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Hummingbird Species You Can See In Arizona [15 Regulars]

Costas-Hummingbird-feeding

Arizona is one of the most exciting states for birding. Hundreds of interesting birds live in Arizona’s deserts, mountains, and other wild habitats.

Several of those beautiful birds are hummingbirds! In fact, Arizona is probably the best place to see hummingbirds in the entire country.

How many hummingbirds live in Arizona? Where can you see them, and how can you tell them apart?

 

Hummingbird Populations in Arizona

As a southern state, it’s only natural to presume there are more species than in other states. If this is your course of thought, you are absolutely correct – in fact, their populations consist of at least 17 species (although some of them are so rare, they aren’t even seen every year)!

But how many of them are regularly seen? And which species are these? Leaning on eBird data, we sorted out the species that were seen in the last year, starting ith the most common one, the Anna’s Hummingbird.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Scientific name: Calypte anna

Length: 4 inches
Wingspan: 5.25 inches

Anna’s Hummingbirds are one of the most common hummingbirds on the west coast. These little beauties live in parks, gardens, and similar habitats from British Columbia to northern Mexico.

Ornamental plantings and gardens have also helped this little bird expand to many parts of Arizona. Anna’s Hummingbirds are dusky green, have straight beaks, and a bit of white above their eyes.

Although females are fairly dull, male Anna’s Hummingbirds have shining fuchsia pink-red on their throat and head. This species is pretty common and easy to see in most of its range.

Like so many other hummingbird species, Anna’s Hummingbirds forage at flowering bushes and feeders. They also catch small insects in flight, especially in the morning and when they are nesting.

In most places, Anna’s Hummingbirds are resident all year long. However, some make movements north and south of their breeding range and some birds have wandered to the easter coast!

Key identifications:

  • Males have pink-red on their heads.
  • Both sexes have dusky-gray-green underparts.
  • White mark above and behind each eye.

 

Broad-billed Hummingbird

broad-billed-hummingbird

Scientific name: Cyanthus latirostris
Length: 4 inches
Wingspan: 5.75 inches

The Broad-billed Hummingbird is a small to medium-sized, distinctive hummingbird with green upperparts, a broad, forked tail, and a red beak with a dark tip. Males also have a violet-blue throat, and dark, blue-green underparts.

Females have grayish underparts, a white line going back from their eyes, and a dusky mask.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds occur from southeastern Arizona and adjacent New Mexico to Mexico. In the USA, they mostly live along streams on canyons. However, further south, we also see this hummingbird species in a variety of subtropical and tropical habitats.

Most of the birds that nest in the USA migrate south for the winter. However, some Broad-billed Hummingbirds have learned to migrate east to Louisiana and Florida.

Like some other western hummingbirds, they go there to take advantage of the many hummingbird feeders. This species is usually bold and easy to see, especially at feeders. However, they can also forage at a wide variety of flowering shrubs.

Key identifications:

  • Dark blue-green underparts.
  • Red beak with a dark tip.
  • Females have dingy gray underparts and a pale line going back from their eyes.

 

Costa’s Hummingbird

costas-hummingbird

Scientific name: Calypte costae

Length: 3.5 inches
Wingspan: 4.75 inches

Costa’s Hummingbirds are small hummingbirds of the southwestern deserts. These little hummingbirds are one of the more common hummingbirds in arid habitats of southern California, western and southern Arizona, and parts of Nevada and Utah.

This species also occurs in northwestern Mexico and some birds also migrate there for the winter.

These beautiful little birds are pretty easy to see in gardens and all sorts of desert habitats, especially at flowering plants. Luckily, Costa’s Hummingbirds are also common visitors to hummingbird feeders.

Males are beautiful little birds with deep, shining purple on their heads, and on their long throat patches. They are also green above, have dusky green on their belly, and a small white eyebrow.

Females are plainer with green upperparts, mostly white underparts, and a bit of white above and behind their eyes. Both sexes also have a short tail, and shortish, slightly curved beaks.

Key identifications:

  • Small hummingbird with a short tail and fairly short bill.
  • Males have a beautiful, long purple throat patch.
  • Females have whitish underparts, and a small pale eyebrow.

 

Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli's hummingbird

Scientific name: Eugenes fulgens

Length: 5.25 inches
Wingspan: 7.5 inches

Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are one of the most spectacular hummingbirds in the USA. These big, beautiful hummingbirds have long, needle-like beaks, and are as big as a warbler!

