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12.1: Archilochus alexandri: Back Chinned Hummingbird

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Common Name

  • Black Chinned Hummingbird


The black-chinned hummingbird is a green-backed hummingbird of the West, with no brilliant colors on its throat except a thin strip of purple bordering the back of the bird. Some of the black chinned hummingbird family members are the ruby throated hummingbird, Anna’s hummingbird, Costa’s hummingbird, and the broad tailed hummingbird. This hummingbird is found from the desert to the mountains to the forest. The length of this hummingbird is 3.5 in, or 9 cm.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Trochiliformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Genus: Archilochus
  • Species: A. alexandri


The black chinned hummingbird feeds on small insects such as spiders, nectar from different types of flowers, and sugar water from feeders. They are pollinators. They catch insects in the air, and eat them from vegetation or take them from spider webs. This bird is a pollinator for some rare plants: the golden columbine, eastwood and the monkey flower. The black chinned hummingbird nest has been found 6 to 12 feet off the ground. When a nest is newly built, the nest is compact in the shape of a deep cup.


Feathers first evolved for insulation. Some species of hummingbirds, especially with an unusual bill shape such as the sword billed hummingbird and the sickle billed hummingbird, are co-evolved with a small number of flowers species. Scientist believe that birds’ wings have evolved from birds ancestors that have jumped into the air to avoid predators or get their prey. Scientists also believe that birds’ wings may have evolved in a bird ancestor that have lived in trees, and wings were modified arms that helped animals glide from branch to branch. Scientists still don’t know how flight evolved, but scientists still search and study for answers.


The black chinned hummingbird has eukaryotic cells, like all plants and animals. Eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus and organelles. Organelles are like miniature organs in a cell. In the eukaryotic cell, you will find the nucleus, which is an organelle that contains genetic material. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell; they provide lots of energy. The vesicles are like small sacs that transport materials around the cell. Ribosomes are the non-membrane-bound organelles where the proteins are made. The Golgi bodies work like a mail room. The Golgi body receives proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum and transports them in the cell or to the cell membrane. During mitosis the cell divides, and each new cell contains a copy of the DNA in original cell. During meiosis the cell divides to produce gametes with one half of the chromosomes of the original cell. Chromosomes are made of DNA, which has genes with codes for traits such as the color of the bird's feathers.

Anatomy and Physiology

The black chinned hummingbird lays only two eggs during her cycle. The eggs are most always white. The black chinned hummingbird has parts such as the bill, chin, crow, wings, chest, flank, foot, tail, throat, and rump. The average hummingbird heartbeat is about 408 beats per minute. On cold nights they go into a state of torpidity, and then their heart rate drops to 45 to 180 beats per minute.The breath rate when sleeping is 245 breaths per minute. They have a four-chambered heart. The four-chambered heart is important because it delivers oxygen for the hummingbird’s high metabolism.


The black chinned hummingbird hovers over flowers and darts directly at swarming bugs to chase them off. The female incubates the eggs for 13 to 14 days. She feeds and covers for her young for 20 to 21 days till they become independent. The males dive off of trees almost as high as 66-100 feet in the air for territorial defense.




  • Christine Meggett

Supervising Faculty

  • Amy Huff Shah


  • Museum School, San Diego, California


  • Published prior to review.

Edit History

  • Created: April 5, 2013
  • Version 1.0 submitted to CK-12: July 11, 2013
  • CK-12 edits: in progress


  • Middle School (grades 6-8)

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Date Created:
Aug 15, 2012
Last Modified:
Jan 30, 2016
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