Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Broad-billed Hummingbirds


Broad-billed Hummingbirds aka Circe Hummingbirds (Cynanthus latirostris)

Hummingbird Information


Broad-billed Hummingbird male, Madera Canyon, Arizona


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris - Male

The Broad-billed Hummingbirds (Cynanthus latirostris) – also known as Circe Hummingbird – is a medium-sized, strikingly colorful hummingbird.


Alternate (Global) Names

Spanish: Colibrí de Pico Ancho, Colibrí Pico Ancho, Colibri Piquiancho, Colibrí Piquiancho … French: Colibri à bec rouge, Colibri à large bec, Colibri circé … Italian: Colibrì beccolargo … German: Blaukehl-Breitschnabelkolibri, Breitschnabelkolibri … Czech: kolib?ík širokozobý, Kolibrík šírozobý … Danish: Mexicansk Brednæbskolibri … Finnish: Leveänokkakolibri … Japanese: akahashihachidori … Latin: Cyananthus latirostris, Cyanthus latirostris, Cynanthus latirostris, Cynanthus latirostris latirostris, Iache latirostris … Dutch: Breedsnavelkolibrie … Norwegian: Brednebbkolibri … Polish: plasnik pólnocny, pl??nik pó?nocny … Russian: ???????????? ???????-????????, ???????????? ???????? … Slovak: kolibrík širokozobý … Swedish: Brednäbbad kolibri


Distribution / Range

It is native to western Mexico and southwestern United States (California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico – as well as eastern US states, specifically Connecticut, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida). A few travel north through Idaho and Illinois, and as far north as Canada.


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostrisSubspecies and Distribution

  • Broad-billed Hummingbirds (Cynanthus latirostris latirostris, Swainson, 1827) — Nominate Race
      • Found in San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas to northern Veracruz (east-central Mexico)


    • .Cynanthus latirostris magicus (Mulsant and J. Verreaux, 1872)
      • Found in southern California, southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico (southwestern USA) south to Nayarit (central western Mexico).

      Cynanthus latirostris lawrencei (Berlepsch, 1887)

      • Found on the island of Tres Marías (off west coast of Mexico).

      Cynanthus latirostris doubledayi (Bourcier, 1847)

      • Found in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas (southern Mexico).

      Cynanthus latirostris propinquus (R. T. Moore, 1939)

      • Found in Guanajuato to Michoacan (C Mexico).

      [Cynanthus latirostris toroi] (Berlioz, 1937) – proposed race toroi based on specimens from zone of intergradation between propinquus and doubledayi


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris


This medium-sized hummingbird is 9 – 10 cm (3.5 – 3.9 inches) long and weighs approximately 3 – 4 grams (0.10 – 0.14 oz).

The male is glossy green above and on the chest. He has a deep blue throat. His straight and slender beak is red with a black tip. His slightly forked tail is dark above, and the under tail feathers are white.

The female is less colorful than the male. She usually has a white stripe over each eye.

Similar species: The Broad-billed is sometimes confused with the adult Buff-bellied Hummingbird – mainly because both have a reddish-orange beak. However, the Broad-billed occurs in western United States, while the Buff-bellied‘s natural range is along the Gulf Coast, from south Texas to the Yucatan.


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris,

Distribution / Range

The Broad-billed Hummingbirds breed in the southwestern United States (California, Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico) down south to southwestern Mexico.

They may occasionally travel east to Texas and Louisiana.

Those occurring in the northernmost areas of their range are migratory, heading south for the winter.

Those occurring in Mexico are, on the other hand, mostly resident – remaining in their breeding range year-round.


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris - sitting on hand

Nesting / Breeding

Hummingbirds are solitary in all aspects of life other than breeding; and the male’s only involvement in the reproductive process is the actual mating with the female. They neither live nor migrate in flocks; and there is no pair bond for this species. Males court females by flying in a u-shaped pattern in front of them. He will separate from the female immediately after copulation. One male may mate with several females. In all likelihood, the female will also mate with several males. The males do not participate in choosing the nest location, building the nest or raising the chicks.

The female Broad-billed builds the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a shrub, bush or tree. The nest is lined with soft plant fibers, animal hair and feather down, and the structure is strengthened with spider webbing and other sticky material, giving it an elastic quality to allow it to stretch to double its size as the chicks grow and need more room. The nest is typically found on a low, thin horizontal branch.

Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris

The average clutch consists of two white eggs, which she incubates alone, while the male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. The young are born blind, immobile and without any down.

The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food (mostly partially-digested insects since nectar is an insufficient source of protein for the growing chicks). The female pushes the food down the chicks’ throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs.

As is the case with other hummingbird species, the chicks are brooded only the first week or two, and left alone even on cooler nights after about 12 days – probably due to the small nest size. The chicks leave the nest when they are about 7 – 10 days old.

Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris


Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris

Diet / Feeding

The Broad-billed Hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes. They favor flowers with the highest sugar content (often red-colored and tubular-shaped) and seek out, and aggressively protect, those areas containing flowers with high energy nectar.They use their long, extendible, straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering with their tails cocked upward as they are licking at the nectar up to 13 times per second. Sometimes they may be seen hanging on the flower while feeding.

Many native and cultivated plants on whose flowers these birds feed heavily rely on them for pollination. The mostly tubular-shaped flowers actually exclude most bees and butterflies from feeding on them and, subsequently, from pollinating the plants.

During those times when flowering plants are not readily available, they may take drink the tree sap from holes created by sapsuckers, as a substitute for nectar. They may also frequent local hummingbird feeders for some sugar water, or drink out of bird baths or water fountains where they will either hover and sip water as it runs over the edge; or they will perch on the edge and drink – like all the other birds; however, they only remain still for a short moment.

Hummingbirds also eat some small spiders and insects – important sources of protein particularly needed during the breeding season to ensure the proper development of their young. These insects are often caught in flight (hawking); snatched off leaves or branches, or are taken from spider webs. A nesting female can capture up to 2,000 insects a day.

Males establish feeding territories, where they aggressively chase away other males as well as large insects – such as bumblebees and hawk moths – that want to feed in their territory. They use aerial flights and intimidating displays to defend their territories.


Metabolism and Survival and Flight Adaptions – Amazing Facts

Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.

Please Note: The images on this page are the sole property of the photographers (unless they are marked as Public Domain images). Please contact the photographers directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.




Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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