Males are green above, black below, have a big, broad tail, and a small white spot behind each eye. In dim lighting, their head can look black but when the light hits it, they show a beautiful amethyst crown and a stunning berylline green throat!

Females aren’t nearly as colorful. They are green above, dusky gray-green below, have a white line going back from their eyes, and a white line from their chin to the lower side of their face.

Rivoli’s Hummingbirds mostly live in Mexico and northern Central America. However, some also breed in the mountains of southeastern Arizona and adjacent New Mexico.

In those areas, they are pretty common and easy to see as they forage at flowering bushes and feeders.

Key identifications:

  • Big hummingbird with a long beak.
  • Males a small white spot behind their eyes and have black underparts.
  • Females have a green rump, a white line going back from their eyes, and a white line on the lower part of their face.

 

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Scientific name: Archilocus alexandri
Length: 3.75 inches
Wingspan: 4.75 inches

Black-chinned Hummingbirds replace the Ruby-throated Hummingbird west of the Rocky Mountains and in parts of central and southern Texas. They are green above and dusky gray below with a white semi-collar and small pale spot behind their eyes.

Males have a beautiful dark purple throat with a black chin, and a black, slightly forked tail. Females have a dusky gray throat, grayish crown, hint of a dark mask, and a slightly forked tail with white tips on the outer tail feathers.

On perched females, the wings nearly reach the end of their tail. These pretty hummingbirds are common at feeders from parts of southern British Columbia to northern Mexico. They also feed from a variety of small tubular flowers and live in riparian zones, brushy habitats, and gardens.

In late summer, Black-chinned Hummingbirds migrate to western Mexico for the winter. However, some also winter at feeders from Louisiana to Florida.

Key identifications:

  • Dark throat with a white semi-collar.
  • Grayish belly and black, slightly forked tail.
  • On females, look for the grayish crown, long, slightly curved beak, and rounded wing tips that nearly reach the end of their tail.

 

Blue-throated Mountain-gem

blue throated hummingbird

Scientific name: Lampornis clemenciae

Length: 5 inches
Wingspan: 8 inches

Blue-throated Mountain-gems are big, beautiful hummingbirds with a white line behind their eyes, white line on the lower part of their face, and a bronzy rump. The rest of their upperparts are green, and both sexes have gray underparts.

Males also have a shining blue throat, and both sexes have big white spots on the corners of their dark tails.

These big hummingbirds live in streamside forests in the mountains of southeastern Arizona, and in some other parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. They also live in the mountains of Mexico, and birds that breed in the USA winter there.

Blue-throated Mountain-gems take nectar from understory plants, are regular at feeders, and commonly nest in sheds and other structures. Fortunately, these fun hummingbirds are pretty easy to see. They can be hard to miss; the Blue-throated Mountain-gem is the biggest hummingbird species in the USA!

Key identifications:

  • Big hummingbird with gray underparts.
  • Males have a blue throat.
  • Both sexes have a big, dark tail with white corners.

 

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Scientific name: Ramosomyia violiceps

Length: 4.5 inches
Wingspan: 6 inches

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are beautiful hummingbirds that bring color to arid riparian zones during the summer months. In other words, in the USA, they mostly occur along rivers and streams that flow through deserts.

This pretty species is much more common in Mexico but we can also see them in southeastern Arizona and adjacent New Mexico. One of the best places is the San Pedro River as well as feeder set ups near there and in the surrounding area.

The Violet-crowned Hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird species with an olive back, white underparts, and a red beak with a dark tip. Both sexes have a beautiful violet cap and a small white spot behind each eye. Juveniles look like a drabber version of the adult bird.

Like many hummingbirds, the easiest way to see a Violet-crowned Hummingbird is by visiting a feeder set up in its range. However, you can also see them foraging at flowers.

Key identifications:

  • Olive above, bright white below.
  • Red beak with a dark tip.
  • Violet cap.

 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed hummingbird

Scientific name: Selasphorus platcercus

Length: 4 inches
Wingspan: 5.25 inches

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are one of the more common hummingbird species in the Rocky Mountains. If you see a hummingbird while birding in and near the Rockies during the summer months, there’s a good chance it’s a Broad-tailed.

These montane hummingbirds are green above, buffy and green below, have a pale eyering, and a bit of orange on the base of their big, broad tail. Males also have a rose-red throat while females have small spots on their throat.

Like many other hummingbirds, Broad-taileds take nectar from flowering bushes and also visit feeders. They occur higher than most other hummingbirds in North America, even breeding as high as 10,000 feet!

