Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae), limited to the Western Hemisphere, are small to tiny birds with short tails, long bills, and long primaries used for hovering flight. Many species have iridescent plumage. Most are forest species, but all congregate at flowering plants and feeders. All species feed primarily on nectar, but also on tiny insects gleaned from vegetation or caught in flight. Nests are small cups made of spider webs, lined with moss and lichen and placed on a horizontal tree branch or in a fork of tree branches.

In North America, there are eighteen species of hummingbirds in twelve genera. The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only breeding hummingbird in Saskatchewan, found nesting in the southern boreal forest, aspen parkland, and the Cypress Hills. The adult male has a black face and a deep red to orange throat; both sexes have iridescent green crowns and backs, and pale underparts. In late summer, this hummingbird is seen in the flower gardens and at feeders in southern Saskatchewan. In the spring, they follow woodpeckers to access tree sap.

Four other hummingbird species normally found in the western mountains of North America have been recorded in Saskatchewan. The orange and green rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) has been recorded a number of times in southern Saskatchewan. Rarer are the black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) (Regina, Weyburn), Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) (Raymore), and the tiny Calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope) (Shaunavon).

Robert Warnock

Further Reading

Alsop, Fred J., III. 2002. Birds of Canada. New York: Dorling Kindersley.