Calliope Hummingbird

The calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) of the Trochilidae family is the smallest bird native to the United States and Canada. It has a western breeding range mainly from California to British Columbia, and migrates to the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America for its wintering grounds.

The breeding habitat of calliope hummingbird is varied among open shrub habitats and altitudes. Nesting usually occurs at higher altitudes in the Rocky Mountains. Open montane forest, mountain meadows, and willow and alder thickets may variously serve as breeding grounds. During migration and winter, they also occur in chaparral, lowland brushy areas, deserts and semi-desert regions.

These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue, drink sap from holes created by sapsuckers or catch insects on the wing. While collecting nectar, they also assist in plant pollination. Plants preferred for pollinating include paintbrush, penstemon, columbine, trumpet gilia, and elephant head. They will also occasionally catch and eat small insects and spiders.

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