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A Comprehensive Guide to California’s Hummingbird Species

Ruby throated Hummingbird in Ventura California United States
We’ll explore different species of hummingbirds, their habitats and behaviors, as well as the unique features that make them distinct from other birds. Learn how to attract these beautiful and fascinating creatures to your backyard with a few simple steps, or find out what you should look out for if you are planning to go on a hummingbird-spotting adventure in California!

Introduction

California is home to a variety of hummingbird species, each with its own unique characteristics and behaviors. These tiny birds are some of the most fascinating creatures in the world, and they can add a splash of color and life to any backyard or outdoor space. In this guide, we will explore these beautiful birds by looking at their habitats, behaviors, and features that make them distinct from other types of birds. We will also provide tips on how to attract hummingbirds to your backyard as well as what you should look out for if you plan on going on a hummingbird-spotting adventure in California! So let’s get started learning more about these amazing little feathered friends!

Overview of California’s Hummingbird Species

California is home to several species of hummingbirds, each with their own unique characteristics and behaviors. These small birds have adapted to a wide range of habitats, from deserts to mountain tops, making them quite versatile and capable of surviving in many different environments. Hummingbirds are also distinguished by their colorful feathers and high-pitched buzzing sound. They have an impressive ability to hover in mid-air as they search for food, making them one of the most unique and fascinating birds in the world.
Allen's Hummingbird Adult Male Perched on Tree Branch. Santa Cruz, California, USA.

Overview of California’s Hummingbird Species

Allen's Hummingbird Adult Male Perched on Tree Branch. Santa Cruz, California, USA.
California is home to several species of hummingbirds, each with their own unique characteristics and behaviors. These small birds have adapted to a wide range of habitats, from deserts to mountain tops, making them quite versatile and capable of surviving in many different environments. Hummingbirds are also distinguished by their colorful feathers and high-pitched buzzing sound. They have an impressive ability to hover in mid-air as they search for food, making them one of the most unique and fascinating birds in the world.
Young ruby throated Hummingbird in Ojai California United States

Habitats and Behaviors of Hummingbirds

When it comes to their habitats and behavior, hummingbirds are generally observed feeding on nectar from flowers within gardens or open spaces with plenty of vegetation. They will also visit bird feeders for an easy source of food. Hummingbirds typically migrate south during winter and will return to their home ranges in the springtime.

Habitats and Behaviors of Hummingbirds

Young ruby throated Hummingbird in Ojai California United States
When it comes to their habitats and behavior, hummingbirds are generally observed feeding on nectar from flowers within gardens or open spaces with plenty of vegetation. They will also visit bird feeders for an easy source of food. Hummingbirds typically migrate south during winter and will return to their home ranges in the springtime.

Unique Features That Make Them Distinct from Other Birds

Hummingbirds are known for having unique features that set them apart from other birds, such as their long beaks and strong wings. The color of their feathers can range from green and yellow to purple and red, making them quite colorful and easy to spot. Additionally, they have an impressive ability to hover in mid-air as they search for food, making them one of the most unique birds in the world.
Small hummingbird with outstretched wings in Oxnard California United States

Unique Features That Make Them Distinct from Other Birds

Small hummingbird with outstretched wings in Oxnard California United States
Hummingbirds are known for having unique features that set them apart from other birds, such as their long beaks and strong wings. The color of their feathers can range from green and yellow to purple and red, making them quite colorful and easy to spot. Additionally, they have an impressive ability to hover in mid-air as they search for food, making them one of the most unique birds in the world.
Hummingbird hovering on the Central Coast in California United States

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Backyard

If you are looking for ways to attract hummingbirds to your backyard or outdoor space, there are a few simple steps you can take. Providing food sources, such as nectar feeders and fruit trees, will help draw them in. You should also make sure there are plenty of flowers and plants nearby that they can feed from. Additionally, providing a safe space for them to perch will encourage them to stay around longer.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Backyard

Hummingbird hovering on the Central Coast in California United States
If you are looking for ways to attract hummingbirds to your backyard or outdoor space, there are a few simple steps you can take. Providing food sources, such as nectar feeders and fruit trees, will help draw them in. You should also make sure there are plenty of flowers and plants nearby that they can feed from. Additionally, providing a safe space for them to perch will encourage them to stay around longer.

