Name root – Selaphorus, selas meaning “light” and phorus meaning “carrying”; platy meaning “broad” and cercus (kerkos) meaning “tail”.
Distribution – Breeds in montane habitats from central Idaho, southwestern Montana and western Wyoming south through the Rocky Mountain States west to California and east to west Texas; and to Mexico where it is confined to the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Sierra Madre Oriental and other major mountain ranges in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, east to Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, and south to Guanajuato, Mexico, Distrito Federal and Hidalgo. Isolated resident population in southeastern Chipas and Guatemala. Winters from northern Mexico south through the rest of the described range.
Texas – Locally common nesting species in the Chisos, Davis and Guadalupe mountains of west Texas confined to the pinyon-juniper and pine-oak habitat zones at the higher elevations. One isolated nesting record reported from the Hill Country; nest photographed in Sabinal Canyon, Bandera County on 15 May 1960 by C. R. Bender, et al. During migration has occurred at many locations in the western one-third of the State east to the Hill Country. Far more common in fall migration and at times, the most abundant hummingbird species in the mountains of the Trans-Pecos region. Spring birds can arrived in late February and fall birds stay to late November. Has lingered through early winter in the Davis Mountains since 2005; most other winter records confined to the Gulf Coast region but can occur in other parts of the State. First Texas record; 3 May 1935 near Laguna Meadow of the Chisos Mountains, Brewster County by G. M. Sutton (earlier record?).
Habitat – Pinyon-juniper and pine-oak woodlands and associated meadows.