What Sex Is This Bird?

What sex is this hummingbird? (photo from Wikimedia Commonss)

6 August 2021

In late summer in eastern North America a different looking ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) shows up. If you don’t look closely you may misidentify it.

It doesn’t look exactly like an adult, pictured below, but it resembles the female.

Adult male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds (photos from Wikimedia Commons)

So is it female? No!

See the red dots on the throat? It’s a young male, born this spring, who is already developing his red gorget.

Before he has red dots you can still identify him by the stippling (dotted lines) on his throat. This young male, below, has stippling without red dots.

Juvenile male ruby-throated hummingbird (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Unfortunately the bird pictured at top was misidentified as female on Wikimedia Commons. I corrected the description but cannot change the filename that contains the word “female” so he will still confuse people.

Proving that you should not believe everything you see on the Internet.

For detailed tips on identifying young ruby-throated hummingbirds, see this article at The Spruce: Ruby-throated Hummingbird Identification.

(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

1 thought on “What Sex Is This Bird?

  1. I just had a hummingbird stop for a few seconds to watch me water the plants earlier, and I just assumed it was a female. But now I know to look closer to see if it’s a young male.

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