2021—¡Colibrí magnífico!

¡Colibrí magnífico! That’s Spanish for Rivoli’s Hummingbird which at one time was called the Magnificent Hummingbird in English. And, it is indeed a magnificent hummingbird. For the past five years, including this past week, I have had the opportunity to photograph several different species of migrating hummingbirds at Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon, Arizona which sits in the midst of Coronado National Forest, just north of the Mexican border. The hummingbird that quickly gets anyone’s attention there is the Rivoli’s Hummingbird. The reason? It is one of the largest hummingbirds in North American, and at more than five inches, it dwarfs all the other hummers in Madera Canyon except the Blue-throated Hummingbird. Identifying a male is easy by its purple crown and brilliant emerald gorget. The humming of its wingbeats sounds like a small motorboat and it resonates wherever this huge hummer is flying so it is obvious when he is nearby. Despite its size, it seems to be easily intimidated by the smaller hummers and when they’re being their feisty, belligerent selves, the big hummer flies off instead of skirmishing with its smaller counterparts. In past years we dubbed this hummer Mr. Wonderful because he was such a beautiful bird. This year, he occasionally cooperated so we were able to capture a few portraits of him on the wing.