Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Black-chinned Hummingbird - Archilochus alexandri
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General Comments With the advent of hummingbird feeders left up year-round, and not simply taken down in fall when the local Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have departed, a number of different hummingbird species have been detected in the cooler months, particular this species and the Rufous Hummingbird. Because it is very difficult to separate female and immature Black-chinned Hummingbirds from Ruby-throateds, one must study (including photograph and band) the birds in detail, and this opportunity presents itself at feeders. Thankfully, there are several records of adult male Black-chinned Hummingbirds, plus several others of banded and measured immatures/females, to conclusively prove the occurrence of the species. Basically, the species is a very rare late fall and winter visitor, more frequent near the coast. All records have been since 1994, but this is essentially due to the presence of feeders in the cooler months, which were nearly absent in previous decades; it should not be implied that there is a global population increase in the species, which breeds in the western United States and adjacent Mexico, particularly in hotter and drier regions.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Winter visitor, essentially only at feeders in towns. Rare along the southern half of the coast, and very rare along the Outer Banks and other tidewater areas near the northern half of the coast. Casual farther inland, with records only from Goldsboro, Laurinburg, and Whispering Pines. Essentially from early Nov - late Mar, especially from early Dec - late Feb. The first state record was from Figure Eight Island, 4-6 Nov 1994. Peak count: all records of single birds.
Piedmont Winter visitor. Very rare, with at least 12 records -- Charlotte (two records), Gastonia, Bethania (Forsyth), near Greensboro, Orange (two records with one a specimen), Apex (Wake), near Clayton (Johnston), Raleigh (two records), and near Lake Wheeler (Wake). Dates range from 26 Oct to 29 Feb. Peak counts: all records of single birds, and all probably at feeders.
Mountains Accidental. One record: an immature male was seen at Brevard on 14 Dec 2002 [Chat 67:69 link].
Finding Tips One has a fair chance to see the species in a given year, by visiting a feeder with one reported (and preferably already banded for confirmation).
Attribution LeGrand[2022-04-25], LeGrand[2021-05-17], LeGrand[2020-02-08]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.