year-round. Monotypic. Length 3.5–4" (9–10 cm); bill 16–20 mm
Identification Tail slightly rounded to double-rounded. Adult male: rose (fresh) to orange-red (worn) gorget and crown. Adult female: throat and underparts spotted and mottled dusky to bronzy green, median throat blotched rose-red. Immature male: resembles adult female but upperparts fresher in February to June, with fine buff tips; throat and crown usually with more scattered rose spots; white tail tips narrower. Complete summer molt produces plumage like adult male by late fall. Immature female: resembles adult female but upperparts fresher in February to June; throat often lacks rose spots.
Similar Species Costa’s smaller (obvious in direct comparison), and males readily identified (beware occasional hybrids, which look more like male Costa’s, sound more like Anna’s). Female/immature Costa’s proportionately longer billed but shorter tailed, often best told by call: high, tinny pit call and twitters distinct from Anna’s. Costa’s generally plainer on throat and underparts, without dusky throat spotting. See black-chinned.
Voice Call: a slightly emphatic to fairly hard tik or tih and a more smacking tsik, in flight and perched. In flight chases, a rapid-paced, slightly buzzy twittering, t-chissi-chissi-chissi, and variations. Song: a high-pitched, wiry to lisping squeaky warble from perch, often prolonged and repeated with pulsating succession. Year-round.
Status and Distribution Western North America to northern Mexico. Breeding: common (December–June) in scrub, gardens, etc. Dispersal/Migration: Some late summer movement upslope to mountains. Local movements complex. Winter: casual (mainly fall and winter) north to Alaska and in the East.
—From the National Geographic book Complete Birds of North America, 2006
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