White-eared Hummingbird

Hylocharis leucotis

Name root – Hylocharis, hylo (hyle) meaning “wood” and charis meaning “beauty”; leuco meaning “white” and otis (otos) meaning “ear”.

Distribution– Resident in northern portions of the Sierra Madre Occidental from southern Arizona and northern Mexico southeast to Tamaulipas, south to north-central Central America to Honduras and north-central Nicaragua.  Most bird withdraw from extreme northern portions of the range in winter.

Texas – Rare to uncommon visitor to the Trans-Pecos, primarily in the Davis Mountains where the first record of more than one individual (three) was obtained in June 1993.  Only three records outside of this west Texas region, Starr County from 14-16 July 1990, Gillespie County from 31 July to 4 August 2000, and more recently in Live Oak County, an adult male on 1 February 2012 (pending acceptance by the Texas Bird Records Committee).   Multiple individuals have been observed annually since 2002 in upper Limpia Canyon in the Davis Mountains, with an unprecedented 15-20 individuals in 2007.  These birds typically arrive in April and leave in September.  Suspicion of nesting finally confirmed in 2009 when a gravid female was captured and banded on 29 May and recently fledged juvenile males were also captured and banded on 9 August and 8 September.  First Texas record; 7 July 1937, near Laguna Meadow in the Chisos Mountains, Brewster County, by T. F. Smith.

Habitat – Pine-oak forests.

Subadult (SY) male White-eared Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains, 15 July 2007

Adult (ASY) male White-eared Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains, 26 June 2009

Another view of the above bird showing the crown, chin and gorget colors

Adult female White-eared Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains, 20 June 1993

Adult female White-eared Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains, 28 August 2007

Another view of the above female White-eared Hummingbird

Subadult (SY) female White-eared Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains, 20 June 1993

Another view of the above bird

Recently fledged juvenile male White-eared Hummingbird from the Davis Mountains, 9 August 2009

View of the head and throat of the above bird

Subadult (SY) male White-eared Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains on July 27, 2010