Tips for Going on a Hummingbird-Spotting Adventure in California 

If you plan on going on a hummingbird-spotting adventure in California, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Look for areas with ample vegetation and still waters, as these provide the ideal habitat for hummingbirds. They can also be found near open fields or by rivers and lakes, so make sure to pay attention when you are out exploring. Additionally, it is important to bring binoculars or a camera so that you can observe them from afar without disrupting their natural behaviors.

Concluding Remarks on the Beauty and Fascination of These Tiny Birds  

Overall, hummingbirds are some of the most beautiful and fascinating birds in the world. They provide an interesting addition to any backyard or outdoor space, and they can also be great fun to spot while on an outdoor adventure. With their bright colors and unique behaviors, hummingbirds are sure to be a great source of wonder and delight for birdwatchers everywhere.

So next time you find yourself in California, be sure to keep an eye out for these amazing little creatures! With a little patience and luck, you might just catch a glimpse of one of nature’s most beautiful and captivating birds. Happy hummingbird-spotting!

Types of Hummingbirds in California

The state of California is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful hummingbirds in North America. With eight species that call the Golden State their home, there is plenty to explore when it comes to these tiny birds.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird is a small species of hummingbird native to the western coast of North America. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its bright green back, white underside, and distinctive rusty-orange patches on its gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but the males are typically much brighter in color than the females.

Allen’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to the western coast of North America, including areas such as California, Oregon, and Washington. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its bright green back, white underside, and distinctive rusty-orange patches on its gorget (throat).

Scientific classification of Allen’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species:
S. sasin

Binomial name of Allen’s Hummingbird is: Selasphorus sasin (Lesson, R, 1829)

A luminescent male Allen's Hummingbird in Forest Knolls, California. Taken with a Canon 10D DSLR and a 180mm Macro Lens. 1/1500 f/6.7 ISO 400.

Allen’s Hummingbird

A luminescent male Allen's Hummingbird in Forest Knolls, California. Taken with a Canon 10D DSLR and a 180mm Macro Lens. 1/1500 f/6.7 ISO 400.

Allen’s Hummingbird is a small species of hummingbird native to the western coast of North America. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its bright green back, white underside, and distinctive rusty-orange patches on its gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but the males are typically much brighter in color than the females.

Allen’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to the western coast of North America, including areas such as California, Oregon, and Washington. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its bright green back, white underside, and distinctive rusty-orange patches on its gorget (throat).

Scientific classification of Allen’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species:
S. sasin

Binomial name of Allen’s Hummingbird is: Selasphorus sasin (Lesson, R, 1829)

A male Anna's Hummingbird rests on a snowy perch in a yard in Washington.

Anna’s Hummingbird

The Anna’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that can be found all along the western coast of North America as well as parts of southern Canada. This particular species of hummingbird is larger than other hummingbirds, with a bright green back and a glittering red head. Both males and females have similar plumage, but males are typically brighter in color than females.

The Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the most common species of hummingbirds to be found in California, making it an ideal bird for backyard enthusiasts to observe and enjoy. This species of hummingbird is typically drawn to nectar-rich flowers and feeders, as well as yards with plenty of trees and shrubs. With their vibrant colors and acrobatic displays, Anna’s Hummingbirds provide a great source of entertainment for birdwatchers everywhere.

 

Scientific classification of Allen’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Calypte
Species:
C. anna

The binomial name of Anna’s hummingbird is: Calypte anna (Lesson, 1829)

Anna’s Hummingbird

A male Anna's Hummingbird rests on a snowy perch in a yard in Washington.

The Anna’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that can be found all along the western coast of North America as well as parts of southern Canada. This particular species of hummingbird is larger than other hummingbirds, with a bright green back and a glittering red head. Both males and females have similar plumage, but males are typically brighter in color than females.

The Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the most common species of hummingbirds to be found in California, making it an ideal bird for backyard enthusiasts to observe and enjoy. This species of hummingbird is typically drawn to nectar-rich flowers and feeders, as well as yards with plenty of trees and shrubs. With their vibrant colors and acrobatic displays, Anna’s Hummingbirds provide a great source of entertainment for birdwatchers everywhere.

