As one of the largest hummingbirds in North America, the magnificent hummingbird truly is magnificent. Its iridescent plumage is stunning, and while it may look all-black from a distance, up close this bird's beauty is unmistakable.
Magnificent Hummingbird, Rivoli's Hummingbird
- Bill: Long, straight, black
- Size: 4.5-5 inches long with 7-inch wingspan, forked tail
- Colors: Black, green, purple, white, gray
- Markings: Dimorphic species. Males have an iridescent purple crown, emerald green gorget and a white spot behind the eye. The breast and abdomen are dark green or black and the undertail coverts are gray. Upperparts and tail are dark green. Females have dark green upperparts and gray underparts with a greenish wash, streaked throat, gray or white corners on the green tail and a white dot behind the eye that may extend into a short, downward-curving line.
Habitat and Migration:
These hummingbirds are regularly found in deciduous forests or dry pine-oak forests in mountainous areas and canyons. They can be found year-round in central Mexico and Central America south to Panama, and in summer their breeding range extends slightly north to small areas of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Inside that breeding range they are relatively common. Vagrant birds are regularly reported much further north during the summer months and to the east in autumn.
Magnificent hummingbirds have a high-pitched, squeaky "chirp" or "chip" call that is rapidly repeated. They can be very vocal when their territory is threatened.
These birds are aggressive when defending their preferred feeding areas, and they will often sit in the open on high perches to survey their territory. While feeding they practice both hawking and gleaning to capture insects. When irritated, they may raise a small crest, which is particularly noticeable on males.
Magnificent hummingbirds raise a single brood of two eggs during the breeding season. The female parent incubates the eggs for 15-16 days, and she will feed the altricial young for an additional 20-24 days until they are ready to leave the nest.
Attracting Magnificent Hummingbirds:
Like many hummingbirds, magnificent hummingbirds are attracted to the color red and will visit both flowers and feeders that offer an appropriate nectar. Backyard birders hoping to encourage these large hummingbirds should also provide suitable perches by avoiding excessive pruning of dead branches, and minimizing insecticide use can capitalize on another food source these birds need.
- Blue-Throated Hummingbird (Lampornis clemenciae)
- Violet-Capped Woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis)
- Broad-Billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris)