Despite their tiny size, male Allen's Hummingbirds are very aggressive and territorial. The male attracts a female using a complex aerial show which includes vocalizations.
Due to their high metabolism, they must eat constantly, feasting on nectar and insects, giving them energy for flapping their wings at incredible speeds.
Appearance of the Allen's Hummingbird
Adult male Allen's Hummingbirds look very similar to the Rufous Hummingbird — with the exception of the Allen’s green back and crown.
The Allen’s hummingbird has a copper-red throat patch known as a gorget (named after the protective metallic neck gears worn by warriors, pre-18th century). Their red tail feathers are tipped in black, and their wings emit a metallic whine when in flight.
Adult females and juvenile Allen’s hummingbirds are hard to distinguish from Rufous hummingbirds. Typically they have iridescent green backs with dull red bellies and a white throat. Female Allen's hummingbirds often sport a red central throat patch or a smaller gorget than that of the adult male Allen's hummingbird.
As a result of this limited range, the Allen's hummingbird is susceptible to the effects of natural disasters, disease and habitat destruction.
Nesting Habits of the Allen's Hummingbird
Despite their tiny size, male Allen's Hummingbirds are very aggressive and territorial. If a random male should stray into its domain, the male Allen’s hummingbird will chase it out. They have been known to attack and chase off other hummingbird species as well as much larger predators.
The male Allen's Hummingbird attracts a female using a complex aerial show which includes vocalizations. This flight of courtship is a frantic back and forth ascending and descending arc, like the swaying of a pendulum, covering around 25 feet. In this flight of love, the male Allen's hummingbird makes vocalizations with shuttling, followed by a j-shaped, speed dive of about 100’.
Allen’s hummingbirds make their nest from down, weed stems and plant fibers and coat it with lichens to provide structure. Females lay two white eggs that will be incubated for up to 17 days.
Although the young Allen's Hummingbirds leave the nest three weeks after hatching, the mother will feed the young for several more weeks. After that, the baby Allen’s hummingbirds are on their own!
Food Preferences of the Allen's Hummingbird
The Allen’s Hummingbird requires a constant energy source (nectar) and protein source (insects).
The very high metabolism of the Allen's hummingbird is due to the incredible speed with which it flaps its wings, continuously burning the food it has consumed for fuel.
In feeding from the nectar of flowers, the Allen's hummingbird carries the pollen to other flowers then in turn.
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