Different Types of Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds currently have over 300 identified species, making them one of the largest bird families in the world.
Even more fascinating is the fact that while they are native to the Americas, only a handful of hummingbirds can be frequently seen in the United States as well as Canada. The rest thrive in the tropics of Central and South America.
Get to know more these beautiful types of hummingbirds:
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the most common species in North America. Distinct for the gorget of iridescent red that inspires its name, this hummingbird is usually spotted in Canada and the eastern part of North America during summers, and in Central America, Mexico, and Florida in the winter season.
- On the other side, the Rufous Hummingbird dominates the western portion of North America. Characterized by a copper-orange plumage befitting a feisty temperament, the Rufous has been known to attack other hummingbirds over their territory.
In recent years, the Rufous was classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as near threatened because of how climate change has altered the growth schedule of flowers it commonly feeds on.
- Slightly similar in appearance to the Rufous, the Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird native to the United States and Canada. It can measure 3.9 inches at most as an adult and have a wingspan of just over 4 inches.
The Calliope, named after the Greek muse, breeds in California and British Columbia and migrates southwest of the United States, Mexico, and Central America in winter.
- Another common species is the Black-Chinned Hummingbird, which is notable for its dark head, an iridescent purple throat patch, and a metallic-green body.
Known as one of the most adaptable of species, this hummingbird can live in urban areas, as well as mountain canyons. They are usually found in southwestern states such as Texas, and even all the way down to northern Mexico, while migrating to the west coast of Mexico for winter.
- Meanwhile, Anna’s Hummingbird is a year-round species. This jewel-toned beauty is not keen on migrating and will stay in the Pacific Coast, from southern British Columbia to northern Mexico. It is also the most common of all California hummingbirds.
The Allen’s Hummingbird is another species both native in California and also a year-round dweller alike, though it has been found in southern Oregon as well. Just like the Calliope, the Allen’s Hummingbird looks similar to the Rufous, however, it is larger and has longer tail feathers.
Costa’s Hummingbird is slightly unique in the sense that it thrives in the deserts of the southwest United States, even preferring arid habitats. Distinguishable thanks to a mustache-like iridescent violet throat patch, Costa’s are migratory birds that spend their winters in southern California, all the way down to Mexico.
- Rarer species include the Violet-Crowned Hummingbird which is more common in Mexico and the Blue-Throated Mountain Gem, notable for being a very nosy species and occasionally spotted in Arizona. The Broad-Billed Hummingbird, with its striking combination of emerald plumage with sapphire gorget, is also more frequently seen in Mexico.
- Perhaps the rarest species of them all is the Albino Hummingbird, which has all-white feathers and pink eyes, bill, and feet. Less than 100 sightings have been reported, though most of these are sightings of partial albinos, with only a handful being true Albino Hummingbirds.
The many variations of species among hummingbirds make them so compelling to look at and identify, which is why several nature enthusiasts have made attracting hummingbirds a hobby.
Despite how different the color of their plumage can be, one thing most species have in common is an excellent memory.
Set your garden up to attract hummingbirds by providing enough nectar, perches, and water to bathe in, and you just might see them return to your backyard year after year.