Anna’s Hummingbirds Close Up

by Larry Jordan on April 12, 2011

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) Male photos by Larry Jordan

Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) are the only U.S. hummingbird with a rose red crown (in the right light).  They are nesting somewhere near my house.  I know this because the females have been coming to gather nesting material recently and, as you will see at the end of this post, I’ve spotted females with brood patches.

Here is the male Anna’s Hummingbird showing his bright red gorget as he surveys the yard.

I wanted to capture some in-flight photos of these jewels of the sky while the sun was out to get the full impact of their beautiful colors.

These photos were taken in morning light with my 70 – 300mm zoom lens using a high ISO setting to get the shutter speed I wanted (click on photos for full sized images).

I really enjoy watching these quick, aggressive little birds go through their maneuvers to gain a seat at the feeders. Notice that the bright colors of the male’s crown and gorget feathers look dark when not reflecting the sunlight.

The female Anna’s Hummingbird has a less obvious, patchy red throat that can be seen when facing into the sunlight.

Their colors aren’t quite as bright as the male’s

and the males generally leave them alone at the feeders. After all, they are the ones doing all the work. The female of the species builds the nest, incubates the eggs and broods and feeds the young after they hatch. Copulation is the only time male and female Anna’s Hummingbirds are together, after that, she’s on her own.

In the photo above you can see a large bare patch of skin on this female’s breast where she incubates the eggs. According to Birds of North America Online, this patch of bare skin is not vascularized like a typical brood patch.

This little ball of fire doesn’t take guff from anyone!

To see more great bird photos, check out World Bird Wednesday!  And if you hurry, you can get your link submitted to Ambika over at Madras Ramblings for the next rendition of I And The Bird on Thursday!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Amila April 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm

They are real wonders! Great photos Larry,the BIF moments perfectly frozen!


Eileen April 13, 2011 at 12:59 am

Gorgeous shots of the hummer, larry! The colors on it are stunning.


holdingmoments April 13, 2011 at 1:57 am

Stunning colours on these little birds. Like flying jewels.


Kelly April 13, 2011 at 6:29 am

…wow! Fantastic series! The detailing is wonderful. I would never get any work done at home if I had these little gems flitting around all over the place… 🙂


Pat April 13, 2011 at 6:39 am

Great series of lovely shots and interesting info!


theconstantwalker April 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Beautiful little birds to see. Lovely images.


springman April 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Superb images. The fourth shot with the tail fanned out just knocks me out! I appreciate the ISO hint for getting a quick shutter speed though I don’t like going much above 400 just because the crops get grainy. I wonder, at what speed will the HB’s wings freeze?
Thanks for sharing your fine catches, you show the masters touch!


Dawn Fine April 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Awesome shots! What beauties!


Larry April 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

@Amila thank you. They are very special little jewels

@Eileen their colors are absolutely amazing!

@Keith that is what I call them too, jewels of the sky

@Kelly it does get in the way of yard work. I spent, probably over an hour taking pictures of these beauties but hey, if you have nature around you, you must take time to enjoy it right?

@Pat thanks a bunch!

@Andrew thank you very much

@Dave thanks. I don’t like turning up the ISO either but I really wanted to try to freeze their wings. Most of these are 1/1000 of a second and you can see that they still show motion. According to a book I have on “Hummingbirds of North America” by Dan True, you need 1/30,000 of a second to stop a hummingbird’s wings, therefore you would have to use a flash setup

@Dawn thank you for stopping by with a comment!


Mike B. April 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Great shots, Larry. We have Anna’s everywhere, and one has lived in mine and my neighbor’s yard for the past few years. Great post about the colors. When they turn their head and the sun is just right, the red color is intense.


Frank April 14, 2011 at 2:17 am

Masterful flight shots Larry bearing in mind how fast they ‘buzz’ around. I definitely wouldn’t get any birding done if these little beauties were nesting in the garden.


Kyle April 14, 2011 at 4:10 am

Gorgeous series of shots, Larry! You really got some great detail on these, not to mention that dazzling array of colors that the Anna’s wears. Nice job!


joco April 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

Wondrous shots of this little gem of a bird.
First time I saw a hummer, when living in the US, I thought it was a giant insect. (everything being so huge in the States, from dinner plates to icecreams) and I was rather scared of it until I realized it was not a very large insect but a very small bird.
How did you manage to get such a soothing green background?


Inger-M April 16, 2011 at 3:52 am

These photos are real gems!
Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog!:-)


phyllis oller April 16, 2011 at 4:52 am

Beautiful little hummingbird,you caught the beautiful colors so well.We don`t have these birds here.Our ruby throated hummers should be flying in in a week or so,phyllis


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