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Are There Hummingbirds in Ohio At All?


Ohio is one of the best states for birding. It sits right in the middle of a migratory pathway that brings millions of birds to the state.

Among those many birds are hummingbirds! Although only one hummingbird species breeds in Ohio, some other species have occurred too.

How many hummingbirds can be seen in Ohio? Where can you spot them and how can you tell them apart?


Hummingbirds in Ohio

According to eBird data, Ohio has only one regular hummingbird species, yet some others are spotted from time to time. Although Ohio isn’t exactly the hummingbird capital, it’s still worth it to keep your eyes open; you never know, you might see someone more exotic!


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.

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

Ohio has one main hummingbird species but there are eight hummingbird species on the state list!

Most of the time, when you go birding in Ohio, the only hummingbird you come across is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. However, once in a while, other, rare migrant hummingbirds also occur, usually in the fall.

Those rare visitors wander to Ohio from western states and are mostly discovered at feeders.

Once those “lost” hummingbirds find a feeder, they tend to stay for a few weeks or even a couple months. They don’t want to leave a reliable food source in unfamiliar surroundings. However, if they don’t leave by November, sadly, many of those hummingbirds probably perish.

The following rare hummingbird species are the ones most likely to show up in Ohio, mostly at hummingbird feeders.


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.

A rare but regular visitor in late summer, fall, and winter.


Allen’s 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.

This west coast species is also regular from late summer to winter.


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 feeders.

Rare but regular in late fall.


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.

Small numbers of these western hummingbirds have occurred in Ohio in November.


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.

Small numbers of Anna’s Hummingbirds have migrated to Ohio in fall and stayed for the winter.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long do hummingbirds stay in Ohio?

Hummingbirds stay in Ohio for the summer. Rare hummingbird migrants stay in Ohio for fall and even the winter.

Why does Ohio only have one hummingbird species?

Ohio only has one hummingbird species as a summer breeder. Only one hummingbird breeds in most of the eastern USA. However, several other hummingbird species do occur as rare migrants.

When should you put up hummingbird feeders in Ohio?

Hummingbirds start arriving early so you should put up hummingbird feeders in Ohio in early spring.


More in Ohio: 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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