Selasphorus is a genus of hummingbirds from Middle and North America.

Selasphorus platycercus1.jpg
Female broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) at nest
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Tribe: Mellisugini
Genus: Selasphorus
Swainson, 1832
Type species
Trochilus rufus
Gmelin, 1788

See text

Basic DescriptionEdit

One of the feistiest hummingbird in North America. The brilliant orange male and the green-and-orange female Hummingbird are relentless attackers at flowers and feeders, going after (if not always defeating) even the large hummingbirds of the Southwest, which can be double their weight. Hummingbirds are wide-ranging, and breed farther north than any other hummingbird. Look for them in spring in California, summer in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and fall in the Rocky Mountains as they make their annual circuit of the West.[1]


The genus Selasphorus was introduced in 1832 by the English naturalist William John Swainson to accommodate the rufous hummingbird which is now the type species.[2][3] The name combines the Ancient Greek selas meaning "light" or "flame" with -phoros meaning "-carrying".[4]

The genus contains the following nine species:[5]

The wine-throated hummingbird and the bumblebee hummingbird were formerly placed in the genus Atthis. Molecular phylogenetic studies published in 2014 and 2017 found that Atthis was embedded within Selasphorus. The genera were therefore merged and these hummingbirds were moved to Selasphorus.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ Selasphorus Hummingbird description.
  2. ^ Swainson, William John; Richardson, J. (1831). Fauna boreali-americana, or, The zoology of the northern parts of British America. Part 2. The Birds. London: J. Murray. p. 324. The title page bears the year 1831 but the volume did not appear until 1832.
  3. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1945). Check-List of Birds of the World. Volume 5. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 141. |volume= has extra text (help)
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 352. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  5. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2020). "Hummingbirds". IOC World Bird List Version 10.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  6. ^ McGuire, J.; Witt, C.; Remsen, J.V.; Corl, A.; Rabosky, D.; Altshuler, D.; Dudley, R. (2014). "Molecular phylogenetics and the diversification of hummingbirds". Current Biology. 24 (8): 910–916. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.016.
  7. ^ Licona-Vera, Yuyini; Ornelas, Juan Francisco (2017). "The conquering of North America: dated phylogenetic and biogeographic inference of migratory behavior in bee hummingbirds". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 17 (1): 126. doi:10.1186/s12862-017-0980-5.

External linksEdit