Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)


French: Colibri d’Allen German: Grünrücken-Zimtelfe Spanish: Colibrí de Allen

Ornismya Sasin


, 1829,

San Francisco, California, USA


Closely related to S. rufus, being very close genetically (less than 1% mtDNA#R) and morphologically (“barely distinguishable”#R), but differs by its green vs (in most individuals) all-rufous upperparts in male (1; score reduced owing to individual variation); longer tail#R (effect size 3.6, score 2); different display-flight pattern and resulting sounds#R, latter presumably in part related to broader tips to male’s outer rectrices (3); very narrow hybrid zone (2). Described form S. floresii usually reckoned to be hybrid of present species with Calypte anna. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. s. sasin (Lesson, 1829) – coastal W USA from extreme S Oregon to California (S to Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties); winters in SC Mexico.
  • S. s. sedentarius Grinnell, 1929 – extreme SW USA on islands off coast of S California, and adjacent mainland from Malibu S to Tijuana, Mexico#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–9·5 cm; 2·5–3·8 g. Male has medium-short, slightly decurved black bill; plumage similar to S. rufus, with iridescent green on... read more


    Apparently no song is used in courtship or territory defence. Display-flight commences with a few... read more


    Scrubland, coastal chaparral, bushy slopes, open woodland and edges of redwood forest. During the... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on nectar of native shrubs and trees like Nicotinia, Ceanothus, Arbutus menziesii, Agave, ... read more


    Year-round (sedentarius), Feb–Jul (sasin), although in C California the first juveniles are noted only from Apr.... read more


    Migratory, race sasin wintering in C Mexico, with passage through NW Mexico drawn out over... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in California EBA. Long-term mist-netting data from C California suggest that the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Altshuler, D.L., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).