10 Incredible Hummingbird Species You Could See in Your Backyard
Some 350 hummingbird species make their home in North and South America. Brightly colored and incredibly fast, these tiny birds can hover in mid-air and even fly sideways and backward. Here are 10 hummingbird species that can be seen in the U.S.
The Allen’s hummingbird is a very early migrant among North American birds, leaving its wintering grounds in Mexico in December. Its breeding grounds are a narrow slice of land in coastal Oregon and California, mainly in scrub and chaparral. The males’ signature plumage is a bright-orange throat.
One of the most common hummingbird species along the Pacific Coast, Anna’s stays there year-round, often the only hummingbird species present. The males sport deep-pink feathers around their throat and head, and are more vocal than most, singing a scratchy song.
This hummingbird species has no striking plumage. But, it’s found in a wide swath of the western U.S. and is pretty easy to attract to a feeding station. Black-chinned hummingbirds often perch on the very top branches of dead or live trees.
The medium-sized, broad-billed hummingbird is gorgeous, with the males featuring brilliant green-and-blue feathers and a bright-red beak. The birds live mostly in Mexico, heading only as far north as southern Arizona and New Mexico to breed.
This bird with the sandy-colored belly is the only hummingbird that regularly nests in southern Texas. It loves to hang out on the edges of woodlands and thickets, but is also fond of suburban neighborhoods with lush gardens. Some buff-bellies stay in Texas year-round, while others move up the coast to Louisiana.
The calliope hummingbird is the smallest in all of North America. It is about three inches long and weighs one-tenth of an ounce. Yet despite its tiny size, it makes its summer home in the northern Rocky Mountain region, where nights can be quite cold. Its distinguishing feature is a magenta starburst, found on the throats of males.
This hummingbird species loves the desert, mainly hanging out in Arizona and California. After nesting season, these birds migrate to coastal California and Baja to avoid scorching summer temperatures. But, if an area is filled with flowers year-round, such as in suburban gardens, the Costa’s may stay put.
The ruby-throated hummingbird is one of the most common in the U.S. In fact, this hummingbird species has the largest breeding range of all North American hummingbirds—the entire eastern half of the U.S. and parts of Canada. As its name indicates, the flashy male can be identified by its ruby-red throat. It also has a white collar and emerald back.
Rufous hummingbirds are common in the U.S. and can be seen in almost every state. The males are “rufous” (reddish-brown) in color. These hummingbirds are fierce, chasing away other hummingbirds from feeders and flower beds. They also have the northernmost breeding range of any hummingbird, flying up from Mexico to northwestern Canada and Alaska.
Not surprisingly, the violet-crowned hummingbird can be recognized by the blue-violet cap on its head. These birds hang out in Mexico and the southwestern and south-central U.S. To ensure you’ll see one, visit the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia, Ariz.