ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD


Calypte anna


Description:

As anyone with a Hummingbird feeder knows, this bird is highly territorial and aggressively defends its feeding territory. Besides flower nectar, their diet also includes small insects. In fact, Anna's consume the largest amount of insects of all North American Hummingbirds.

This bird is most often found singing a series of scratchy sounds, including a sharp "chee-chee-chee", from a high perch. This is the only California hummer to sing a song. When moving between flowers they make a "chick" sound.

When mating or defending his territory, the male flies up to a height of 150 feet and then dives vertically, pulling out of the dive just above the spectator and producing an explosive popping sound, which is thought to be made by the bird's tail feathers. He then hovers and sings above the spectator. Finally, he may ascend and repeat the display up to a dozen times or so.


Appearance:

General: 3.5 to 4 inches in length.

Male: Green back, nape, and sides. Pale gray/white belly. Black, notched tail. Magenta/red irridescent crown and gorget. Whether or not you see the irridescent colors depends on the angle of the Sun between you and the bird. Long, thin, straight black bill.

Female: Green crown. Has a spotted throat with a central patch of reddish spots and only a splash of the red irridescence. Dark tail with white tips. Larger than other female hummers.


Habitat:

Open oak woodlands, fields, chaparral, and backyards. Some favorite plants are Red Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum), Eucalyptus, Red-Hot-Poker (Tritoma), Lantana.


Nesting:

2 white eggs. 14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 18-23 days after hatching. The nest is a tiny woven cup made from twigs, lichens, spider webs, and dead leaves fastened to well protected tree branch. The male and female only come together to mate. It is the female that builds the nest, incubates the eggs, and cares for the young.


Observed Locations:

  • Lake Murray, La Mesa
  • Mission Trails Park, San Diego
  • FRNC, Point Loma
  • Santee Lakes, Santee
  • Palomar Mountain


  Listen To This Bird ( mp3 )
         Song #1




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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.