Female Magnificent Hummingbird
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Numerous species of hummingbirds either reside in or pass through southern Arizona, so many, in fact, that this area properly could be called the hummingbird capitol of North America. Visitors to this area invariably marvel at the abundance of these birds. They seem to show up anywhere that there are flowering plants.
But, don’t expect to see them all in one place. If one wants to get a feel for the large number of species of hummingbirds in our community one must be prepared to travel, if not for long distances, then vertically. Hummingbirds are specialists for the most part. They have distinct likes and dislikes and they choose their preferred habitats with great particularity. Species that are common down on the desert aren’t seen at higher elevations and, for the most part, vice versa.
One definite specialist is the Magnificent Hummingbird. This species barely makes it into southern Arizona from its preferred range in Mexico. When it is here it shows up solely in higher elevations. Magnificent Hummingbirds, physically, are among the largest hummingbirds to be found in this area. An adult may reach a length of more than 5 inches, more than 50 percent larger than some of the smaller species.
I was fortunate about a week ago to capture an image of a female Magnificent Hummingbird near the summit of Mt. Lemmon.
Her long pointed wings and extremely long bill are distinctive, as is her large (by comparison) body. Mt. Lemmon isn’t the only location around Tucson where one may spot these birds. A few days after I made this photograph I saw more of them in the Huachuca Mountains near the Mexican border.
Magnificent Hummingbirds are seasonal residents in southern Arizona. This bird and others of her kind will soon be heading south for the autumn and winter months.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm f4-5.6 ISII zoom lens at 400mm, aperture priority setting, ISO 2500, f5.6 @ 1/500.