Hummingbirds of North America: Small But Beautiful

A list of some North American hummingbirds. Read on to see and learn interesting facts about these small but beautiful birds.

The Trochilidae or hummingbirds, is one of the largest bird families with three hundred and thirty-eight species. One hundred twenty of these species are found in North America. These hyperactive hummingbirds are widely known for their miniature size and flying skills. Read on to learn more about these small but beautiful hummingbirds.

Magnificent Hummingbird

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The Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)is the second-largest US hummingbird that inhabits oak forests, pastures and open woodlands of the southwestern United States to western Panama. This bird can grow between 11-14 cm where the average weight for males is about 10g and females 8.5 g. Adult male has a very recognizable dark plumage and long, straight black bill.

It has a green body, dark green back, black breast, metallic green gorget, purple forehead and violet crown. While females carry a bronze-green back and crown, grayish-white breast and throat, and white mark behind the eyes. Magnificent hummingbirds main source of food is nectar, and at times small insects.

Rufous Hummingbird

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The Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) is a small North American migratory hummingbird. These feisty hummingbirds are typically found in open areas and coniferous forest during the breeding season from southern Alaska to California. They winter in Mexico and south Texas. Rufous hummingbirds are about 8 cm long and can be recognized by its long, straight and very slender bill.

Adults average 3.5 g for males and 3.65 for females. Adult females are bigger than males. The adult male is Rufous all over, except for its short green wings and white breast. The female has a green back, white breast, shining orange feathers in the throat’s central spot and a dark tail. The bird”s main diet is nectar as well as small insects.

Anna’s Hummingbird

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The Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) is a medium-sized hummingbird widespread along the western coast of North America. It is about 10 to 11 centimeters long and weighs about 4.31 (male) and 4.07 (female). Anna’s has a straight bill, but quite small and a long sloping forehead. Both males and females carry bronze-green upperparts and gray underparts.

Males are easy to recognize with their dark rose-red crown and extensive iridescent throats. Female have grayish-white breast, green heads, with some red spots on their throats. Males have solid blackish-gray tails, while females carry white tipped black tails. These hummingbirds feeds on nectar from flowers and feeder. At times, they will pick on small insects and spiders.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

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The Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is a small hummingbird with a moderately straight bill. Average length is 8.25 cm and average weight is 3.09 g for males and, 3.42 g for females. Adult females are larger than males. Their breeding habitats range from British Columbia to central Texas. Black-chinned hummingbirds migrate to Mexico during the winter season.

Typically, they inhabit open semi-arid areas, mountain forests and deserts. The adult male has a black face, green crown, white collar, metallic green back, grayish breast and dark forked tail. Adult female has green upperparts and crown, pale throat, white breast and dark rounded tail with white tips on outer tail feathers. Black-chinned hummingbirds feed on nectar from flowers and are familiar feature at feeders.

Violet-Crowned Hummingbird

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The Violet-crowned Hummingbird, (Amazilia violiceps) is a medium-sized hummingbird about 10 cm long and weighs roughly 5.78 g (male) and for female about 5.19 g. This bird is widespread Arizona, Texas, California, and New Mexico making arid scrubs its typical breeding habitat. The Violet-crowned hummingbird visit Mexico during the winter.

This hummingbird is easily recognized by its violet-colored cap and white breast. The adult male has violet-blue crown, emerald green back and straight red bill. The female carries similar features as male, but its crown is a little dull. Using its long tongue, Violet-crowned hummingbird sips nectar from flowers and often catches insects on the wing.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

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The Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) is another medium-sized hummingbird, about 10 cm long and weighs about 3.16 g for male and nearly 3.6 g. for female. The breeding habitat extends across open habitats and mountain meadows throughout the Western United States down to southern Mexico. It winters in Mexico.

Both sexes have green crowns, white breasts and shining green upperparts. Adult males have rose throat patch and rounded tail; adult females carry black spots on their chests, dark tail feathers with white spots at the tips. The Broad-tailed Hummingbird feeds on nectar from flowers as well as insects.

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird

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The Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis) is a medium-sized hummingbird widespread across Texas through eastern Mexico. It is found in a variety of habitats such as thickets, woodland edges, and forests. Buff-bellied hummingbirds winter along the Gulf Coast of U.S. It is about 10–11 cm in length and weighs approximately 4–5 g.

It is easily distinguished by its iridescent green head, breast, and throat, and beige-colored belly. Bill is red and partly curved with a black tip. Both sexes carry these features. However, the female shows a much darker upper bill, but is paler than the male. Buff-bellied hummingbirds are regular visitors of gardens, feeding on nectar from flowers.

Green Violet-Ear

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The Green Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus)is a beautiful, medium-sized and generally a traveling hummingbird found in mountain forests, semi-open upland areas, and forest edges across central Mexico to western Panama. Sightings have also been recorded across the eastern and central United States and even Canada. It is about 10 cm long and weighs nearly 5-6 g. The green violet-ear hummingbird has dark metallic green plumage characterized by blue markings on its throat and chest. It has blue-green squared tail with a black band. The bill is black and slightly curved. Both sexes carry similar coloration, but the female is duller overall.

White-eared Hummingbird

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The White-eared Hummingbird (Basilinna leucotis) is a medium-sized hummingbird that breeds in pine oak forests from is regularly Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Mississippi to Arizona. It winters in Mexico. It is approximately 9-10 cm in length, and weighs approximately 3-4 g. It got its name for its large white ear stripe. Males and females both have green backs, black tails and red bills with a black tip. Females have straight-edged tails while males have forked tails. White-eared hummingbirds feed on nectar from flowers and flowering trees.

10 thoughts on “Hummingbirds of North America: Small But Beautiful

  1. Anonymous

    I have a photo of a nectar sucking bird. It was no more than two inches long, with lateral (side to side) dark stripes starting from the neck to the tail. It was tan to brown in color, smaller that any hummingbirds I have ever seen. Help!

  2. Anonymous

    Got picture of a nectar eating bird but I cannot find out what it was. It was maybe 2" in length and brown with side to side dark lines from the neck to the tail. Help!

  3. Tingting R.

    A former officemate loves hummingbird. That was the first time I learned about this bird, and I agreed with her. This bird is cute.

  4. mhie@smarlk

    I love those kind of birds.I guess our neighbor has one but i'm not sure what kind of hummingbirds it is.

  5. betchai

    I love hummingbirds, the most common I saw here are the Anna hummingbirds, from time to time, I see violet crowned and broad tailed, the others, I may not know how to distinguish, I often just say, "hummingbird" instead of identifying their kind 🙂

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