 

Scientific classification of Allen’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Calypte
Species:
C. anna

The binomial name of Anna’s hummingbird is: Calypte anna (Lesson, 1829)

Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to western North America, from Alaska down to California. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its bright rufous back and wings, white underside, and reddish-orange gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

Rufous Hummingbirds are one of the most common species of hummingbird to be found in California, often appearing in gardens and backyards throughout the state. This particular species of hummingbird is typically drawn to feeders or nectar-rich flowers, but can also be seen catching insects in midair. Rufous Hummingbirds are considered to be a long-distance migrant, and can often be seen flying south in the winter months.

Scientific classification of Rufous Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species:
S. rufus

 Binomial name of Rufous Hummingbird is: Selasphorus rufus (Gmelin, JF, 1788)

Rufous Hummingbird perched in a tree in California

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird perched in a tree in California

The Rufous Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to western North America, from Alaska down to California. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its bright rufous back and wings, white underside, and reddish-orange gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

Rufous Hummingbirds are one of the most common species of hummingbird to be found in California, often appearing in gardens and backyards throughout the state. This particular species of hummingbird is typically drawn to feeders or nectar-rich flowers, but can also be seen catching insects in midair. Rufous Hummingbirds are considered to be a long-distance migrant, and can often be seen flying south in the winter months.

Scientific classification of Rufous Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species:
S. rufus

 Binomial name of Rufous Hummingbird is: Selasphorus rufus (Gmelin, JF, 1788)

Black-Chinned Hummingbird Searching for Nectar in the Flower Garden

Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird Searching for Nectar in the Flower Garden

A black-chinned hummingbird feeding on butterfly weed

A female black-chinned hummingbird feeding on butterfly weed

Black-chinned Hummingbird

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is another species of hummingbird native to western North America, ranging from parts of western Canada down to the Mexican border. This species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its dark green back and wings, white underside, and a distinctive black throat with a purple gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is considered to be a species of hummingbird often found in California, typically appearing from May to October. They can often be seen feeding on nectar or flying around backyards and gardens, particularly those with plenty of trees and flowering plants. This species of hummingbird is also considered to be a long-distance migrant, often traveling south in the winter months.

 

Scientific classification of Rufous Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Archilochus
Species:
A. alexandri

Binomial name of Black-chinned Hummingbird is: Archilochus alexandri (Bourcier & Mulsant, 1846)

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-Chinned Hummingbird Searching for Nectar in the Flower Garden

Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird Searching for Nectar in the Flower Garden

A black-chinned hummingbird feeding on butterfly weed

A female black-chinned hummingbird feeding on butterfly weed

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is another species of hummingbird native to western North America, ranging from parts of western Canada down to the Mexican border. This species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its dark green back and wings, white underside, and a distinctive black throat with a purple gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is considered to be a species of hummingbird often found in California, typically appearing from May to October. They can often be seen feeding on nectar or flying around backyards and gardens, particularly those with plenty of trees and flowering plants. This species of hummingbird is also considered to be a long-distance migrant, often traveling south in the winter months.

 

Scientific classification of Rufous Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Archilochus
Species:
A. alexandri

Binomial name of Black-chinned Hummingbird is: Archilochus alexandri (Bourcier & Mulsant, 1846)

Costa’s Hummingbird

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to the south-western United States and parts of Mexico. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its iridescent green back, purple crown, and distinctive rose-pink gorget (throat). Both males and females have the same plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird often found in California, particularly during the spring and fall migration periods. They can often be seen feeding on nectar-rich flowers or drinking from feeders, as well as flying around backyards and gardens with plenty of trees and plants. This species of hummingbird is also a long-distance migrant, often flying south in the winter months.

 

Scientific classification of Costa’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Calypte
Species:
C. costae

 

Binomial name of Costa’s Hummingbird is: Calypte costae (Bourcier, 1839)

Female Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae) in Tucson, AZ.  This is a very small hummingbird that ranges from central California south through Baja California and east to southeastern Arizona.  It is typically found in desert habitats.

Female Costa’s hummingbird (Calypte costae), also known as the Mexican hummingbird, is a small, medium-sized bird that ranges from central California south through Baja California and east to southeastern Arizona.

male Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae)

Costa’s hummingbirds have a purple crown and gorget, green backs, and green vests.

