Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anna's Hummingbird

Many North American Hummingbirds sport the red throat-ware, but the Anna's is the only such Hummingbird to also have a red crown. They're definitely the most common Hummingbird around the Phoenix area, and in the spring-time their numbers really skyrocket. From grocery store parking lots to the top of Camelback Mountain, they're everywhere.

While wandering around Encanto Park, I spotted the flash of red atop a bottle tree and snapped this first picture was taken probably 15 yards from the base of the trunk, with the treetop being another 20 feet high. I'm including this initial picture just to give an idea of how incredibly eye-catching his ruby helmet was in the morning light. 

This precocious Anna's started to fly rounds between a couple of the nearby trees and bushes, stopping briefly to sound his trilling call, take a breath, and then quickly move on to his next checkpoint. I was very fortunate to have him stop close by and give me a great look at his broadside. It's amazing to me, given the previous coloration, the total lack of visible red when he was perpendicular to the sun. Looking at this picture alone, I'd never otherwise assume this Hummer had anything but dark grayish/greenish feathers on his face.

I was unlucky that he did not turn fully into the sun (just as well, it probably would have been blinding). Even this slight turn of his head, maybe 20 degrees, filled his face with color. I love that even the little side patch behind the eye lights up. The scaly green back and fluffy leggings alone would make this a beautiful bird, but with that scarlet headgear it's almost an overload!

Here is a juvenile photographed at the Desert Botanical Gardens:

This male Anna's was behaving very brazenly at the Gilbert Water Ranch. He would chase from perch to perch, pursuing any would-be interlopers and keeping himself very busy.

Here are a couple shots of the beautiful and delicate Anna's females.


  1. Beautiful Anna's Hummer! What a difference a little change in position and lighting make a difference. Brilliant colors on the male suddenly shining through, lovely. The sweet female feeding is lovely as well. Very enjoyable post to view.

    1. It's amazing how much difference just a little bit of light and angle can make on a hummingbird's appearance. I haven't successfully photographed one head-on with the gorget fully lit and reflecting, but man it's almost blinding.