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Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Len Jellicoe
Photo © Len Jellicoe

Photo: Len Jellicoe
Breeding evidence - Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Breeding evidence

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Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Selasphorus platycercus

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Elevation range:
822 - 822 m
Conserv. status:
Not at risk
Global importance
of B.C. population:
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
0 0 1 0
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
BBS trends are not available for this species

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

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 During the breeding season, male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are often heard before they are seen, because they produce a high-pitched modulated trill while they fly, which is the result of having a modified 10th primary feather. The Broad-tailed Hummingbird breeds in the central and southern Rocky Mountains and at higher elevations from the southern Great Basin south to Guatemala. Then northernmost breeding location is are at least 300 km south of British Columbia in Montana (Montana Natural Heritage Program 2015), and it may have bred farther west in eastern Oregon and Idaho, but there are no recent nest records there, and no northward range expansion is being reported (Camfield et al. 2013).

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat In British Columbia, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird is regarded as an accidental or vagrant species, first recorded in the province in 1997 (Campbell et al. 2001). An Atlas participant found one individual in late June in the Kootenay River valley in the Southern Interior Mountains Ecoprovince. One other record from the Atlas period, submitted to eBird, is also from the Southern Interior Mountains: a female near the Blaeberry River in the upper Columbia River catchment. There is no evidence of breeding for this species in British Columbia, hence the Atlas records are coded X and do not appear on the distribution map.

Conservation and Recommendations Records should continue to be submitted to programs like eBird and periodically evaluated for any change in this species status.

David F. Fraser

Recommended citation: Fraser, D.F. 2015. Broad-tailed 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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