Diminutive and incredibly fast-moving, Allen’s hummingbirds are much like other hummingbirds in that they survive on small insects and nectar, are prone to territorial displays, and engage in great dipping motions during flight throughout the breeding season. Notwithstanding these things, they boast several characteristics that make them slightly unique. Following are several Allen’s hummingbird facts that avid birders are sure to enjoy.
They Have Distinctive Black And Green Crowns
In appearance, these birds closely resemble Roufus hummingbirds. They are similar in size, movement, and location. They primary difference lies in their crowns. Allen’s hummingbirds have a distinctive black and green crown. Another standout feature of these birds is a copper-red patch on their throats. This patch is often referred to as a gorget, which is named for the metallic neck gears of pre-18th century warriors. Females have slightly smaller gorgets than males. Moreover, males have the ability to flare or puff out their gorgets when attempting to attract mates.
Like All Other Hummingbirds, These Birds Are Territorial
Hummingbirds are a hoot to watch when they’re defending their territory. Despite their tiny size, they can actually be quite aggressive when they feel as though their area or activities are being impinged upon. Allen’s hummingbirds are certainly no exception to this rule. They will chase away any hummingbird that chooses to feed at their sources of nectar. This is something to keep in mind when putting hummingbird feeders out. You’ll find it rare to see two or more of these birds feeding peaceably in the same location. They’ll often attempt to chase each other away, and they aren’t adverse to going after bigger bird species for the same reason. During breeding season, male Allen’s hummingbirds will fiercely defend small patches of coastal scrub that have sufficient, protruding perches. They use these perches to put on their courtship displays.
Some of the most interesting Allen’s hummingbird facts pertain to their breeding habits. Both males and females can be quite defensive during this time. The males, however, work hard to achieve their goal of enticing females to mate with them by putting on two distinctly different flight displays. The first is an elaborate, side to side shuttle. These are short distance sprints that are performed directly in front of females. During these movements, their gorgets are flared, and their wings trill rapidly. This rapid trilling producing an audible metallic sound. It is a marvelous expenditure of energy, even for a hummingbird. The other display is a dipping, diving, and arching movement that takes them on a course much like a pendulum.
Males Are Not All That Romantic
Despite their aggressive efforts to mate, the males of this species do not contribute much in terms of parenting. In fact, when doing the pendulum mating display, male hummingbirds are often performing for several females at one time. Moreover, they leave female hummingbirds to hatch and raise their young all alone.