Status: Uncommon regular fall migrant west and west-central, rare casual east-central and east. Rare regular spring migrant and summer visitor west.
Documentation: Photograph: 22-30 Aug 1987 Hastings, Adams Co (Grenon 1990).
Taxonomy: Some authors (AOU 1957, Pyle 1997) have recognized two weakly-differentiated subspecies, platycercus in North America north of Mexico, and guatemalae of southern Mexico and Central America, but current authors consider the species to be monotypic (Clements et al 2016, Gill and Donsker 2017).
Changes Since 2000: Spring and even summer records of this species have increased greatly since the first spring record in 2014.
Spring: There are 38 documented May and Jun reports for the state, 35 of these since 2018, suggesting a recent influx into the Nebraska Panhandle, possibly related to a similar increase in the South Dakota Black Hills (see Summer). Spring and summer reports at the Whittecar feeders in Dawes Co are discussed, along with other later Jun reports in Summer (below).
Documented spring reports are:
5 May 2020, immature female Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (photo)
8 May 2023 adult female at Whittecar feeders, Dawes Co (photos)
11-22 May 2022 adult male at Croft feeders, Turkey Drive, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)
12-19 May 2022 adult female at Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (Colin Croft, photos)
13 May 2020, adult female Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (photo)
17-26 May 2019, male and female at the Croft feeders, Turkey Drive, Scotts Bluff Co (CCf, photos)
18 May 2020, adult male Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (photo)
18 May 2021 male at Croft feeders (eBird.org)
21 May 2021 two males and a female at the Croft feeders; one of unspecified sex was there 22 May (eBird.org)
28 May 2021 male Chadron, Dawes Co (Yvonne Cornet, photos)
31 May 2015, female in a Scotts Bluff Co yard (Silcock 2015a)
1 Jun 2019, at Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (MS, KD)
5 Jun 2020 male Croft feeders Scotts Bluff Co (photo)
7 Jun 2020 two females Croft feeders Scotts Bluff Co (photos)
9 Jun 2018 at the Croft feeders, Turkey Drive, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)
9-12 Jun 2022 female at Croft feeders, Scotts Bluff Co (Colin Croft, photos)
17 Jun 2021 DeLara yard near Mitchell, Scotts Bluff Co (eBird.org)
In addition, there are these undocumented reports: 25 May 2010 Scotts Bluff Co, 2 Jun 1987 Sioux Co, 2 Jun 1999 Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co, 10 Jun 1969 Dawes Co, 12 Jun 2011 Kearney, Buffalo Co, 15 Jun 1983 Sioux Co, and 20 Jun 2002 Bassett, Rock Co.
Summer: There are recent reports that indicate breeding in Nebraska, none as yet proven, even though this species breeds commonly in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, and, more recently, the Black Hills of South Dakota (Drilling et al 2018). Perhaps the recent increase in Black Hills reports may lead to increased Nebraska occurrences.
Mollhoff (2022) noted a record of a pair seen daily by M. H. Swenk at Glen, Sioux Co 18-22 Aug (Swenk 1906), “leading the observer to feel … quite sure they bred”.
Most suggestive of breeding in recent years, but as yet unproven, is a series of observations in a southeastern Dawes Co yard beginning in 2014 (Juanita Whittecar, pers, com., photos). These can be summarized as follows:
2014: female 22-28 May
2015: female 24 May- 10 Jul; two females 21 Jun (Silcock 2015a, 2015b)
2016: two females 22-26 May
2018: male 13 Jun, two females 27 May-14 Jun
2019: female 24 May-15 Jun
2020: male(s) 8-9 May, 26-29 May and 8-9 Jun, female 19 May-30 Jun
2021: female 19-20 May and 11-19 Jun
2022: male 28 May, two males 26 Jun; two females 7 May-16 Jul.
Recent sightings in the Wildcat Hills area in mid- to late Jun are suggestive of breeding there: an adult male 14 Jun 2018, a male and a female 16-23 Jun 2020, and sightings of singles 12, 13, and 18 Jun 2023.
