Stocky, rather distinctive, medium-sized hummingbird in mountain pine-oak and pine-evergreen forests and clearings, where it usually is one of the commonest hummingbird species. Feeds mainly at low to middle levels, often at banks of roadside flowers. Both sexes have a black mask, bold and thick white ear-stripe, and red base to the bill. Male’s head and throat often appear black, but in the right light, it flashes brilliant violet and green. Female has a pale throat and breast with green spots.