The Hummingbird Identification Database
- Enter the observed anatomy colour in the first three required field boxes above—chose from the drop down list that appears in each box after typing the third letter.
- Enter an optional tail colour and/or territory of interest to further narrow the search.
- If no entry is to be made to the optional fields, i.e., the tail colour or territory, delete any previous entry in those fields.
- Click the 'Submit Query' button.
- Click on 'Specie Details' hyperlink from a selected query result for detailed species description.
Note: Entering only primary—red, yellow, and blue—or secondary colours—green, orange and purple—will return a larger set of possible candidate hummers. Choosing tertiary and other higher order composite colours, as observed and suggested by the drop down list, narrows, significantly, the return hummingbird set. In some cases the colour black may be replaced by the term dark, especially when referring to the tail colour.
Example: the male white-chested emerald has a white throat, white chest, bright golden green back and reddish copper tail. In the query form fields enter white, white, green (bright golden green) and optionally red (reddish copper) for the throat, chest, back and tail respectively for a query.
Discussion: This hummingbird identification application uses a minimum three anatomical colour points, the throat, chest, back and optionally the tail, to assist the birdwatcher in identifying an observed species of hummingbird in the wild. The points have the advantage of being easily observed when the hummingbird is flying or perched. Visit the Hummingbird webpage for the means of identifying hummingbirds amongst bird species. Note, the hummingbird colours in the wild may appear dim, black, or dark depending on the light conditions and angle of view. For instance, a dark blue tail may appear black or a normally colourful gorget dark or black. So, now and then some persevering observation may be necessary.
When choosing the anatomy point colours in the colour swatches in the carousel, also above, can be used as aids. Hint, again, begin by entering the simple colours, e.g., red, brown, black or green, and choose from the suggested derivative forms, if any. After typing the third letter in a form field a lookup table is provided to assist in completing the entry. Click on one of the suggested colours or type one of the suggestions in the field to complete the query field.
The database query responds with a list of qualifying species with their common name, scientific name, "Details Page" link and a small image, if available. The query distinguishes male, female and immature of the species where there is a difference. In the case there is no match the query response is "no hummingbird matches the colour selection". If no match is made when querying including the optional field entry, i.e., the tail, try querying using the required fields only, i.e., throat, chest and back, before concluding definitively that there is no matching entry. The "Details Page" gives a comprehensive description of the species including general description, habitat, behaviour, territories, clade description, audio, image or video, where available.
Presently, the database is limited to all the hummingbirds of two islands of the Greater Antilles, i.e., Cuba and Jamaica, the Windward Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago, totaling 32 species; 22 of these species are also present in South America (the Guianas, Venezuela and Colombia), Central America and the Caribbean Archipelago (Lesser Antilles, Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico). There is an ongoing project to include all the hummingbirds, in the database, from the political territories of the Caribbean, i.e., all the islands of the Greater Antilles, the Leeward Islands, northern South America, Central America, and North America, i.e., Florida and the other Gulf States.