Costa’s Hummingbird

Female Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae) in Tucson, AZ.  This is a very small hummingbird that ranges from central California south through Baja California and east to southeastern Arizona.  It is typically found in desert habitats.

Female Costa’s hummingbird (Calypte costae), also known as the Mexican hummingbird, is a small, medium-sized bird that ranges from central California south through Baja California and east to southeastern Arizona.

male Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae)

Costa’s hummingbirds have a purple crown and gorget, green backs, and green vests.

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to the south-western United States and parts of Mexico. This particular species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its iridescent green back, purple crown, and distinctive rose-pink gorget (throat). Both males and females have the same plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird often found in California, particularly during the spring and fall migration periods. They can often be seen feeding on nectar-rich flowers or drinking from feeders, as well as flying around backyards and gardens with plenty of trees and plants. This species of hummingbird is also a long-distance migrant, often flying south in the winter months.

 

Scientific classification of Costa’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Calypte
Species:
C. costae

 

Binomial name of Costa’s Hummingbird is: Calypte costae (Bourcier, 1839)

Adult Female Hummingbird at a feeder in suburban Charlotte, NC.  The bird is overwintering in Charlotte.

Adult Female Hummingbird at a feeder in suburban Charlotte, NC. The bird is overwintering in Charlotte.

Male Calliope Hummingbird perching pretty!!

Male Calliope Hummingbird sitting on a branch.

Calliope Hummingbird

The Calliope Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to western North America, ranging from parts of western Canada down to the Mexican border. This species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its striking green back and wings, white underside, and an unmistakable bright magenta gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

The Calliope Hummingbird is considered to be a rare species of hummingbird often found in California during the summer months. They can often be seen feeding on nectar-rich flowers or drinking from feeders, as well as hovering around backyards and gardens with plenty of trees and plants. This species of hummingbird is also a long-distance migrant, often flying south in the winter months. They are especially popular among birdwatchers due to their beautiful plumage and relatively rare sightings.

 

Scientific classification of Costa’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species:
S. calliope

 

Binomial name of Calliope Hummingbird is: Selasphorus calliope (Gould, 1847)

Calliope Hummingbird

Adult Female Hummingbird at a feeder in suburban Charlotte, NC.  The bird is overwintering in Charlotte.

Adult Female Hummingbird at a feeder in suburban Charlotte, NC. The bird is overwintering in Charlotte.

Male Calliope Hummingbird perching pretty!!

Male Calliope Hummingbird sitting on a branch.

The Calliope Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird native to western North America, ranging from parts of western Canada down to the Mexican border. This species of hummingbird can be easily identified by its striking green back and wings, white underside, and an unmistakable bright magenta gorget (throat). Both males and females have similar plumage, but males tend to be brighter in color than females.

The Calliope Hummingbird is considered to be a rare species of hummingbird often found in California during the summer months. They can often be seen feeding on nectar-rich flowers or drinking from feeders, as well as hovering around backyards and gardens with plenty of trees and plants. This species of hummingbird is also a long-distance migrant, often flying south in the winter months. They are especially popular among birdwatchers due to their beautiful plumage and relatively rare sightings.

 

Scientific classification of Costa’s Hummingbird:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species:
S. calliope

 

Binomial name of Calliope Hummingbird is: Selasphorus calliope (Gould, 1847)

Conclusion

The species of hummingbirds discussed in this article are all wonderful birds to observe and enjoy, with each one providing its own unique behaviors and characteristics. From the vibrant Anna’s Hummingbird to the flashy Costa’s Hummingbird, there is no shortage of amazing birds to watch in California! So the next time you’re out birdwatching, keep an eye out for these beautiful hummingbirds – you won’t be disappointed!

With so many species of hummingbirds calling the Golden State their home, there are plenty of opportunities for bird watchers to observe and appreciate these tiny birds. From Allen’s Hummingbirds to Black-chinned Hummingbirds, these unique species of hummingbird provide an incredible source of entertainment and inspiration. So grab your binoculars and take a closer look at the vibrant colors, soaring acrobatics, and thunderous wings as you watch these amazing birds in action!

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