The Lucifer Hummingbird
A Lucifer Hummingbird is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Lucifer Hummingbirds. We have also put together a list of fun Lucifer Hummingbird t-shirts, Lucifer Hummingbird bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Lucifer Hummingbirds
The Lucifer Hummingbird is a medium-sized bird native to North America in the southern regions. It is also called the Lucifer Sheartail. It belongs to the hummingbird family and is almost similar to the Costa’s Hummingbird because of its distinctive purple mustache running from its chin to chest. The species is uncommon but probably increasing in its limited US range. Their status and population in Mexico are not well known.
Description and Identification
Lucifer Hummingbirds are medium-sized hummingbirds that are around 3.9 inches long.
They have long and curved bills, small wings, and a forked dark tail that is a characterizing
feature of them. Due to their distinct tail, they are also known as Lucifer Sheartails. As with
most hummingbirds, the species exhibits sexual dimorphism in the colors of their plumes.
Males have an iridescent plumage, a green crown, a long magenta gorget, and white
underparts. On the other hand, females are slightly larger with duller plumes, a pale throat,
and white or buff underparts with crimson trim. Females also display intense hues of
cinnamon on their breast and throat. Juvenile males may show a few spots of purple on their
throats in the late summer.
Lucifer Hummingbird Color Pattern
They have a white streak behind the eye. The male is different from the female as they have an iridescent plumage, green crown, forked dark tail, and long magenta gorget with white underparts. The female, on the other hand, has a duller plumage, a buff underpart, and a pale throat.
Lucifer Hummingbird Size
They are medium-sized when compared to other types of birds in the same family. Their lengths span about 10cm long and a wingspan of about 4 inches. A typical Lucifer Hummingbird adult weighs 3g on average.
Lucifer Hummingbird Behavior
They hover to feed on flowers, dart to catch insects midair, and zoom when moving from one location to the other. Males defend patches of flowers from other male and female Lucifer Hummingbirds as well as conspecific birds like the Black-chinned Hummingbird. They defend by chattering and chasing away the enemy. Females do the same when defending their nests.
When the female is nesting, the male display to them even though they will not end up as couples because the Lucifer Hummingbird is a polygamous bird.
Lucifer Hummingbird Food
Lucifer Hummingbirds mainly feed on the nectar from agave, penstemon, and a shrub known
as anisacanthus. They also may feed on the nectar from willow, trumpet flower, cholla, and
paintbrushes. They are known to be “nectar thieves” as in many cases, they do not provide
pollination services to the plants that they feed on. One such example is the nectar from
agave; the plants have adapted to be pollinated by bats and thus Lucifer Hummingbirds are
too small to pick up pollen from the flower. These hummingbirds also eat insects and
spiders, especially during breeding seasons as they require protein-rich diets for the young.
They feed on nectar and insects. They often visit tubular flowers like the penstemon, agave, and paintbrush. They would also feed on sugar-water mixtures from hummingbird feeders.
Lucifer Hummingbird Habitat
These birds are found along the Chihuahuan desert foothills of the United States between
March and September. They inhabit these regions at elevations of around 3,500 – 5,500
feet. These summer populations are hosted by canyons, dry washes, and scrub with agave,
ocotillo, cholla, sotol shrubs, and cacti. As they migrate towards central Mexico during the
winter, they are drawn towards similar scrubby habitats or towards pine-oak woodlands or
tropical deciduous forest canyons.
Birdwatchers can find them in desert foothills of the Chihuahuan desert, canyons, scrubs, and dry washes.
Range and Migration
Lucifer Hummingbirds are a striking species found throughout the high-altitude areas of
northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. They are apparently short-distance
migrants and breed from southwest Texas to extreme southwestern New Mexico and
southeastern Arizona, and northern Mexico. Some populations have been observed to
migrate towards central Mexico during the winters.
Lucifer Hummingbird Life Cycle
The female lay two white eggs and incubate them for 15 days when they are ready to hatch. The young are nested for 19-24 days then they are ready to take on their first flight. They have a lifespan of 3-5 years.
Lucifer Hummingbird Nesting
The nests of these birds can be found on cholla, ocotillo, or on Lechuguilla plants on steep,
dry, and rocky slopes. They are typically placed between 2 – 10 feet above the ground on
horizontal branches of a cholla, amid ocotillo leaves, or on dead fruiting stalks of Lechuguilla.
They have also been observed to reuse nesting sites from previous years. The nest
selection and construction are undertaken entirely by the females. Over a period of
approximately 2 weeks, the nest is built with materials gathered in surrounding areas or with
materials stolen from other Lucifer Hummingbird nests. The walls of the nest are made of
plant fibers like oak catkins, flower down, dried grass, and twigs while the outsides of the
nests are usually decorated with lichens and small leaves. The resulting nest is 1.8 inches
across and 2.2 inches tall, perfect for their clutch size of 2 eggs each brood.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Lucifer Hummingbirds
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Lucifer Hummingbirds are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Lucifer Hummingbird T-shirts
If you love the Lucifer Hummingbird you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Lucifer Hummingbird Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Lucifer Hummingbird is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Lucifer Hummingbird Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Lucifer Hummingbird. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Lucifer Hummingbirds
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Lucifer Hummingbirds
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.