Rufous hummingbird

Selasphorus rufus

It’s the size of a thumb with flight patterns more erratic than house flies. So it’s never easy to get a good look at a hummingbird. But should you get one close enough, and still enough, don’t assume it’s our common ruby-throated hummingbird.

Through the end of September, it’s possible we get a few rufous hummingbirds through central Kansas. They’re normally birds of the mountains, but some annually were east on a roundabout migration to Mexico. In some places in far western Kansas, rufous hummers may be more common than rubythroats, especially during migrations.

There’s probably no such thing as a plain-looking male hummingbird, but rufouses are indeed striking to see. Most have a reddish face and neck, while the body is mostly orange with green wings.

Rufous hummingbirds, like most of their family, feed largely on several species of flower and special hummingbird feeders placed by wildlife watchers.