After breeding, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds in the USA migrate to montane habitats in Mexico for the winter. No matter the season, this pretty hummingbird is easy to see.

When visiting the Rockies in summer, listen for the high-pitched twittering sound males make in flight!

Key identifications:

  • Rose-red throat with green and buff underparts.
  • Pale eyering.
  • A bit of orange on the base of its big, broad tail.

 

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
Length: 3.75 inches
Wingspan: 4.5 inches

Rufous Hummingbirds breed in the coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest and then fly to central Mexico for the winter. Some even breed as far north as southern Alaska!

Males are pretty, pumpkin orange hummingbirds with white on the upper part of their chest, and an orange-red throat. Some males also have green on their back and crown.

Female Rufous Hummingbirds are green above and white below with pale rufous highlights on their underparts. They also have rufous on the base of their tail, and white tips on their outer tail feathers.

This species often visits feeders but they can also forage at any number of small tubular flowers. Although they are common birds from the Rocky Mountains west to California, several Rufous Hummingbirds also migrate to feeders in various parts of the eastern USA.

Happily, they have become regular at feeders and flowering bushes in coastal areas from Texas to Florida.

Key identifications:

  • Pumpkin orange plumage, especially on the back and head.
  • Orange-red throat.
  • Rufous on the base of their tail and rump, and broad outer tail feathers.

 

Lucifer Hummingbird

Lucifer Hummingbird

Scientific name: Calothorax lucifer

Length: 3.5 inches
Wingspan: 4 inches

Lucifer Hummingbirds are small, uncommon hummingbirds that mostly live in Mexico. In the USA, we only see this prize species in southeastern Arizona, and in the Big Bend area of western Texas.

Lucifer Hummingbirds have a long, curved beak, and buff and green underparts. Males also have a beautiful, long, shining red-purple throat patch and a dark, forked tail. Females, on the other hand, have a plain, buffy throat, buffy line behind their eyes, and orange on the base on their broad tails.

These special little hummingbirds can be hard to see because they often live in remote desert habitats. Even there, they can be local as they move around in search of flowering agave and other desert plants.

Luckily, they sometimes visit feeders too! After breeding, Lucifer Hummingbirds migrate to central and southern Mexico. The “Lucifer” part of this bird’s name means “light bearing” and is associated with the bright shining color of the male’s throat.

Key identifications:

  • Long curved beak.
  • Males have a long, red-violet throat patch and forked tail.
  • Females have a buffy line behind their eyes and on their chest.

 

Berylline Hummingbird

Berylline Hummingbird

Scientific name: Saucerottia beryllina

Length: 4.25 inches
Wingspan: 5.75 inches

Berylline Hummingbirds mostly live in Mexico. However, since the 1960s, more of these pretty hummingbirds have been showing up in southeastern Arizona.

Both sexes look very similar and have green plumage with a dark-colored rump, slightly curved reddish beak, a small pale spot behind each eye, and red-brown in their wings. Even in flight, this reddish-brown color is notable!

Berylline Hummingbirds also have red-brown tails and juveniles resemble adults but have grayish bellies.

Small numbers of this typically Mexican species occur in Arizona during the summer months and also breed on occasion. Like other uncommon and rare hummingbirds, the easiest way to see them is at feeder set ups.

While watching a good set of feeders in a wooded Arizona canyon, keep an eye out for a green hummingbird with a red-brown tail. A hummingbird with that description will probably be a Berylline and certainly so if it also has red-brown wings.

Key identifications:

  • Mostly green with a reddish beak.
  • Red-brown wings.
  • Red-brown tail and a dark rump.

 

Calliope Hummingbird

calliope-hummingbird

Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
Length: 3.25 inches
Wingspan: 4.25 inches

Calliope Hummingbirds have the distinction of being the smallest bird in North America. These feathered sprites are green above, pale buffy or pale greenish below, and have a short, squared tail.

They also have shorter, straighter beaks than other hummingbirds and a pale mark behind each eye. Male Calliopes have rose-red streaks on their throats while females have fine, dark streaking.

Calliope Hummingbirds breed in open coniferous woodlands from British Columbia to Utah and parts of central California. During summer and migration to and from Mexico, we can see Calliope Hummingbirds at flowering bushes and feeders.

They can also show up at feeders well east of their range and have become annual visitors to Florida and some other places. Perhaps to avoid being chased away by other, larger hummingbirds, Calliopes are pretty quiet and good at keeping out of sight.

If you see a tiny hummingbird suddenly sneak into the feeder, it could be a Calliope!

