Status: Rare casual statewide summer visitor.
Documentation: Photograph: 7-8 May 2012 Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co (DeLara and Smith 2013).
Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized.
Hybridization with Ruby-throated Hummingbird was studied in Oklahoma, where ranges of the two species overlap (Judd et al 2011). The following is an excerpt: “During the course of this study, 30 adult male Ruby-throated hummingbirds, 77 adult male Black-chinned hummingbirds, and 11 male hybrids were banded. A total of 118 adult male hummingbirds were banded, with 9.3% of them being apparent hybrids. Banding 11 apparent male hybrids from 2006 to 2009 suggests that hybridization between the two Archilochus species in Oklahoma is widespread. …. Black-chinned Hummingbirds appear to be expanding their range farther north, causing more frequent overlap with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.”
A possible Nebraska hybrid is discussed in Comments.
Summer: There are 17 documented records, nine of these in 2019 and 2020, indicating the steady increase in records since the first in 2012.
7-8 May 2012 photographed Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co photo (DeLara and Smith 2013, Brogie 2013)
13 May 2019 male photographed at Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)
9 Jun 2020 male photographed at Whittecar feeders, Dawes Co (Juanita Whittecar, eBird.org)
19 Jun 2019 male at Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (Colin Croft photo; eBird.org)
20 Jun 2019 female at Smith Feeders Scotts Bluff Co (Marie Smith, Kathy DeLara, photo)
20 Jun 2020 male videographed at Whittecar feeders, possibly same bird there 9 Jun (Juanita Whittecar, eBird.org)
20-24 Jun 2019 male at Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff (Marie Smith, Kathy DeLara, photo)
25 Jun 2019 immature male at Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (Marie Smith, Kathy DeLara, photo)
29 Jun 2014, male photographed at a Lake McConaughy, Keith Co feeder 29 Jun 2014 (Brogie 2015)
1 Jul 2019 female photographed at Whittecar feeders, Dawes Co (Juanita Whittecar, pers. comm)
8 Jul 2017 and about a month prior, photographed Blair, Washington Co (Brogie 2018)
19 Jul 2020 female Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)
25-27 Jul 2018 adult male photographed at Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (MS; Brogie 2019)
15 Aug 2017 female DeLara feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)
27-29 Aug 2018 immature photographed at Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org photos)
13-16 Sep 2013 immature photographed Shelton, Buffalo Co (Brogie 2014)
18 Sep-2 Oct 2018 at Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org).
Prior to the first record cited above, a female Archilochus hummingbird was observed at Kimball, Kimball Co 4 Aug 1996 (Grzybowski 1997) but not identified to species. A report of one at a Lake McConaughy feeder 28 Jul 2013 was not accepted by NOURC due to insufficient detail shown in the photograph submitted. A report including video of one in a Douglas Co yard 21 Aug 2015 (see Comments) was not accepted by NOURC based on an expert opinion that the evidence did not allow conclusive identification (Brogie 2016). Two “young birds” in a well-known hummingbird yard in Scotts Bluff Co 12 Aug 2016 were thought to be this species, but were not photographed (eBird.org). A report of one in a Scotts Bluff Co yard 15 Aug 2017 was not accepted by NOURC due to “lack of detail” (Brogie 2018), but was likely correct. An immature photographed at the Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co 19 Sep was judged to be a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (eBird.org; Brogie 2019), while earlier at the same feeders, an immature Black-chinned Hummingbird was present at least 25-29 Aug (eBird.org); one or both of these immatures were present during 25 Aug-21 Sep (Colin Croft, eBird.org).
Comments: A videotape of what was thought to be a possible hybrid with Ruby-throated Hummingbird, taken in Omaha, Douglas Co 21-23 Aug 2015, was sent to experts Steven Mlodinow and Sheri Williamson (Justin Rink, pers, comm.). Both agreed that the bird was at least a “probable” Black-chinned Hummingbird; Williamson noted: “I see … a probable female Black-chinned. Apparent lack of a tail notch is a further point of evidence in favor of Black-chinned …; she doesn’t pump her tail when hovering between feeding bouts, but that’s not an infallible Black-chinned characteristic.” The report was judged “Not Accepted” by NOURC based on uncertainty of the identification (Brogie 2016).
An idea of the current (Fall 2015) abundance of Black-chinned Hummingbird in western Kansas comes from a veteran observer, Tom Shane: “… we finally had a nice wave of Archilochus hummingbirds arriving on 8 Sept 2015. … I am guessing we had a ratio of 70 BCHUs to 30 RTHUs. We still had 2 Black-chins and one probable Ruby-throat today 3 Oct 2015. Black-chins nested this year 30 miles west of the Kansas – Colorado line in Lamar, CO. We have not had an adult male BCHU here in Garden City in a number of years.” Joseph Grzybowski (pers. comm.) noted in 2019 for Oklahoma “In 1993, there was a surge of Black-chinned Hummingbirds into the Wichita Mountains at least” and “In recent decades Black-chinned Hummingbirds began to expand into central Oklahoma such that one can no longer assume a hummingbird in, say, Oklahoma City or Cleveland County is a Ruby-throated.”
NOURC: Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee
Photograph (top) of a Black-chinned Hummingbird at Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co 7 May 2012 by Marie Smith.
Brogie, M.A. 2013. 2012 (24th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR: 81: 120-130.
Brogie, M.A. 2014. 2013 (25th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 82: 131-146.
Brogie, M.A. 2015. 2014 (26th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 83: 125-138.
Brogie, M.A. 2016. 2015 (27th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 84: 138-150.
Brogie, M.A. 2018. 2017 (29th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 86: 130-142.
Brogie, M.A. 2019. 2018 (30th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 87: 96-109.
DeLara, K., and M. Smith. 2013. First documented Nebraska record of Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). NBR 81: 30-32.
Grzybowski, J.A. 1997. Southern Great Plains Region. Field Notes 51: 78-82.
Judd, E.R., C.J. Butler, and N. Batchelder. 2011. Hybridization between Black-chinned (Archilochus alexandri) and Ruby-throated (A. colubris) hummingbirds in Oklahoma. Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society 44: 1–7.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2020. Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 7 Aug 2020