broad-tailed hummingbird
Hummingbirds, like this one that is feeding from a non-native milkweed growing along the Rio Grande, are common in the park.

NPS Photo by Sally King

Hummingbirds are bright, tiny birds that fly like acrobats through the sky, darting from flower to flower, hovering as their long tongues dart deep into blossoms to collect the sweet nectar. Four species of hummingbirds can be found in Bandelier, two are common all summer long (Black-chinned and Broad-tailed) while one is most often seen late in the summer during migration (Rufous) and the other is spotted only sporadically (Calliope). Although nectar is an important food source for hummingbirds especially during and just before migration, insects are an equally significant dietary requirement.

black-chinned hummingbird
In the summer of 2006, a Black-chinned Hummingbird built her nest right next to the Falls Trail.

NPS Photo by Sally King

Both Broad-tailed and Black-chinned hummingbirds build nests and raise their chicks in the park. A nest built of pieces of plant, lichens, and moss is held together by spider webs collected by the mother bird. Among hummingbirds, raising children is a "women only" job. Hummingbird dads don't participate in childrearing.

Hummingbirds usually lay two tiny white eggs. The female hummingbird incubates her eggs for approximately 15 days. As the twin hatchlings grow, the tiny nest expands to meet their needs. Mom returns frequently with food, partially digested insects, for her young brood.

Black-chinned hummingbird family
She was an excellent mother and brought food to her growing twins on a regular basis.

NPS Photo by Sally King

hummingbird babies
Although infant mortality rates are high among young birds still in the nest, this mom successfully raised these young bird to fledging.

NPS Photo by Sally King

Last updated: May 15, 2024

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Road

Los Alamos, NM 87544


505 672-3861 x0

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