Molting Male Rufous Hummingbirds
location - near Houston, Texas
In mid-December, 2002, I had a very scruffy immature Rufous Hummingbird spend a few weeks in my yard, during the 02-03 winter season.  He looked as though he had an injury or deformity in the gorget area, as can be seen in the 3 photos on the left, below (taken with an Olympus C700UZ).  However, it is more likely that he is undergoing a molt and the new gorget feathers have not yet grown in.

Then in mid-February 2004, I noticed a mature male Rufous which also had a scruffy looking gorget and similar fluffy feathers on the upper breast.  I thought that it might be the same bird, but neither of the birds were banded so it is impossible to speculate, without the important documentation provided on recapturing a bird.  February is the right time of year for wintering Rufouses to undergo a molt, before they return to their summer breeding grounds in the northwest states of the USA and western Canada.   
Photos on the right, were taken on Feb 11th, 2004, with a Canon 300D (EOS Digital Rebel).  For more photos of a male Rufous in molt, click here and scroll down almost to the end.
Photos on the left taken Dec. 02                                               Photos on the right taken Feb. 04  
© 2004 Helen Baines
Hummingbird Homepage                    Helensbirds Home

This page was last updated on: June 10, 2006