From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, is a species of hummingbird. The
Allen's Hummingbird is a small bird, with mature adults reaching only 3 to 3½ inches
(75 to 90 mm) in length. The male Allen's has a green back and forehead, with rust-
colored rufous flanks, rump, and tail. The male's throat is also an iridescent orange-
red. The female and immature Allen's Hummingbirds are similarly colored, but lack
the iridescent throat patch, instead having a series of speckles on their throat.
Females are mostly green, featuring rufous colors only on the tail, which also has
white tips. The immature Allen's Hummingbirds are so similar to the female Rufous
Hummingbird that the two are almost indistinguishable in the field. Both species'
breeding seasons and ranges are common factors used to differentiate between the
two species in a particular geographical area.
The Allen's Hummingbird is common only in the brushy woods, gardens, and
Adult female tending nest
meadows of coastal California from Santa Barbara north, and a minuscule portion of
lower Oregon. The nominate race of Allen's Hummingbird S.s. sasin is migratory, Conservation status
and winters along the Pacific coast of central Mexico. A second race S.s.
sedentarius is a permanent resident on the Channel Islands off southern California.
This population colonized the Palos Verdes Peninsula of Los Angeles County in the
1960s and has since spread over much of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
The courtship flight of the male Allen's Hummingbird is a frantic back and forth flight Scientific classification
arc of about 25 feet (10 m) similar to the motion of a swinging pendulum, followed Kingdom: Animalia
by a high-speed dive from about 100 feet (30 m). The male is also highly aggressive
and territorial. Hot-tempered despite its diminutive stature, a male Allen's
Hummingbird will chase any other males from its territory, as well as any other Class: Aves
hummingbird species, and they have even been known to attack and rout predatory Order: Trochiliformes
birds several times larger than themselves such as kestrels and hawks. Family: Trochilidae
The Allen's Hummingbird constructs its nest out of plant fibers, down, and weed Genus: Selasphorus
stems, coating the nest with lichens to give it structure. The nest is placed above Species: S. sasin
ground on a tree branch or the stalk or stem of a plant. The female lays two white
eggs, which she will incubate for 15 to 17 days. The young will leave the nest about
three weeks after hatching. The mother will continue to feed the fledglings for Selasphorus sasin
several more weeks, then the young are left to fend for themselves.
Like all hummingbirds, the Allen's
Hummingbird's high rate of metabolism
requires it to feed frequently, about every
hour. The Allen's Hummingbird drinks
nectar from flowers, as well as eating any
small insects it finds crawling around the
flower blossom, which provide it with
The common name commemorates
Allen's Hummingbird feeding
Charles Andrew Allen (1841-1930),
American collector and taxidermist.
A hybrid between this species and Anna's Hummingbird has been described as
Floresi's Hummingbird, "Selasphorus" floresii (Ridgway, 1909; Taylor, 1909).
References Breeding and wintering range
BirdLife International (2004). Selasphorus sasin. 2006. IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org . Retrieved on 09 May
2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least
Ridgway, Robert (1909): Hybridism and Generic Characters in the Trochilidae.
Auk, 26(4): 440-442. PDF fulltext
Taylor, Walter P. (1909): An instance of hybridization in hummingbirds, with
remarks on the weight of generic characters in the Trochilidae. Auk, 26(3): 291-
293. PDF fulltext
Allen's Hummingbird photo
Allen's Hummingbird videos on the Internet Bird Collection
Allen's Hummingbird photo gallery VIREO
Wikimedia Commons has media
Live nest webcam
related to: Selasphorus sasin
via Allen's Hummingbird