The adult male Rufous Hummingbird is roughly 8 cm (3 inches) long with a long, straight and extremely slender bill. The female is slightly larger than the male.The adult male has a white breast, rufous face (reddish brown), upper parts, flanks and tail and an iridescent orange-red throat patch. Some males have a bit of green on their back and/or crown. The female has green upperparts with some white, some iridescent orange feathers in the center of the throat, and a dark tail with white tips and rufous base.
Hummingbirds feed on nectar from flowers or catch insects by using their long extendible tongue. They require frequent feeding while active during the day, but at night, to conserve energy, they are become inactive.Their small size makes them vulnerable to insect-eating birds and animals.
They breed along forest edges and in open areas from southern Alaska to California on the western side of the continent. The female builds the nest in a sheltered shrub or coniferous tree.
Many of the Rufous Hummingbirds migrate through the Rockies and nearby lowlands in order to take advantage of the many wildflowers during the summer months. If they remain in one location for an extended period of time they will aggressively defend their feeding spots, just as the breeding males do. These birds travel over 2000 miles to winter in Mexico – quite amazing for a bird that weighs 3 or 4 grams.