SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Possible juvenile Black-chinned Hummingbird

Warning-the following is a very esoteric discussion of hummingbird feathers.
I believe the Black-chinned Hummingbird in these pics may be a male in juvenal plumage. When the top pic is double-clicked to enlarge it, the feathers on the head show buffy edges. Though not as clear, so do the nape feathers and some of the back feathers. Birds of North America (BNA) online states that this is characteristic of both male and female birds in juvenal plumage.
BNA (as well as other references) indicate that the outer 3 tail feathers (r3,r4 & r5) of female Black-chinned Hummingbirds are "broadly tipped with white." However this hummingbird appears to show diminishing white from the most outer to the next 2 tail feathers at least on one side (difficult to discern if true on both sides as tail feathers overlap in pic). A website entitled "Idaho Hummingbirds" shows photos of Black-chinned Hummingbirds being banded, stating that those with "greatly reduced white on r3" (this is the third rectrice,or tail feather, as counted from the center to the outer tail feathers)is typical for immature males. This is basically confired by BNA which states that there is more white in the tip of the third rectrice in females than in male birds in juvenal plumage.

To call this a male is likely a stretch but I think the pics show that this hummingbird is in juvenal plumage (not sure what age). I am hoping that someone with more expertise in hummingbird identification will confirm or disconfirm if this bird is an immature male Black-chinned. SeEtta


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