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Oklahoma's Summer Jewels

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Of the four species of hummingbirds known to visit Oklahoma, the ruby-throated is the most widespread. The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) belongs to the family Trochilidae, which contains 319 species.

Ruby-throats measure 3 inches to 3 3/4 inches from bill to tail and weigh 2.5 to 3.5 grams (nine birds have a total weight of one ounce); the birds weigh more during migration. Their feathers appear different shades of colors in varying degrees and angles of light. Back and crown feathers are basically green but may appear brown or gray. Adult male gorgets, or throats, may seem black until struck by sunlight, which turns them fiery red-gold. The female ruby-throat's gorges is clear or faintly dotted, and her outer tail feathers are tipped with white. Immature hummers look like females until young males begin to acquire a few red feathers in their gorgets.

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