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Ruby-throated Hummingbird


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A flash of green and red, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is eastern North America’s sole breeding hummingbird. These brilliant, tiny, precision-flying creatures glitter like jewels in the full sun, then vanish with a zip toward the next nectar source. Feeders and flower gardens are great ways to attract these birds, and some people turn their yards into buzzing clouds of hummingbirds each summer. Enjoy them while they’re around; by early fall they’re bound for Central America, with many crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a single flight.


Males sing a constant series of monotonous chips just at daybreak.


  • Calls,wings
  • Wing slapping and calls
  • Calls
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

A common call is an even chee-dit exchanged between individuals or during chases.


  • Wings humming
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

In both sexes the wings make a quiet humming sound, louder and higher-pitched in males.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

You can attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard by setting up hummingbird feeders or by planting tubular flowers. Make sugar water mixtures with about one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water. Food coloring is unnecessary; table sugar is the best choice. Change the water before it grows cloudy or discolored and remember that during hot weather, sugar water ferments rapidly to produce toxic alcohol. Be careful about where you put your hummingbird feeders, as some cats have learned to lie in wait to catch visiting hummingbirds. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Find This Bird

Find Ruby-throated Hummingbirds by wandering flowering gardens or woodland edges at the height of summer, or by putting up a hummingbird feeder or visiting a friend who keeps them. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are common in suburbs and towns, and can become quite bold, feeding at hanging plants and feeders on your porch or next to your windows.

Get Involved

Watch your feeders and report your counts of hummingbirds to Project FeederWatch

Look for Ruby-throated Hummingbird nests and contribute valuable data about them through NestWatch

The Wonders of Spider Silk: expandable nests

Western Hummingbirds in the East: How to attract, identify, and report late-season vagrants to eBird

You Might Also Like

Explore sounds and video of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library archive

Attract Birds: Feeding hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird from Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds (1940)

All About Birds blog, Flyways for Flyweights: Small Birds Capitalize on Weather Patterns During Epic Migrations, May 15, 2014.

Free downloadable poster about container gardening in urban areas

All About Birds blog, Here’s What to Feed Your Summer Bird Feeder Visitors, July 11, 2014.

All About Birds blog, Summertime in the United States of Hummingbirds, July 29, 2014.



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