19 Xantus's Hummingbird Facts You’ll Never Forget


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Endemic to the southern parts of Baja California, the Xantus's hummingbird or the Basilinna xantusii is known for its limited range of habitat and its beautifully colored plumage.

Everybody loves hummingbirds for their small size and tremendous flying capabilities, but they can be quite difficult to spot. For example, a Xantus's hummingbird picture would reveal that this bird is actually very small and since its plumage has the same earthy tones as its habitat, it can be very hard to spot it in our surroundings.

The plumage of this bird species is a beautiful green, with parts of it colored cinnamon brown. The female bird has a more light cinnamon brown colored body and a lighter throat as well. The male, on the other hand, has a dark colored head. The species is characterized by the white stripe that runs from behind its eye, and the black tip that it has on its reddish brown colored bill.

Keep reading to learn more facts about Xantus's hummingbird!

Xantus's Hummingbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Xantus's hummingbird?

As the name suggests, the Xantus's hummingbird is a bird species that is considered endemic to Baja California. It is also referred to as the white eared hummingbird. It is named after a Hungarian zoologist named John Xantus de Vesey.

What class of animal does a Xantus's hummingbird belong to?

The class of animals that the Xantus's hummingbird belongs to is scientifically named Aves. However, we can just as easily classify them as birds.

How many Xantus's hummingbirds are there in the world?

According to one of the recent studies, the worldwide population of the Xantus's hummingbird is said to be of less than 50,000 individuals.

Where does a Xantus's hummingbird live?

The Xantus's hummingbird (Basilinna xantusii) is known to prefer living near dry shrublands and forests. It likes scrub forests and such range of habitats since they give the species the opportunity to find enough insects and nectar.

What is a Xantus's hummingbird's habitat?

The southern portion of Baja California in Baja peninsula witnesses the largest Xantus's hummingbird population in the world. The range of habitat also extends to North America, Mexico, British Columbia and Canada. It is commonly found near the Pacific coast of North America.

Who do Xantus's hummingbirds live with?

While there is no conclusive evidence regarding the matter, it is unlikely that this resident bird of Baja peninsula would be able to have strong family values or would enjoy living in strong groups. Since these birds are such picky feeders, they tend to become very protective of their feeding areas. The common behavior, in such cases, would include defensiveness when it comes to the limited range of their habitat and protecting these areas from other hummingbirds.

How long does a Xantus's hummingbird live?

While there are no conclusive or accurate figures to show us the life expectancy of the Basilinna (Xantus's hummingbird), the average lifespan of hummingbirds is estimated to remain in the range of three to five years.

How do they reproduce?

These resident birds of Baja California are oviparous animals. This essentially means that males and females of the Basilinna xantusii species reproduce by laying eggs. The average clutch size of the Xantus's hummingbird is around two eggs; however, the numbers may vary across the range.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List confirms that the conservation status of this member of the Trochilidae family is that of Least Concern. This means that the global population of this bird species is stable and that they will continue inhabiting parts of Baja California, Mexico, Canada and North America. They also have stable breeding patterns and the Pacific coast also provides these birds with ample opportunity to lead great lives.

Xantus's Hummingbird Fun Facts

What do Xantus's hummingbirds look like?

This member of the Trochilidae family is characterized by its white eye stripe and green colored body. The Xantus's hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird with a green colored body and reddish brown colored tail. The tail also has some black feathers, which creates a lovely contrast. In addition to this, the male Xantus's hummingbird has a blue-black colored head. Interestingly, males have a darker colored head than females, which makes it easier to distinguish between the two.

The white eye stripe is so prominent and important to this member of the family that it is often referred to as the white-eared hummingbird. The bill is rusty and reddish brown in color. The bill of this bird species also has a black tip. Some body parts are cinnamon brown in color, such as the underparts. The throat is light colored in contrast to the rest of the body.

Xantus's hummingbirds live for three to five years!

How cute are they?

With the white eye stripe, rusty bill, light colored throat, green body, and cinnamon brown underparts, it becomes very hard to overlook just how adorable Xantus's hummingbirds are. The fact that they are endemic to Baja California also makes many bird lovers try their hardest to spot one of these dark-colored hummingbirds of the world.

How do they communicate?

The behavior that this scrub-loving species from Baja California shows is at par with what we expect from the global population of hummingbirds. Since their habitat range is limited, these hummingbirds are very defensive of their feeding areas. In addition to using their high-pitched tones, Xantus's hummingbirds also use other things such as flying speeds and gestures to communicate with other birds.

How big is a Xantus's hummingbird?

This bird species from Baja California is medium sized and stocky. The length range for the Basilinna xantusii (Xantus's hummingbird) is between 3.2-3.5 in (8-9 cm). Understandably, it is not very easy to spot these hummingbirds, even when in North America or Mexico .

How fast can a Xantus's hummingbird fly?

Unfortunately, there is very little evidence of just how fast these nectar-loving hummingbirds can fly with their small bodies.

How much does a Xantus's hummingbird weigh?

Given the average length, it is understandable that the weight of these birds is negligible. The average weight of Xantus's hummingbirds falls in the range of 0.11.-0.14 oz (3-4 g).

What are male and female names of the species?

There are no special names for male and female Xantus's hummingbirds. If you have seen any images of the Xantus's hummingbird, you must have also noticed that apart from the dark colored heads that males of the species have, there is not much difference between the two sexes.

What would you call a baby Xantus's hummingbird?

The baby Xantus's hummingbird, like all other baby birds, would be called a nestling.

What do they eat?

The Basilinna xantusii (Xantus's hummingbird) is a species of nectar feeders. This means that birds of this species feed mostly on plant nectar. However, a large part of their diet is also formed by insects that are available across their natural habitats.

Are they poisonous?

There are no reasons to believe that either the male or female Xantus's hummingbird would be dangerous or poisonous in any way.

Would they make a good pet?

While this species from Baja California does not seem much of a hassle to take care of, it would probably be best to let these hummingbirds be in their natural habitats. To accommodate the Xantus's hummingbird in garden, however, you can set up feeders which contain plant products, nectar, and insects.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

A female Xantus's hummingbird has a lighter colored head.

This bird was named after a Hungarian zoologist. It is endemic to southern Baja California, but is also found along the Pacific coast of North America. The habitat range of the Xantus's hummingbird is limited. It lives in scrub forests.

The Leucistic hummingbird is the rarest hummingbird as only 100 birds of this species have been spotted since 1885.

What's the difference between a Xantus's hummingbird and a bee hummingbird?

A bee hummingbird is much smaller in size, is differently colored and is lighter in terms of weight as well. While the Xantus's hummingbird is endemic to southern Baja California, the bee hummingbird is endemic to the Cuban peninsula. The Xantus's hummingbird is characterized by its brown, black and white colored body, while a bee hummingbird has a blue-gray colored body.

How did the Xantus's hummingbird get its name?

The Xantus's hummingbird gets its name from a Hungarian zoologist named John Xantus de Vesey. Another common binomial name that the Xantus's hummingbird is known by is Hylocharis xantusii.

*We've been unable to source an image of a Xantus's hummingbird and have used an image of a Costa's hummingbird instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Xantus's hummingbird, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]

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