South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Rufous Hummingbird

Selasphorus rufus

Length: 3.75 inches Wingspan: 4.75 inches Seasonality: Rare Visitor
ID Keys: Males bright rufous above, dark reddish throat.  Females have green upperparts, a spotted throat, and a rufous wash on their sides.

Rufous Hummingbird - Selasphorus rufusOne of the most widespread breeders of the North American hummingbirds, they can be found in summer from southern Alaska down through the northwestern United States.  Very aggressive, they often will dominate other hummingbirds, and will even chase away larger birds and small rodents away from their preferred feeding locations.  Of all the western hummingbirds, the Rufous is the one most likely to wander far to the east during migration, and every year, a few are reported wintering in the southeastern United States.

Habitat: Breeds around forest edges and clearing, both near the coast and in the western mountains of the U.S. and Canada.  They can be found in nearly any habitat during migration.

Diet: Feeds primarily on nectar. Also will feed on tiny insects, and will drink sap from holes created by sapsuckers.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: A musical chip and repeated buzzy chattering

Migration: Summers from the northwestern United States, through western Canada, and up to southern Alaska.  Winters in southern Mexico.  Rufous Hummingbirds are one western species that does occasionally wander widely, with eastern records occurring regularly.

Similar Species: Extremely similar to Allen's Hummingbird. Females similar to female Calliope Hummingbird

Feeders: Will attend hummingbird feeders for sugar water.

Conservation Status: Widespread and often abundant in its normal range.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Rufous Hummingbird

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Rufous Hummingbird

3) Rufous Hummingbird

Photo Information: September 7th, 2006 -- Red Rocks State Park near Sedona, Arizona -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Rufous Hummingbird photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Rufous Hummingbird - Selasphorus rufus - Range map
South Dakota Status: Rare visitor, primarily in the fall in the western part of the state.