Which type of hummingbird is visiting your garden?
Are you keeping your eye out for a visit from a hummingbird? Well, there are multiple types of these fascinating creatures, and they vary in color and location. This list of four common types of hummingbirds will help you know which type is most likely to visit your garden, according to which region you live in.
Black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
Common in much of the western United States, from southern Canada south into Mexico, this more subtly colored hummingbird reaches 3¼ to 3¾ in. long. You’ll often see black-chinneds repeatedly flicking their tails as they fly. See the full range map here for more information on black-chinned hummigbird ranges.
Males and females have black bills, green backs and sides, with pale gray undersides. But males, like the one in the photo, have a black throat that, in certain lights, shines with a brilliant iridescent purple. Like other hummingbirds, a hungry black-chinned hummingbird can eat up to eight times its body weight in a day.
Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
At 3½- to 4-in. long, this hummer breeds farther north than any other hummingbird and has the longest migration trek: from Alaska to Mexico — an amazing 4,000 miles! Some also winter in the Gulf States from Texas to Florida. See the full range map here for more information on rufous hummingbird ranges.
The male rufous is one of the most colorful, as well: white breast with reddish “vest,” a scarlet to orange throat and brilliant red-brown back. The female (in the photo) is similar, but has a green head and lacks the bright throat and vest.
Did you know?
Known for its irascible nature, it can be aggressive, even to larger birds. Make sure to hang up multiple feeders to avoid conflict.
Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
This may be the only hummingbird gardeners east of the Great Plains see. At 3¼ to 3¾ in. long, the male, shown here, sports a red throat with a narrow black band at the top. Iridescent green glows on his back and sides with white below. Females have a white throat and are gray below with buff sides. See the full range map here for more information on ruby-throated hummigbird ranges.
Did you know?
These tiny birds gorge themselves to prepare for migration, often doubling their body weight. To reach Mexico, many cross the Gulf of Mexico — a 500-mile nonstop flight, averaging 20 hours!
Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)
The broad-tailed hummingbird, common in areas around the Rocky Mountains, is 3¾ to 4½ in. from tip to tail. See the full range map for broad-tailed hummingbirds here.
Males, like the one shown above, wear bright rose-pink to red on their throat with a white breast, olive green cheeks and back, and a white belly with a gray-green “vest.” Duller-colored females have a white chin and breast, with red-brown on their flanks and the sides of their tails.
Did you know?
Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward. They can be quite acrobatic hunting food!