positioning and movement
An adaptable and widespread species, the black-jawed hummingbird (alexandrine ape) breed in a wide range of habitats in the western United States and as far north as British Columbia. In such a large geographic range, what is the preferred habitat for the black-jawed hummingbird? Do they stay in the same area all year round? Read on as we dive into these topics in more depth.
Black-jawed hummingbirds are widespread in western North America, breeding in parts of Canada and the United States, as well as Mexico, where northern breeders migrate for the winter. Within this range, the species thrives in a variety of habitats from orchards and woodlands to canyons and deserts.
Breeding typically occurs between March and September, with significantly shorter breeding seasons observed further north. Black-jawed hummingbirds that breed in Canada may stay in their spring territory for 6 to 8 weeks before returning south.
The black-jawed hummingbird’s adaptability to nesting habitats and its ability to thrive in a variety of different landscapes, combined with the increase in gardens of exotic plants, sugar water, and nectar, have led to populations spreading beyond urban and suburban areas where they were originally native range, which in turn contributes to increasing the overall population of black-jawed hummingbirds globally.
If you want to improve your chances of spotting these little nectar-loving migratory birds during breeding season, our guide has some tips on when and where to look, so read on.
The black-jawed hummingbird is widespread in western North America, breeding in Canada and the United States, as well as parts of Mexico
The black-jawed hummingbird is a migratory species that is found from much of southwestern Canada, the central and southwestern United States, and northern and central Mexico at various times of the year.
Where do black-jawed hummingbirds live in the United States?
Black-jawed hummingbirds are widely distributed across the western United States during the breeding season. Not a traditional part of the species’ range, increasing numbers of individuals have recently been reported in the southern Gulf Coast states.
In which states do black-jawed hummingbirds live?
Primarily restricted to the western corners of the United States, within this range the black-jawed hummingbird is a relatively common summer visitor. They are often found in the Northwest state of Idaho, through Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and all the way to Texas. Further west, the species also breeds in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Individual sightings have been occasionally reported in states further east, and according to records, this is increasing.
Closeup of a black-jawed hummingbird feeding on nectar
Where do black-jawed hummingbirds live in Canada?
The northernmost range of the black-jawed hummingbird extends to a small area in southern British Columbia, where they breed in low-elevation waterside meadows, orchards, and woodlands.
Male black-jawed hummingbirds arrive at their Canadian breeding grounds in mid-to-late May, and females arrive a week or two later.
Their stay in Canada is short, with the earliest males leaving the breeding grounds from mid to late June. The first adult females and immature birds begin their southward migration in July, and by mid-August, most will continue their migration.
Black-jawed hummingbirds live and breed in a wide range of habitats, from urban settlements, orchards and meadows, to mountain forests and canyon slopes. In town, they visit backyard nectar feeders, wildflowers, and vines, and can often be seen perching on the upper branches of tall trees.
Although black-jawed hummingbirds tend to live where they have easy access to water, they are also common inhabitants of desert landscapes and jungle scrub, especially in the Southwest.
In winter, most black-jawed hummingbirds fly as far south as Mexico, where they temporarily make their homes in tropical forests with either thorny vegetation or dense vines, cacti, flowering trees, and thick bushes.
Immature black-jawed hummingbird feeding on the nectar of a red flower, Texas
positioning and movement
How rare is it to see a black-jawed hummingbird?
Because of their ability to thrive in such a diverse range of habitats, black-jawed hummingbirds are considered so numerous and widespread that they are rarely seen by anyone in their range.
Where is the best place to see black-jawed hummingbirds?
The black-jawed hummingbird is widespread in the southwestern states of the United States and is a common visitor to gardens with flowering shrubs and nectar hunters. Breeding sites are concentrated in New Mexico and Arizona, with reports showing nests separated by 100 m (330 ft) in some areas.
Male and female black-jawed hummingbird pair inspecting a flower
When do black-jawed hummingbirds come out?
Black-jawed hummingbirds are diurnal birds, which means they are active during the day, foraging for nectar from flowers.
The first black-jawed hummingbirds to reach US breeding grounds were nesting birds in California and Texas, with early sightings occurring in late February and mid-March, respectively.
Further north, on higher ground, the females do not reach the northernmost parts of the species’ range in Canada until later in the year, until late May or even early June.
Do black-jawed hummingbirds stay in one place?
The black-jawed hummingbird is a migratory species that breeds in western and central North America, as far north as the southernmost tip of British Columbia. Their fall migration destinations are central and northern Mexico, as well as southern California and coastal areas of Arizona and Texas.
Closeup of a black-jawed hummingbird in flight, looking for nectar in a garden
Where do black-jawed hummingbirds live in winter?
At the end of their relatively short breeding season, black-jawed hummingbirds migrate south for the winter. Wintering destinations include southern California and southern Arizona, southern Texas along the Gulf Coast, and northern and central Mexico.
Typical habitats for these wintering grounds include tropical deciduous woodlands and large evergreen forests alongside streams, with thorny shrubs and abundant flowering plants.
How do black-jawed hummingbirds survive the winter?
The breeding grounds used by black-jawed hummingbirds will not be able to sustain these nectar-seeking chicks through the winter. The combination of harsh temperatures and lack of flowering plants forced them to move south in search of warmer climates and feeding grounds.
Black-jawed hummingbird is a migratory species of hummingbird
Where do black-jawed hummingbirds live in the summer?
Black-jawed hummingbirds travel to northern breeding grounds in spring, where they establish territories close to water and food sources, such as nectar-rich flowering plants, backyard hummingbird feeders, and nearby tall trees with abundant insect life. They breed in the western United States and as far north as the southernmost tip of British Columbia.
Do black-jawed hummingbirds live in groups?
In general, hummingbirds are very unsocial and solitary birds, so you won’t see a flock of black-jawed hummingbirds living or roosting together.
They may simply tolerate the presence of other birds at feeders or in natural floral meadows, but they will not choose to feed together if they can avoid it.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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