Lucifer Hummingbird

Calothorax lucifer

Name root – Calothorax, calos meaning “beautiful” and thorax meaning “chest”; lucifer meaning “light bearer”.

Distribution – Breeds from southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico east to western Texas and southeastern Nuevo Leon, then south through the highlands of central Mexico south to Morelos and Puebla.  Withdraws from northern portions of range in winter.

Texas – Uncommon summer resident in the foothills of the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park and adjacent areas, especially the Christmas Mountains and Terlingua Ranch.  Spring birds can arrive in late February and fall birds can linger into November.  Probable isolated breeding populations in other areas of west Texas would include but not be limited to Big Bend Ranch State Park, the Chinati Mountains and the Sierra Vieja in Presidio County, the Davis Mountains in Jeff Davis County and the Glass Mountains in northern Brewster County.  Has been recorded along and adjacent to the lower canyons of the Rio Grande east of Big Bend National Park and more recently along the Pecos River near Sheffield, Pecos County.  First Texas record; 6 June 1901 in Pine Canyon of the Chisos Mountains, Brewster County by H. C. Oberholser.

Habitat – Arid montane scrub and thorn-scrub desert slopes with an abundance of agave, sotol and ocotillo.

Immature male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 20, 2009

Juvenile male (recently fledged) Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 20, 2009

Immature male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas on August 9, 2009

Same bird as above with head turned

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 9, 2009

Same bird as above from behind

Same date and location; another view of this gorgeous male

Immature male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 20, 2009

Immature female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on September 27, 2009

Juvenile female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on September 3, 2009

Juvenile female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on July 17, 2009

Immature male Lucifer Hummingbird at McDonald Observatory, July 1996

Banded adult female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010. She was banded on August 17, 2007 as an adult female making her at least 4 years old.

The same bird as above on the feeder.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird doing a shuttle display to a female. The start of a shuttle display is audible and when I heard this male start the display I just turned and started snapping pictures. The flair of the gorget in this species is similar to other species; however, I am not sure it has ever been photographed.

Adult gravid female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 22, 2010. This bird had 23 well developed gorget feathers, the most ever noted in a female of the species to my knowledge.

Adult female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010

Immature female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

The same bird as above with head turned showing an all dark gorget.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on June 11, 2010.

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains on July 20, 2009 (Maryann Eastman)

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains on October 29, 2009 (Maryann Eastman).

Adult male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 4, 2010.

Another or the same male on August 4, 2010.

Immature male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 4, 2010.

A very pale HY M Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 31, 2010.

HY M Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 31, 2010.

HY M Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 31, 2010.

HY M Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 31, 2010.

Likely the same bird as above.

Immature male Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains feeding on Anisacanthus on August 31, 2010.

Juvenile male Lucifer Hummingbird starring down an out-of-frame rival in the Christmas Mountains on August 4, 2010 (Carolyn Ohl-Johnson).

HY F Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 31, 2010.

Likely the same individual on a different perch.

Adult female Lucifer Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains on August 31, 2010

The same bird stretching........

scratching.......

and fluffing!

The last Lucifer pic from 2010; an immature male in the Christmas Mountains on September 14.