A flash of red and black darting by could signal an elusive black and red hummingbird. While no single species bears these exact colors, several types of hummingbirds do display stunning black and ruby plumage. This article explores hummingbirds with these mesmerizing hues and how to identify them. The question of what species could be considered a true “black and red hummingbird” is an interesting one to unravel.
Characteristics of Black and Red Hummingbirds
No hummingbird species is specifically named the “black and red hummingbird.” But some share similarities:
The male ruby-throat lives up to its name with an iridescent scarlet throat bordered by black. Overall it’s mostly metallic green. The ruby-throated hummingbird exhibits some of the key black and red features people associate with a “black and red hummingbird.”
Males have deep rose-pink throats and crowns that stand out when feeding. Their dark tail and wings contrast against gray underparts.
Costa’s males have a violet crown and throat with a dark purplish belly. The under tail is white tipped with black.
Broad-tailed males lack red but have a bright fuchsia throat bordered by sooty black on the sides. Their wings and tail are dark with white tips.
So several hummingbirds share a mix of deep red and black hues, paired uniquely in each species.
Range and Habitat Where Found
These hummingbirds with red and black occupy different ranges across the Americas:
Ruby-throats are found across eastern North America in a variety of habitats with flowers or feeders.
Anna’s thrive along the Pacific Coast into Mexico, the Southwest, and southeastern US. They prefer openscrub, woods, and suburbs.
Costa’s occupy arid scrublands and deserts of the southwest US and Mexico. They adapt readily to human settings.
As their name implies, broad-tailed hummers breed across the Rocky Mountains and Southwest in mountain meadows and pine-oak forests.
Here is a comparison of their breeding distributions:
|Ruby-throated||Eastern US and Canada|
|Anna’s||Pacific Coast, Southwest, Southeast|
|Costa’s||Southwest US and Mexico|
|Broad-tailed||Rocky Mountains, Southwest|
Spotting Tips and ID Tricks
Picking out a possible black and red hummingbird takes careful observation:
- Note the pattern of red vs black. Look for a red throat or crown.
- Watch the wings and tail in flight for flashes of color.
- Consider the habitat and location. Compare to expected species’ range.
- Listen for species-specific songs and sounds. Many hum distinctively.
- Identify any distinguishing field marks like throat stripes.
- Size and structure offers clues too. Compare proportions.
With close study and deductive reasoning, you can zero in on a hummingbird’s identification by systematically ruling out lookalikes.
Providing a Welcoming Habitat
To attract dashing ruby and ebony hummingbirds to your yard, focus on meeting their habitat needs:
Use a nectar feeder with a robust red color to target hummingbirds. Keep it fresh and clean.
Plant native flowers with tubular red blooms that provide nectar. Trumpet vine, bee balm, and cardinal flower are winners.
A mister, sprinkler, or small water feature provides drinking and bathing opportunities.
Add trees, posts, wires, and shrubs for convenient perching near food sources.
Provide protected areas like trees and shrubs for nest building and shelter.
With plentiful nectar, flowers, water and shelter these colorful hummers may visit your landscape.
Fascinating Facts About Red and Black Hummingbirds
Here are some interesting tidbits about these exquisitely hued birds:
- Male hummers get their red and pink colors from pigments in foods like berries and tree sap.
- Iridescent throat feathers refract light to maximize flashiness during displays.
- Costly red plumage signals male health and fitness to potential mates.
- Females build tiny nests just 2 inches across solely out of plant down and spider silk.
- Ruby-throats make an epic migration across the Gulf each fall and spring.
- Broad-tailed hummers produce a loud, insect-like trill with their tail feathers while diving.
- Costa’s are extremely territorial, with males defending nectar supplies aggressively.
- Anna’s adapted to move their range northward over the last century using feeders.
The more you learn about their unique traits and skills, the more fascinating these petite powerhouses become!
Frequently Asked Questions About Black and Red Hummingbirds
What kind of hummingbird is black and red?
No species has exactly black and red plumage, but several like Anna’s, ruby-throated, Costa’s, and broad-tailed have a mix of deep black and ruby markings.
What is the red and black bird I saw?
Carefully compare field marks to an Anna’s, ruby-throated, Costa’s, or broad-tailed hummingbird to identify the specific species. Taking notes on key details will help.
Why are hummingbirds red or black?
Male red coloration comes from pigments in nectar that reflects brightly to attract females. Black indicates maturity and often borders vibrant red or pink displays.
How can I get a red and black hummingbird to visit?
Using a red feeder and planting tubular red flowers will help attract these colorful species. Providing small perches near food sources is also inviting.
Where do black and red hummingbirds live?
Depending on species, their breeding ranges span eastern North America, the Rockies, southwest deserts, Mexico, and along the Pacific coast.
When do black and red hummingbirds appear?
In spring and summer when breeding. Ruby-throats migrate south for winter while Anna’s, Costa’s, and broad-tails may overwinter in southern range areas.
While no species is named the black and red hummingbird, several types like Anna’s and ruby-throats display sensational ruby-colored throats and crowns bordered or highlighted by dark black plumage. Their exclusive breeding ranges and structural differences help differentiate lookalike species. By cultivating flowering havens, curious birdwatchers may be rewarded with a close-up encounter with these jewel-toned aerial acrobats. Just be ready with your binoculars and field guide to appreciate the diversity on display!