Special Gift Offer

4 types of hummingbirds

By: Garden Gate staff
Different hummingbirds live in different regions of the United States. Learn about 4 types of hummingbirds and find out which of these flying jewels 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 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 hummer reaches 3¼ to 3¾ in. long. You’ll often see black-chinneds repeatedly flicking their tails as they fly.

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.


You Might Also Like:
How to design a garden to attract more pollinators
Hummingbird-friendly garden plan

common hummingbirds Roufus Selasphorus rufus

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.

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.



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.

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!


You Might Also Like:
How to attract more birds to your garden
Blue flowers are best for bees
DIY bird feeder wreath


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.

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?

While flying, males use specialized wing feathers to make a high trilling sound similar to that of a cricket.


Published: Oct. 7, 2019
GDT Notes Ad_BILU22_zone5

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

GDT Notes Ad_BILU22_zone6

Related Tags

bird friendly hummingbirds pollinator friendly

Also in This Newsletter

Last Week’s Newsletter

October 1, 2019

Best daffodils for your region

If you’re wondering which daffodils are best for your garden, use these charts to find out the best daffodils for the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest.

GDT Free Issue zone15 Spring