Close-up of a Wine-Throated Hummingbird sitting on a branch, its radiant colors complemented by the surrounding greenery

The Enchanting Miniature: Decoding the Mysteries of the Wine-Throated Hummingbird

Wine-throated Hummingbird Identification Guide

Nestled within Central America’s vibrant, foliage-rich forests, a minuscule winged wonder captures the hearts and minds of both avid birdwatchers and scientific researchers. We are introducing the Wine-Throated Hummingbird (Selasphorus ellioti), the tiniest avian species in the region. This feather-light marvel is a living tribute to the incredible intricacies of bird evolution and ecology. Journey with us as we delve into the captivating existence of this awe-inspiring bird.

Physical Traits

Dimensions and Mass

The Wine-Throated Hummingbird epitomizes the art of being small. Fully-grown males usually span a length of 6.5 to 7.5 cm and tip the scales at a mere 2.3 to 3.5 grams. Their minuscule stature ranks them among the world’s tiniest birds, not just those in Central America.


The bird’s moniker is a nod to its stunning feather coloration. Males boast a radiant, wine-hued throat strikingly contrasting with their jade-green dorsal side and alabaster belly. This vibrant color palette serves dual purposes: it aids in camouflage and plays a pivotal role in mate attraction.

Natural Habitat and Range

The Wine-Throated Hummingbird calls the mountainous terrains of Guatemala and Honduras its home, although its territory also stretches into parts of Mexico and El Salvador. These birds favor altitudes ranging from 900 to 2,500 meters, where they can readily find their preferred nourishment of nectar and insects.

A serene moment captured as a Wine-Throated Hummingbird takes a brief pause on a branch amidst a sea of green leaves.

Nutritional Habits and Foraging Patterns

Nectar and Beyond

Floral nectar is the primary fuel for these agile fliers, which they extract using their uniquely designed bills and straw-like tongues. In addition, they supplement their diet with insects and spiders, sources of vital proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Metabolic Demands

Due to their sky-high metabolic rates—some of the most elevated among vertebrates—Wine-throated hummingbirds must ingest nearly half their body weight in nectar daily. This necessitates frequent and extensive foraging expeditions, remarkable given their small size.

Reproductive Behavior and Nest Construction

Breeding for these hummingbirds generally takes place from March to June. The female takes on the roles of nest-building, egg incubation, and chick-rearing. The nests are ingeniously crafted from plant fibers and spider silk, offering both durability and flexibility.

A Wine-Throated Hummingbird perched gracefully on a tree branch, framed by lush green leaves

Conservation Outlook

Although not officially categorized as endangered, the Wine-Throated Hummingbird is increasingly vulnerable due to habitat degradation from deforestation and climate shifts. Active conservation initiatives are in progress to safeguard their natural environments and ensure the species’ long-term viability.

Conclusion of the Wine-throated Hummingbird Identification Guide

The Wine-Throated Hummingbird is a living gem in the lush forests of Central America. This petite powerhouse redefines our perceptions of avian life. Its distinct attributes and habits make it an ongoing subject of scientific inquiry and a must-see for birdwatching enthusiasts. As we persist in our study of this enthralling species, it stands as a touching testament to our planet’s fragile yet intricate web of life.

So, if you ever find yourself traversing the elevated terrains of Central America, be on the lookout for a fleeting glimmer of wine and jade. You may just be fortunate enough to encounter the extraordinary existence of Central America’s smallest bird—the Wine-Throated Hummingbird.