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Hummingbirds In Michigan – One Common Species & Rare Visitors

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Michigan is a great place to see hummingbirds! Although the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only regular species, it’s a common summer breeder in most parts of the state.

Rare hummingbird species have also occurred in Michigan!

How many hummingbird species have occurred in Michigan? How can you tell them apart?

 

The Only Regular Species

As always, we base our state-related articles on eBird data. But what do you do when there is just one truly common hummingbird in this state?

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Length: 3.75 inches
Wingspan: 4.5 inches

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the common, small hummingbird of eastern North America. Although other, rare species can occasionally occur, at eastern feeders, this species is the de-facto hummingbird.

Males are green above, have some olive on their belly, a white chest and semi-collar, and a tiny white spot behind each eye. True to their name, they also have a beautiful, ruby-red throat. However, as with most hummingbirds, those colors only show in certain lighting.

They also have a dark, slightly forked tail, and a long, needle-like beak. Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds look quite different from their male counterparts! They are also green above but have a grayish throat, and white tips on their tail.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are common in woods, second growth, and gardens near woods from central and southern Canada to Florida and Texas. Although they feed on their own, several can congregate at feeders, especially during migration! They also feed from a wide variety of small flowers.

They start arriving in April, with the last ones leaving Michigan in November, so it’s safe to say they stay for a while!

Key identifications:

  • Red throat and white semi-collar.
  • Dark, slightly forked tail.
  • Females have a white spot behind their eyes, a hint of a dusky mask, and the tail of perched birds is longer than their wingtips.

 

Rare Visitors

Michigan only has one breeding (or resident) species of hummingbird, but eight are on the state list!

While the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the most common, once in a rare while, lucky birders find other hummingbird species too. Rare hummingbirds in Michigan usually show up at feeders, and most often in late summer or fall.

If they find a feeder, most stay at that reliable food source for at least a few weeks, and some stay even longer. Sadly, if hummingbirds in Michigan don’t leave by late fall, they probably succumb to the winter weather.

Of the seven rare hummingbird species that have occurred in Michigan, the following species are most likely to show up in the state:

 

Rufous Hummingbird

rufous-hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbirds are rare but regular fall visitors to the state. They are easy to confuse for Allen’s Hummingbirds thanks to similar rusty plumage. Usually, both species are more common near the West Coast and Western areas, with Rufous Hummingbirds migrating as far as Alaska.

With their orange plumage, they fit right into the fall scene. Females are more greenish in color, with some rufous on their sides.

 

Black-chinned Hummingbird

black-chinned-hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbirds sometimes accidentally migrate to Michigan in the fall instead of moving south to Mexico. They are regularly spotted around the East Coast. They won’t stay for long, so keep your eyes peeled on your feeders!

They are beautiful small hummers with a black head and a rather laid-black plumage. In the right lighting, their purplish gorget makes an appearance too! Females look similar, just duller.

 

Costa’s Hummingbird

Costas-Hummingbird-feeding

Costa’s Hummingbirds have occurred in Michigan in November. Like the Black-chinned Hummingbirds and other rare visitors, for unknown reasons, they migrated northeast instead of to the south.

They are green above, with some beautiful purple near their faces.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird

annas-hummingbird

Amazingly, some Anna’s Hummingbirds have migrated to Michigan from the west coast. Even though the west is part of their official range, many birds wander off towards the east; this is not as uncommon as you’d think.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are easy to recognize by their shiny pink heads.

 

Mexican Violetear

On a few rare occasions, this Mexican species has migrated to Michigan during the summer months! They are beautiful green hummingbirds with some blue in their plumage. If they do go on a long journey to the unknown, they usually stick to the east – the furthest recorded sighting was in Canada!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hummingbirds common in Michigan?

Hummingbirds are common in Michigan. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a common breeding species throughout the state.

Is Michigan too far north for hummingbirds?

Thankfully, Michigan is not too far north for hummingbirds. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are common summer residents, but when it comes to other species, they are rare visitors.

Do any other hummingbirds accidentally wander to Michigan from time to time?

Hummingbirds do accidentally wander to Michigan from time to time, especially western species such as Rufous Hummingbirds and Anna’s Hummingbirds.

What months are hummingbirds in Michigan?

The months that hummingbirds are in Michigan are from May to September, with some arriving as early as April and some staying until November.

 

More in Michigan: Most common birds | Hawks | Owls | Woodpeckers | Ducks | 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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