Types of Hummingbird

15 Types of Hummingbirds: Species, Facts and Photos

Over 300 types of hummingbirds are present across the Americas, each boasting its own unique characteristics and behaviors. From diverse habitats to varied diets, these flying jewels offer a fascinating study of evolution.

This article will deepen your understanding of these agile and perpetually energetic creatures. It will also examine the key features that differentiate the many types of hummingbirds, adding a touch of wonder to your existing knowledge. Read on to learn more.

Related read: World's Smallest Bird.

Hummingbird General Information

Hummingbirds are members of the Trochilidae family, comprising over 366 species across 112 genera. This makes them one of the largest bird families. Each species thrives in environments that span from the icy reaches of Alaska to the southernmost tip of Chile. However, the hummingbird central is mostly in Southern Arizona and New Mexico.

These flying jewels impress us with wings that can flap at 70 beats per second, enabling them to hover. They also have tiny bodies, with some species barely reaching 3 inches long. Despite their size, they are territorial, and some species are aggressive enough to fight larger birds.

These tiny aviators are further distinguished by their vibrant, often iridescent feathers, a trait common in males. Similar sexual dimorphism is also present in peacocks.

Interestingly, nature presents us with a delightful doppelgänger to the hummingbird – the hummingbird moth. This insect cleverly mimics the bird's appearance and behavior, a survival strategy that helps it evade predators and share the hummingbird's ecological niches. Despite the striking similarities, these two creatures came from different taxonomic classes.

Read more: Hummingbird Facts,

15 Types of Hummingbird Species

1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Photo by Matt Tillett on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are no bigger than 3.5 inches, darting through the air. Males have throats ablaze with iridescent ruby-red, contrasting to their emerald-green back. Though less flashy, females have a more subtle mix of green and white.

These birds call the eastern half of North America home. Open woodlands, gardens, meadows, orchards - these are their playgrounds. When the winter chill sets in, they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico, journeying non-stop to warmer locales in Central America or the Caribbean.

They put on a show of high arcs and rapid dives to woo a potential mate. Despite their size, they are also fiercely territorial, ready to defend their space.

2. Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by VJAnderson on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Decked in a dazzling orange coat with a throat ablaze in red, Rufous Hummingbirds are energetic little creatures. Males stand out more than females in their brilliant display. Measuring a mere 3 inches and weighing a feather-light 0.1 ounces, rufous hummingbirds are hummingbirds.

They choose diverse habitats across North America. From serene meadows and bustling forest edges to the tranquility of gardens, their adaptive nature is admirable. 

Since Rufous Hummingbird has the northernmost breeding range of any kind, their migration journey is also one of the longest trips. These tiny birds travel an astonishing 3,900 miles each way, from their breeding grounds in Alaska all the way down to their wintering grounds in Mexico.

Their dietary preferences lean heavily towards nectar from bright, tubular flowers. But they will also snack on insects and spiders, especially during the breeding season. 

3. Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii)

Green-breasted Mango
Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Green-breasted Mango hummingbirds have a length of around 4.7 inches and a weight of approximately 0.2 ounces. Their throats and chests glow with a dark green hue, a color that can shift to an almost black sheen under certain lights. They also have captivating bronze-green backs and red tail feathers. 

They live in lush tropical lowland forests, plantations, and gardens from southern Mexico to Costa Rica and parts of the Caribbean. As territorial birds, they fend off intruders from their chosen flowering plants: heliconias, bananas, and morning glories.

Aside from nectar, they also consume insects and spiders. And when it comes to nest building, the females take the lead. They're the architects, crafting a small cup-shaped nest from plant fibers, lichens, and spider webs, usually in a low tree or shrub.

4. Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)

Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by Dan Pancamo on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird species fluttering around North America, at just 3 to 4 inches from beak to tail. Males have radiant throat feathers streaked with bold magenta hues. Females, on the other hand, are more subtle in their coloring. 

These types of hummingbirds are mountain dwellers. You might spot them in deciduous forests or coniferous woodlands. Like the other species, they feast on tubular flowers. But they also snack on insects and spiders.

During courtship, a male Calliope Hummingbird flaps its wings faster than normal, creating a buzzing sound that effectively communicates with the female. A wind tunnel study reported that birds produce distinct sounds from three different feather parts1.

5. Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Photo by HarmonyonPlanetEarth on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird, measuring between 3.1 to 3.5 inches. The males flaunt a dazzling rose-red throat, contrasting sharply with their vibrant emerald green back and crisp white underparts. Meanwhile, the females sport muted green upperparts and grayish-white underparts.

Hailing from the mountainous terrains of the Western United States, Mexico, and Central America, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird thrives in various habitats - from open woodlands and meadows to scrublands and even gardens. 

Almost 70% of female Broad-tailed consecutively return to their Colorado nesting site during the breeding season2.

6. Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila)

Cinnamon Hummingbird
Photo by Charles J. Sharp on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Cinnamon Hummingbird is draped in a cloak of warm, cinnamon-colored plumage. This rich hue washes over its upper parts and chest, while a lighter, almost faded shade of cinnamon graces its underbelly and tail. 

As a medium-sized bird, it measures up to 4.5 inches and weighs a maximum of 0.19 ounces. Its red-orange beak, tipped with black, stands out against its body.

You'll find it in various habitats, from the thorny forests and scrubby terrains of Mexico to the gardens of the southwestern United States. It also lives anywhere from sea level to heights of 5,200 feet. Like other hummingbirds, they have a sweet tooth for nectar and occasionally eat arachnids.

7. Lucifer Hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer)

Lucifer Hummingbird
Photo by Gary Leavens on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Lucifer hummingbird or Lucifer sheartail has a shimmering purple throat, a curved bill, and a forked tail. The female, though not as flashy, has a greenish upper body and a soft, pale gray underside. They are medium-sized hummingbirds, measuring around 3.9 inches long.

It calls North America home, particularly the arid regions full of plants that provide their primary nectar source. As temperatures drop, these birds migrate to warmer climates, specifically Central Mexico. 

8. Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis)

Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Photo by TonyCastro on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Buff-bellied Hummingbird is a spectacle of emerald green and cinnamon. It boasts an average length of 4 inches and a wingspan stretching to about 5.5 inches. Its underparts have a buffy hue (brownish-yellow), hence the bird's moniker. Adding more colors, its tail sports a rusty color.

The Buff-bellied Hummingbird prefers habitats rich with shrubs and trees. Its geographical footprint spans North and Central America, from the Gulf Coast of the United States to southeastern Mexico. 

9. Violet-crowned Hummingbird (Ramosomyia violiceps)

Violet-crowned Hummingbird
Photo by Bettina Arrigoni on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Violet-crowned Hummingbird's crown shimmers violet-blue in sunlight, hence its name. It also has a contrasting white underbelly and a straight, slender red bill. Small but mighty, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird typically measures 4.5 inches and weighs about 0.2 ounces. 

This tiny creature holds its own and makes a big impact in its native habitats, which span the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. It's partial to open woodlands, gardens, and canyon vegetation, and it's not afraid to overwinter, proving its resiliency.

10. Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina)

Berylline Hummingbird
Photo by Charles J. Sharp on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Berylline Hummingbird is covered in an iridescent green hue, and its tail is a rich chestnut. It also has a black bill perfect for siphoning nectars. It's no larger than 4 inches, yet its energy is immense. You'll find these lively birds darting across Mexico and Central America. They could fit in forests, scrublands, and even parks.

11. White-eared Hummingbird (Basilinna leucotis)

White-eared Hummingbird
Photo by Dominic Sherony on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The White-eared Hummingbird, native to Central and North America, typically measures about 3.5 to 4 inches long. The males are a vibrant spectacle with their shimmering green bodies, primarily black faces, and white stripes beside their eyes. They also have a long, straight bill that is red and black.

These birds thrive in pine-oak forests, cloud forests, and scrublands, anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. 

12. Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

Anna's Hummingbird
Photo by EllaMay81 on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Anna's Hummingbird is a medium-sized species, generally measuring between 3.9 and 4.3 inches in length and weighing between 0.1 and 0.2 ounces. The females typically have a greenish-gray feather coat. At the same time, the males boast iridescent emerald feathers and a striking ruby-red crown. 

You can find these flying jewels from British Columbia to Arizona. They make themselves at home in woodlands, chaparral, or even suburban gardens. 

These hummingbirds tend to stay in one place but can expand their range for various reasons, such as increasing temperature. Recently, researchers spotted Anna’s hummingbirds in higher elevations of California’s mountain ranges.

13. Blue-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis clemenciae)

Blue-throated Mountain-gem
Photo by Vickie J Anderson on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Blue-throated Mountain-gem is larger than most relatives, flaunting an average length of about 4.4 to 5 inches. Males have an electric blue throat, creating a striking contrast against their predominantly emerald-green body and grey underparts. On the other hand, females lack the blue gorget. Both sexes sport two white stripes on each side of their face.

They call the highlands of Central America home, from Mexico to Nicaragua. They prefer living in different types of forests in elevated regions ranging from 4,300 to 12,800 feet.

14. Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)

Allen's Hummingbird
Photo by Becky Matsubara on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Allen's Hummingbird, males in particular, catches the eye with their radiant, orange-red throats. They flaunt a green back, white front, and tail feathers of a bronzy-orange shade. They certainly know how to make a statement despite measuring a mere 3.5 inches in length.

You can spot them in California and southern Oregon's coastal scrub, gardens, and meadows. These little ones start their journey to central Mexico when winter is approaching.

15. Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)

Black-chinned Hummingbird
Photo by VJAnderson on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The male Black-chinned Hummingbird captivates the eye with a striking black lower throat and a band of iridescent purple. Females, on the other hand, have only white throats. 

This type of hummingbird is about the size of a ping-pong ball, stretching to around 3.25 inches. It can also thrive in various environments, from semiarid regions to riparian woods.

Extinct Hummingbirds

The types of hummingbirds above are still abundant in the wild. Even if they are only a species of least concern in the IUCN Red List, many are still included in the United States Migratory Bird Act3.

However, according to the IUCN, nine of the 366 species are already critically endangered, and 16 are endangered. Furthermore, two birds have been extinct for over a hundred years: Brace's emerald (Riccordia bracei) and Gould's emerald (Riccordia elegans).

Pin Me:
Pin Image Portrait 15 Types of Hummingbirds: Species, Facts and Photos
1

Clark, C. J. (2011). Wing, tail, and vocal contributions to the complex acoustic signals of courting Calliope hummingbirds. Current Zoology, 57(2), 187–196

2

Calder, W. A., Waser, N. M., Hiebert, S. M., Inouye, D. W., & Miller, S. J. (1983). Site-fidelity, longevity, and population dynamics of broad-tailed hummingbirds: a ten year study. Oecologia, 56(2–3), 359–364.

3

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2020). List of Birds Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (2020).

Sign Up for Updates
SIGN UP
chevron-upchevron-down