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Someone sent me a link to an Allen's hummingbird and I was surprised that it looks just like the Rufous. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I read somewhere that it is not easy to tell them apart. Has anyone seen an Allen's come this way?

According to my reference book:Hummingbirds of N. America, the Allen's has a very restricted range and breeds from s. California to s. Oregon. A sighting locally would be a rarity.
The only definite way you can tell that it is a Allen's is to look at their R2 tail feathers when they fan out according to the online posting. The differences are too subtle. So we would always thought they are Rufous in this area.

Allen's Gallery ... 212716713/

Rufous Gallery ... 212680501/
In the females and juveniles it is almost impossible but since most rufous males do not have entirely green backs and have rufous ones (some rufous do have some green on their upper backs but you will spot entire rufous feathers ). That is a great distinguishing feature to tell the difference between male Allen's and Rufous.

Here is a good photo diagram and explanation from Princeton:

Rufous ... ufous.html

Allen's ... allen.html

Also in the field the Allen's and Rufous males can be told apart by their aerial acrobatic displays. The Allen's goes back and forth and then goes up slowly and then drops down in a huge J curved dive.

Here's my "Allen's" hummingbird from November 2007 in San Blas Mexico.
i didn't get a shot of the backside but decided back then that it was an Allen's due to time of year and location.
These days it would take better shots than this for me to positively ID a bird (and post) of course (and one day i do plan to nail this species down a bit better) but back then, it just seemed right for species and no one ever told us likewise. :)
I know it's frowned upon to dig up a dead topic, but I had to mention that Seattle has one record of an Allen's Hummingbird, a male collected in 1894! To this day, it remains the only state record. But with stragglers reaching the East coast, who's to say that one won't wander straight up north again? :D
For the 4th year now, a hummingbird has set up house in the back garden. I've come to believe that he is not a Rufous, but an Allen's. The back and head are green (not a 100% accurate way to tell), the outer tail feathers are narrow and the courtship flight has a J arc. The last two characteristics are of the Allen's. He also sounds like a helicopter in flight -- high pitched, loud and mechanical sounding.

What I don't have is a high-speed camera that can catch the wing feathers outspread to observe the R2 tail feathers as either notched (Rufous) or not (Allen's).

He visits both of the feeders in the back garden a few times per day. In the past, he has stayed from early April to mid-June. This year I was delighted to be outside on March 25th in the afternoon when he arrived and drank insatiably from the feeders.

I would be happy if someone might want to come and take a look and a good photo or two. I've searched through myriad references, among them, this one for comparison with the Rufous: https://fieldguidetohummingbirds.wordpr ... vs-allens/
If you're going to offer people a visit you should also give an idea of your location. Like in the Sigfile.

I too doubt that I shall ever be able to see the relevant tail feathers for ID purposes. I understand that the Allen's is more aggressive and often chases away Rufous where their ranges overlap.

I met a person who lives on the beach in Oregon near Haystack Rock and he earnestly believes that the Hummer that hangs around his feeders is an Allen's. I have also read that if you encounter a Rufous-like Hummer by a beach in California, it is likely an Allen's. I recall one such encounter, but gave up trying to photograph the bird as it flitted around.

There are many greenish Rufous in the Lower Mainland. Here's one with some green on its back. I think I have photos males with solid green backs.


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