Sunday, May 22, 2016

Large Hummingbirds and an Owl

We have visited a couple more special birding sites the past two days. Both are known for being great places to see hummingbirds. Southeast Arizona hosts more species of hummingbirds than any other area in the United States, and two of them are quite large compared to the others.

Magnificent and Black-chinned Hummingbirds
This picture shows a Magnificent Hummingbird on a feeder next to a Black-chinned Hummingbird. Back home in Texas, most hummingbirds are either Black-chinned or the closely related Ruby-throated. You can see how much larger the Magnificent Hummingbird is.

All male hummingbirds have iridescent feathers on their throat. This shiny area is called the gorget. A male Magnificent Hummingbird sports not only a bright green gorget, but also iridescent violet feathers on their crown.
Magnificent Hummingbird
If the light isn't right their feathers may not glow. However if the light is at the right angle they look, well... Magnificent!!
Magnificent Hummingbird
The other "big" hummingbird in the area is the well-named Blue-throated Hummingbird.
Blue-throated Hummingbird
They are just as large as the Magnificent Hummingbird, but not quite as flashy.

We also got an opportunity to see the rare Spotted Owl. In the Pacific Northwest the Spotted Owl is an endangered species that has caused a lot of issues with the logging industry. The birds in Arizona are considered a separate "Mexican" population. 
Spotted Owl
We understand that this is the male. The female is nearby tending a nest.

These are just a few of the "specialty" birds that we've seen in Arizona the past couple of days. Stay tuned for more!



  1. Beautiful birds, as always. I didn't know that only the males get the pretty iridescent neck feathers. Sounds typical, though, of the bird world.

    You are taking the scenic route to Colorado, huh?

    1. Yes. Not exactly a straight line so far. We're heading out way tomorrow and should be in by Friday.

  2. Got all the hummers except the white eared. I will never forget our search for the elegant trogan...what a story we have.