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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Calliope Hummingbird -- Stellula calliope


RANGE: Breeds in the mountains from central interior British Columbia and southwestern Alberta south to Baja California, and east to northern Wyoming and western Colorado. Winters in Mexico.

STATUS: Uncommon.

HABITAT: Frequents meadows and canyons; riparian aspen, willow, and alder thickets; and other brushy areas within the coniferous forests of western mountains. Occupies a broad vertical range during the breeding season, from 600 feet in the northern portions of its range to 11,500 feet in the Sierra Nevada. Prefers timbered stands near water with a low to intermediate canopy cover.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Flowers, preferably red, for nectar.

NEST: Typically locates nest below a larger branch or canopy of foliage, usually on a branch that has small knots of dead, black or gray mistletoe or pine cones which nest strongly resembles. Locates nest 2 to 70 feet above ground, frequently in a riparian area. May use the same site in subsequent years.

FOOD: Obtains nectar from a variety of flowers, preferring red ones. Hawks for small flying insects, and eats spiders.

REFERENCES: Bent 1940b, Calder 1971, Garrett in Farrand 1983b, Johnsgard 1983b, Terres 1980, Verner and Boss 1980.


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