Key identifications:

  • Small hummingbird with a squared tail and straight, fairly short beak.
  • No rufous in its tail.
  • Streaked throat.

 

White-eared Hummingbird

White-eared Hummingbird

Scientific name: Basilinna leucotis

Length: 3.75 inches
Wingspan: 5.75 inches

White-eared Hummingbirds are common hummingbirds in Mexico and northern Central America. They live in all sorts of montane habitats where they forage on flowering bushes and other plants.

Each summer, some White-eared Hummingbirds also range into the mountains of southern Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. Although lucky birders might find these rare birds in forested canyons, most see them at feeder set-ups.

Sometimes, you can also find these special hummingbirds by listening for the sharp metallic chip notes they make.

White-eared Hummingbirds have bright red beaks with a dark tip, and broad, dark tails. Their “white ears” are a thick white line that goes back from each eye.

Male White-eared Hummingbirds are mostly dark green with some white on their belly, and have blackish heads with some dark green on their throat. Females have a black mask, and green spotting on their pale underparts.

Key identifications:

  • Red beak with a dark tip.
  • Broad white line on the back part of its face.
  • Male has a black and dark green throat, female has green spotting on her underparts.

 

Plain-capped Starthroat

Scientific name: Heliomaster constantii

Length: 5 inches
Wingspan: 7 inches

The Plain-capped Starthroat mostly lives in dry forest habitats in Mexico and Central America. However, on occasion, small numbers also occur in southern Arizona. These wandering birds can occur from April to November and are usually spotted at feeder set ups.

However, since Plain-capped Starthroats frequently forage at flowering trees in other parts of their range, birders should keep an eye out for them at similar situations in Arizona.

The Plain-capped Starthroat is a unique, fair-sized hummingbird with a long, straight beak and a rather short, rounded tail. If you see one in the USA, it will be pretty easy to identify because no other hummingbird in the nation fits that description!

Adults are olive above with a white line on their lower back, and grayish below. They also have a white mark behind each eye, a white mark on the lower part of their face, dark mask, and beautiful orange-red throat.

Key identifications:

  • Long straight beak.
  • White line on lower part of face.
  • White mark in lower back and rump.

 

Allen’s Hummingbird

allens-hummingbird

Scientific name: Selasphorus sasin

Length: 3.75 inches
Wingspan: 4.25 inches

The Allen’s Hummingbird is one of the key hummingbird species of California. Except for a small part of Oregon, this pretty little bird mostly breeds in coastal scrub in The Golden State.

In addition to their breeding range, we can recognize Allen’s Hummingbirds by their orange underparts and tail, and green upperparts. Males have a beautiful red-orange throat patch while females have bits of red-orange and green spotting on their throat.

Females also have orange on their rump and the base of their tail. Both sexes have a pale spot behind their eyes, white chest, and a slightly curved beak.

In their breeding range, Allen’s Hummingbirds are pretty easy to see. They like to forage at flowering bushes and also visit feeders. Like other hummingbirds, they also catch small insects in flight.

After breeding, Allen’s Hummingbirds migrate to a fairly small area in the mountains of central Mexico.

Key identifications:

  • Orange underparts, green upperparts, and long, pointed tail feathers.
  • Males have a red-orange throat.
  • Females have a pale orange eyebrow.

 

FAQ

Why are there so many hummingbirds in Arizona?

There are so many hummingbirds in Arizona because the state has a mild climate, and the southern part of Arizona has subtropical habitats used by birds that typically occur in Mexico.

Do hummingbirds stay in Arizona all year?

Yes, a few hummingbird stay in Arizona all year although most migrate south for the winter.

Should you keep hummingbird feeders up year-round in Arizona?

Yes, you should keep hummingbird feeders up year-round in Arizona. There will always be some hummingbirds that use them.

What is the hummingbird capital of Arizona?

The hummingbird capital of Arizona is Sierra Vista, especially Ramsey Canyon in the southeastern part of the state.

Does Arizona have any rare hummingbirds visiting?

Arizona does have some rare hummingbirds visiting. Some of the rarer hummingbird species are the Berylline Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, and Plain-capped Starthroat.

 

More in Arizona: Most common birds | Hawks | Owls | State Bird

About the Author

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell has been focused on all things avian since the age of 7. Since then, he has helped with ornithological field work in the USA and Peru, and has guided many birding tours, especially in Costa Rica. He develops birding apps for BirdingFieldGuides and loves to write about birds, especially in his adopted country of Costa Rica.

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