Reports beginning in late Jun are likely fall migrants and are discussed under Fall.
Fall: Jul 10, 10, 10 <<<>>> Aug 31, 31, Sep 1
Earlier Jul dates within the expected migration corridor are 3 Jul 2012 Scotts Bluff Co, and 6 Jul 2017 Scotts Bluff Co, and later dates 10 Sep 2018 Kimball Co, 13 Sep 2022 Scotts Bluff Co, 15 Sep 2013 Scotts Bluff Co, 22 Sep 2007 Scotts Bluff Co, and 22 Sep 2018 Scotts Bluff Co.
Male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds do not take part in incubation or rearing of young, and, based on a six-week breeding cycle after earliest egg-laying in Colorado (Wickersham 2016), may depart breeding locations as early as late Jun. Such reports for Nebraska are of a male at the Smith feeders, Scotts Bluff Co 22 Jun 2019, a male near Gering, Scotts Bluff Co 23 Jun 2022, a male 24 Jun 2007 at a Mitchell, Scotts Bluff feeder, a female at the same feeder 27 Jun-23 Jul 2007, a female there 26 Jun 2008, a male at the Croft feeders Scotts Bluff 24 Jun 2019, two “very loud” birds at Scotts Bluff NM, Scotts Bluff Co 26 Jun 2016, one identified by the loud buzz in flight 29 Jun 2003 in Monroe Canyon, Sioux Co, a male in Dawes Co 30 Jun 2020 (Juanita Whittecar, photos), and a female at the Croft feeders 30 Jun 2022.
A later report was 5 Oct 1981 Dawes Co, although the two latest reports are of individuals in the east, cited below.
Migrants are generally restricted to the west, but there are about 16 records further east, including these easternmost records: a female was in Nuckolls Co 26 Jul 2012, a female was at Creighton, Knox Co 18-30 Aug 2002, a female/immature was at a Bellevue, Sarpy Co feeder 1 Oct-7 Nov 2007 (Brogie 2008), a female/immature was photographed at Seward, Saline Co 17-24 Oct 1990 (Grenon 1991), and a female was at a Lincoln, Lancaster Co feeder 27-29 Jul and 15-25 Aug 2016.
- High counts: 4 at the Smith feeders in Scotts Bluff Co 27 Jul 2018, 4 there 17 Aug 2022, and 3 at another Scotts Bluff feeder 6 Aug 2018.
- A total of 13 were reported 4 Aug-22 Sep 2018 and about 11 for 6 Aug-13 Sep 2022.
NM: National Monument
American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU]. 1957. The AOU Check-list of North American birds, 5th ed. Port City Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Brogie, M.A. 2008. 2007 (19th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 76: 111-119.
Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, accessed 30 January 2018.
Drilling, N.E., E.D Stukel, R.A. Sparks, and B.J. Woiderski. 2018. The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of South Dakota. SDGFP, Wildlife Division Report 2017-02. South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, Pierre.
Gill, F., and D. Donsker (Eds). 2017. IOC World Bird List (v 7.3), accessed 30 January 2018.
Grenon, A.G. 1990. 1990 (Third) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 58: 90-97.
Grenon, A.G. 1991. 1991 (Fourth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 59: 150-155.
Mollhoff, W.J. 2022. Nest records of Nebraska birds. Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Occasional Paper Number 9.
Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I, Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.
Silcock, W.R. 2014. Spring Field Report, Mar 2014 to May 2014. NBR 82: 46-73.
Silcock, W.R. 2015a. Spring field report, Mar-May 2015. NBR 83: 54-85.
Silcock, W.R. 2015b. Summer Field Report, June-July 2015. NBR 83: 102-124.
Silcock, W.R. 2016. Spring Field Report, Mar 2016 to May 2016. NBR 84: 58- 85.
Swenk, M.H. 1906. Some Nebraska Bird Notes. Auk 23: 108-109.
Wickersham, L.E. Ed. 2016. The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas. Colorado Bird Atlas Partnership, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Denver, Colorado, USA.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2023. Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 7 Sep 2023