Archilocus Hummingbird "Archie"

Archilocus Hummingbird "Archie" 2000

Here are photos taken of the Hummingbird currently that came to our feeder and yard in the Irmo area northwest of Columbia, S.C. We first noticed it on October 17, 2000, at the feeder, a week after the Ruby-throateds left. We suspect it was attracted by our feeder--still out--and by our many flowers, especially Pineapple Sage in abundant bloom, Mexican Sage, Buddleia, and many wildflowers. It also appeared to glean things from various trees, including Live Oak, River Birch, and Red Oak.

UPDATE Archie was last seen in our yard on November 17.

Based on its general appearance, especially its greenish back, it appeared to be an Archilocus sp. We suspect it was a female Black-chinned Hummingbird, based on

  • the back-and-forth tail motion when it is feeding while hovering,
  • the apparently long bill,
  • the length of the wings compared to the tail--almost the same,
  • the rounded tips of the outer primaries, which were hard to see and harder to photograph,
  • and the color: It seems dusky, rather than clear white, on the front. No evidence of any gorget feathers supports it being male.

  • Notice the slightly darker breast band! Perhaps this is useful? Not so clear in the photos, but sometimes visible in person, is light buffy coloring on the breast along the wings.

  • Its surprisingly aggressive behavior is also typical, we understand. We saw it go after several other birds, including a Northern Cardinal at a seed feeder in the center of the yard. Once it even chased a Northern Mockingbird out of the yard.

    These photos were taken from about 2.5 feet, through a picture window, with our tripod-mounted Rebel G camera, which limits what we can do. A better camera would do much better! A flash would likely help, but we wanted neither to disturb the bird nor to hurt its vision. We have nice video footage of it feeding at Pineapple Sage (but don't know how to get those shots onto the Web). The State Rare Bird Records Committee rejected it, thinking that Archie may have been Ruby-throated. However, this may need revisiting, given the late date and our being so far from the coast (Susan Campbell).

    The photos show Archie:

    Photos copyright Jerry Griggs, 2000

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