Normally, I wouldn’t feature this week’s creature as they typically aren’t found in Oklahoma, but a similar rarity from far, far away is currently visiting the state, so why not feature this striking bird just in case.
The buff-bellied hummingbird is fairly big, as far as hummingbirds go. It’s about an inch longer than the ruby-throated hummingbird, our common summer resident in Oklahoma.
As a mostly Mexican species, the buff-bellied hummingbird’s range barely crosses into southern Texas during the summer, but the range increases into the United States in winter.
Now, the other bird that is currently visiting the state -- a broad-billed hummingbird -- is also mostly found in Mexico. The broad-billed hummingbird’s range typically includes central and western Mexico. In the summer, it will inhabit a tiny portion of the U.S. -- extreme southeast Arizona and extreme southwest New Mexico.
The individual in question is a female broad-billed, and continues to visit a residential feeder on Shady Tree Lane in Edmond.
According to eBird, the reported location is http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=35.6039322,-
Quite a few birders have posted photos, so I would imagine the homeowner might be allowing access, but don’t quote me because I am note certain.
Now, as of yet, no sighting of a buff-bellied hummingbird in Oklahoma has been reported to eBird. However, one was seen and reported in Searcy, Arkansas, in 1993, so who knows. Here’s hoping.
On many occasions, I have visited South Texas near the border with Mexico and observed the multi-coored buff-bellied hummingbirds, which is always a treat.
It has a buff belly, red bill, rusty-red tail and brilliant blue-green throat and breast (photo).
These hummingbirds measure from about three-and-three-quarter inches to four-and-a-quarter inches.
This bird’s summer range runs along the Gulf Coast from the Yucatan Peninsula through the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and up to Corpus Christi. In winter, some birds migrate north along the Gulf Coast, and reside from Texas to Florida. It is one of the few bird species in the Northern Hemisphere that will migrate north in the winter. It is most often found within 100 miles of the Gulf of Mexico.
Shrubby and wooded habitats, but also found in parks in suburban and urban areas.
Buff-bellied hummingbirds feed on flower nectar and insects. Like many other hummingbird species, the diet of insects
increases during the breeding season while raising young.
They also readily visit hummingbird feeders.
Odds and ends
- According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the oldest recorded buff-bellied hummingbird was at least 11 years, 2 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Texas.
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(Editor’s Note: Randy Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. He has been an avid birdwatcher, nature enthusiast and photographer for more than 40 years. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)