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Hybrid Hummingbird in Idaho City!

Today was quite the exciting day at our hummingbird banding event in Idaho City!

It was starting to warm up and capture rate was slowing down when a volunteer brought a hummingbird over to the banding table and said that Gary (one of our skilled trappers) wanted us to take a look at it. Liz peered at the bird though the bag and we could hear the excitement in her voice. Soon everyone was gathered around to take a look at the adult male hummingbird buzzing around in the bag. What had Gary caught?

We first noticed the throat. It had somewhat pointed feathers like a Calliope but wasn’t streaked. The color was an unusual magenta, somewhere in between pink and purple. And unlike a Black-chinned it had iridescence covering most of the throat.

As we continued to look at the bird we noticed more and more unusual features. It had a mix of gray and buffy on the sides, its tail had some hints of rufous in it, and it’s wing feathers looked like a Black-chinned (for hummingbird nerds: it also had unequal primary widths like a Black-chin, and the central tail feathers were mostly rounded but with a hint of ‘spatulate’ shaping). It’s wing length was small like a Calliope, but it’s bill was long like a Black-chinned.

After lots of examination and measurements, we decided we must have a Hybrid Black-chinned x Calliope on our hands! Interestingly, after a quick google search it appears that a very similar bird was captured and photographed in Garden Valley, ID in 2008: Link here.

We were very lucky to have a bunch of photographers on hand to document this rarity! Check back on this post later as we will continue to add photos from other folks who were there.

The stunning hybrid BCHU x CAHU.  Photo by Dale Toweill

The stunning hybrid BCHU x CAHU.
Photo by Dale Toweill

A wing view of the hybrid BCHU x CAHU.  Photo by Dale Toweill

A wing view of the hybrid BCHU x CAHU.
Photo by Dale Toweill

A regular male Black-chinned, the hybrid, and an adult female Calliope.  Photo by Dale Toweill

A regular male Black-chinned, the hybrid, and an adult female Calliope.
Photo by Dale Toweill

hybrid BCHU x CAHU.  Photo by Dale Toweill

hybrid BCHU x CAHU.
Photo by Dale Toweill

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