Here’s what a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird looks like when his throat feathers (gorget) catch the light.
But listen to this Broad-tailed Hummingbird sound file for the real clue. The wings of a mature male make a distinctive “trilling” sound in flight.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird wing sound
Click the arrow above to listen to the sound of the male Broad-tailed wing sound.
When this sound file was recorded, there were several hummingbird species at the feeding area, including Black-chinned Hummingbirds and Magnificent Hummingbirds. You can hear hummingbird vocalizations and background sounds. The Broad-tailed wing sounds are the high pitched trills at the beginning and end of the recording. Here’s a link to a Cornell recording for comparison.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird in the shade
In low light, a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird’s red gorget looks so dark that it appears to be black. In this backlit photo, the red in the gorget is not visible, though a little bit of pollen on the top of the hummingbird’s head shows up.
An adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird looks very much like an adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Here’s a picture of a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird. Or so we believe. We went to both of our favorite hummingbird field books for this one. Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America by Sheri Williamson of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory and Beginner’s Guide to Hummingbirds by Donald and Lillian Stokes. And then we also compared the tail and bill length to one of our photos of a female Rufous hummingbird.
All of these pictures were taken at Beatty’s Guest Ranch in Miller Canyon, outside of Sierra Vista, Arizona. The sound clip was also recorded there. Many thanks to the Beatty family!