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Breeding Birds: Black-chinned Hummingbird : Black-chinned Hummingbird

September 01, 1989|Clipboard researched by Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

(Archilochus alexandri) Description: This hummingbird is metallic green above; underparts are whitish, with dusky-green sides and flanks. The male's black throat in good light appears to have a violet band at lower border. Female's throat can be all white or show faint dusky

or greenish streaks.

Habitat: Common in lowlands and low mountains. Most numerous as breeders in canyon and lowland riparian woodland dominated by willows, sycamores and cottonwoods. They also use oaks.

Diet: Nectar, also insects and spiders.

Display: Aerial courtship: male swings pendulumlike before female, rises 15 feet above her, pauses at apex and, flapping wings, descends with a whizzing noise. Also described as following a narrow figure-eight pattern.

Nest: Builds a cup-shaped nest on a small limb, often near or over stream, occasionally on vine or herb. Constructed of plant down bound with spider's silk.

Eggs: White and unmarked, about one-half inch long.

Natural history notes: Males generally depart breeding areas by mid-August; females and immatures may linger well into September and may be fairly common as transients along the coast, especially in stands of tree tobacco. Sexes apparently also migrate separately in spring, with males arriving first. Male roosts near female during courtship period.

Breeding bird atlas: To report bird breeding activity in your neighborhood, or to get information on the breeding bird atlas (now in its fifth and final year), call Sea and Sage Audubon Society members Sylvia Gallagher, (714) 962-8990, or Nancy Kenyon, (714) 786-3160.

easily survey areas on a regular basis.

Sources: Sea and Sage Audubon Society; "The Birder's Handbook," Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, Fireside Books (1988); "Field Guide to the Birds of North America," National Geographic Society (1987); "Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution," Garrett and Dunn, Los Angeles Audubon Society (1981).

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