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Black-chinned Hummingbird, Tania Simpson
Photo © Tania Simpson

Photo: Tania Simpson
Breeding evidence - Black-chinned Hummingbird
Breeding evidence
Probability of observation - Black-chinned Hummingbird
Probability of observation
Elevation plot - Black-chinned Hummingbird
Elevation plot

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Black-chinned Hummingbird
Archilochus alexandri
Landscape associations:

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Elevation range:
259 - 1136 m
Conserv. status:
Not at risk
Global importance
of B.C. population:
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
26 27 77 10
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
Brit. Col.1971 - 2012 0.111 (-7.99 - 8.37)Low
Canada1971 - 2012 0.111 (-7.99 - 8.37)Low

Mean abundance by region

Bird Conservation Regions [plot]
NW Interior ForestBoreal Taiga PlainsGreat BasinNorthern RockiesN. Pacific Rainforest
Ecoprovinces [plot]
N. Boreal Mountains Taiga Plains Boreal Plains Georgia Depression Sub-Boreal Interior
S. Interior Mountains Central Interior Southern Interior S. Alaska Mountains Coast & Mountains
0.1  0.08   

Mean abundance by habitat [plot]

Boreal Altai Fescue AlpineBoreal White and Black SpruceBunchgrassCoastal Douglas-fir
Coastal Mountain-heather AlpineCoastal Western HemlockEngelmann Spruce -- Subalpine FirInterior Cedar -- Hemlock
Interior Douglas-firInterior Mountain-heather AlpineMontane SpruceMountain Hemlock
Ponderosa PineSpruce -- Willow -- BirchSub-Boreal Pine -- SpruceSub-Boreal Spruce

Characteristics and Range At first glance, the Black-chinned Hummingbird may seem oddly misnamed; especially when the sun catches a bright violet band across the adult male's gorget. It is the chin and upper throat area that is "velvety black" (Baltosser and Russel 2000). The breeding range extends through western North America from the central highlands of Mexico to its northern limit in southern British Columbia (Baltosser and Russel 2000). Most Black-chinned Hummingbirds overwinter along the southwestern Pacific coast of Mexico.

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat The Black-chinned Hummingbird has been expanding its range in British Columbia since it was first recorded in the early 1900s (Munro and Cowan 1947, Campbell et al. 1990). The Atlas results document a continuation of this expansion, from the population core in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys of the Southern Interior Ecoprovince, into the Shuswap, Thompson-Nicola, Creston Valley, and Southern Rocky Mountain Trench areas; with scattered possible breeding records in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of the Central Interior Ecoprovince. This northern expansion has continued since the Atlas survey period, as confirmed by banding records (A. Moran pers. obs.). It is probably most easily detected at feeders and may have been overlooked in some Atlas squares.

The Probability of Observation data closely matched the distribution noted above, suggesting that the Southern Interior Mountains and Southern Interior ecoprovinces now share the core of the provincial population. Too few data were collected on point counts to draw firm conclusions on abundance. Most records were from the Interior Douglas-fir Biogeoclimatic Zone from 250 to 1,000 m. The Pobs model indicated there was a similar likelihood of finding the species in the Bunchgrass and Ponderosa Pine biogeoclimatic zones also, neither of which had many records.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird usually nests in deciduous trees and shrubs. In British Columbia, it is most often found at low-mid elevations in areas with riparian woodland, human habitation, or orchards. Farther south, this hummingbird is found in a wide range of habitats, from urban to natural or disturbed landscapes, in semi-arid or desert areas near water, as well as in riparian areas and open woodland. One study suggests nests clustered in close proximity to Accipiter nests enjoy higher reproductive success from reduced predation (Greeney and Wethington 2009).

Conservation and Recommendations There are no conservation concerns for the Black-chinned Hummingbird given its long-term range expansion (British Columbia Conservation Data Centre 2014). Population trends and distribution should continue to be monitored via banding (Finlay 2007). Birders are encouraged to document the expanding range of the species, especially records indicating breeding, by reporting sightings through programs like eBird.

Alison Moran and David F. Fraser

Recommended citation: Moran, A. and Fraser, D.F. 2015. Black-chinned Hummingbird in Davidson, P.J.A., R.J. Cannings, A.R. Couturier, D. Lepage, and C.M. Di Corrado (eds.). The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, 2008-2012. Bird Studies Canada. Delta, B.C. [14 Jul 2024]

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