Anna’s Hummingbirds Close Up

by Larry Jordan on April 12, 2011

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) Male photos by Larry Jordan

Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) are the only U.S. hummingbird with a rose red crown (in the right light).  They are nesting somewhere near my house.  I know this because the females have been coming to gather nesting material recently and, as you will see at the end of this post, I’ve spotted females with brood patches.

Here is the male Anna’s Hummingbird showing his bright red gorget as he surveys the yard.

I wanted to capture some in-flight photos of these jewels of the sky while the sun was out to get the full impact of their beautiful colors.

These photos were taken in morning light with my 70 – 300mm zoom lens using a high ISO setting to get the shutter speed I wanted (click on photos for full sized images).

I really enjoy watching these quick, aggressive little birds go through their maneuvers to gain a seat at the feeders. Notice that the bright colors of the male’s crown and gorget feathers look dark when not reflecting the sunlight.

The female Anna’s Hummingbird has a less obvious, patchy red throat that can be seen when facing into the sunlight.

Their colors aren’t quite as bright as the male’s

and the males generally leave them alone at the feeders. After all, they are the ones doing all the work. The female of the species builds the nest, incubates the eggs and broods and feeds the young after they hatch. Copulation is the only time male and female Anna’s Hummingbirds are together, after that, she’s on her own.

In the photo above you can see a large bare patch of skin on this female’s breast where she incubates the eggs. According to Birds of North America Online, this patch of bare skin is not vascularized like a typical brood patch.

This little ball of fire doesn’t take guff from anyone!

To see more great bird photos, check out World Bird Wednesday!  And if you hurry, you can get your link submitted to Ambika over at Madras Ramblings for the next rendition of I And The Bird on Thursday!

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