California Hummingbirds–Cyanthus latirostris (Broad-billed Hummingbird)

5. Cyanthus latirostris -Broad-billed Hummingbird

The broad-billed hummingbird measures 3-1/4”-4” in length with 4.7” wingspan. Both sexes have usual bronze-green on top, and broad, blue-black forked tails. Vocalization is a rapid, chattering “chi-dit” or “ji-dit.”

Male Description

 Adult male glistens all over with iridescent feathers of green and blue, and has a metallic blue gorget, and a long, bright orange-red bill with black tip.

Female Description

Female has grayish underparts, white line over eye, clear-gray throat, and a dark grayish ear patch. The female’s long bill is black-tipped with a mostly black upper mandible and a dull red lower mandible.

Immature Description

Immature resemble adult female with buffy fringes on feathers of upperparts.


The male’s courtship display starts by hovering about a foot from the female and then flying repeatedly in arcs, much like a swinging pendulum. The female nests in April-August, and usually incubates 2-3 eggs. Nests in deciduous shrubs, vines, or low branches on trees, usually hanging a short distance above water, or 3-9 feet above the ground. Nest is camouflaged to resemble flood debris caught in branches. Does not cover the outside of nest with lichen.


Spring through the summer the broad-billed hummingbird nests in the Southwest. It migrates south into Mexico in the fall. Because of large numbers of hummingbird feeders and winter-blooming ornamental plants, increasing numbers of them may overwinter in Arizona and southern California. The broad-billed hummingbird has been observed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Ontario. Habitat Desert canyons, low oak woodlands, foothills, and streamsides with sycamores or cottonwoods, woodlands, scrublands, gardens, and mesquite thickets.

 Favorite Flowers

These birds frequent nectar plants and will eat the insects that are also attracted to the nectar plants. Some of their favorite plants include agave, butterfly weed, cactus, Fouqueria splendens (ocotillo), Lonicera (honeysuckle), Opuntia (prickly pears), paintbrush, penstemon, and scarlet bouvardia.

This entry was posted in Attracting Hummingbirds, Hummingbird Flowers, Hummingbirds, Identifying Hummingbirds and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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