Beak of the Week: The Rust-Colored Rufous Hummingbird


The Chronicle’s beak of the week for June 8 is the Rufous hummingbird. The rust-colored Rufous is a migratory bird, traveling to warmer weather in the winter. In the late spring, the buzzing bird arrives in Washington with the males sporting a striking red plumage marked by a metallic, glimmering neck. In the right light, their necks are a beautiful ruby red.

Despite their small size, hummingbirds are identifiable by their buzzing from a ways away. If you hear them in your yard, be pleased to know they’re helping you garden by pollinating flowers.

Hummingbirds make for lovely backyard feeder visitors, but the red dye in some store-bought nectar is unhealthy for these tiny flying fellows. Save money and the birds by creating nectar at home with a mix of one part processed white sugar to four parts water, per the Portland Audubon Society. 

According to the National Park Service, hummingbirds’ hearts can beat up to around 1,000 times a minute. 


Want to recommend a bird to be featured as the Beak of the Week? Send a photo or information to Chronicle Assistant Editor Isabel Vander Stoep at or email