2023—Wonderfully Magnificent

The first time I saw a Rivoli’s Hummingbird was in 2017 in Madera Canyon. He was still known as the Magnificent Hummingbird then and we dubbed him Mr. Wonderful. His common name did change to Rivoli’s that year. When I saw him again last week, he was still wonderfully magnificent. His teal gorget and violet head help him stand out from the other hummers and since he is nearly double the size of other hummers, and along with the loud hum of his wings, he is hard to miss. He is the second largest hummingbird in North America, only a fraction of an inch smaller than the Blue-throated Mountain Gem. We got to wondering about his name change from Magnificent to Rivoli’s and learned that he was originally called the Rivoli’s, named after the Duke of Rivoli who was also an amateur ornithologist in the early 1800’s. The bird was known as the Rivoli’s from 1829 through the 1980’s when it was renamed ‘Magnificent.’  In 2017, the Magnificent Hummingbird was split into two species and the bird that is seen in Arizona returned to its original name, the Rivoli’s Hummingbird. Its scienfic name is perhaps more descriptive of this elegant species: Eugenes (meaning high born) fulgens (meaning glittering), a perfect descriptor. FYI, if you read my post yesterday about the optical illusion I created in my brain watching tiny hummingbirds through a telephoto lens, you might be wondering how a bird that is almost double the size of the Broad-billed Hummingbird I posted yesterday, doesn’t fill the frame as much as the smaller bird. The answer is easy. I was about twice the distance from the Rivoli’s when I took this photograph. Much of the time when I tried to photograph the Rivoli’s at a closer feeder, he was much too close and I cut off tails or wings in the images.