13 Types of Hummingbirds in California

Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by Lily Aldrin

There are 27 different species of hummingbirds that have been documented across America.

Some of these may be seen annually, while others are more of a rarity or a fluke.

Seven hummingbird species are often seen, and six are considered uncommon across California.

California is home to 14 different hummingbird species, making it a prime location for hummingbird enthusiasts.

ImageName
Allen's HummingbirdAllen's Hummingbird
Violet-Crowned HummingbirdViolet-Crowned Hummingbird
Black-Chinned HummingbirdBlack-Chinned Hummingbird
Mexican VioletearMexican Violetear
Rufous HummingbirdRufous Hummingbird
Broad-Billed HummingbirdBroad-Billed Hummingbird
Costa HummingbirdCosta Hummingbird
Ruby-Throated HummingbirdRuby-Throated Hummingbird
Broad-tailed HummingbirdBroad-tailed Hummingbird
Blue-Throated Mountain GemBlue-Throated Mountain Gem
Rivoli's HummingbirdRivoli's Hummingbird
Anna's HummingbirdAnna's Hummingbird
Calliope HummingbirdCalliope Hummingbird

Types of Hummingbirds in California

1. Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbirds are stunning birds with vividly iridescent plumage. As is the case with the vast majority of birds, the males possess more distinctive markings.

They bear black and green markings on their foreheads, and their sides and tails are a rusty tint.

Their necks feature an iridescent orange-red color, which is most noticeable.

The coloration of the females and babies is quite similar to that of the males, although their necks are spotted rather than orange.

They have a mostly green coloration, and the rust coloration is limited to the tips of their tails, which seem to be white.

Adult Allen’s Hummingbirds reach a length of 3.4 to 3.5 inches and possess a wing span of around 4.2 inches when fully grown.

Habitat

Along the coast of California, you will find the majority of these birds living in gardens, meadows, and brushy woodlands.

The majority of their range is in California, although they have been seen in the northernmost parts of Oregon.

Because of their striking resemblance, Allen’s Hummingbirds and Rufous Hummingbirds are sometimes mistaken for one another.

The female Allen’s stork and young birds have narrower outer tail plumes than males do. This is the most noticeable difference.

They spend the entire winter across Mexico and then make their way north along the coast of California when it becomes warmer.

2. Violet-Crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird
Credits – Wikipedia

This gorgeous tiny creature is native to Mexico, but there have been reports of it venturing over the border into the southern United States on occasion.

They possess a slate grey back, a completely white front, a violet cap atop their heads, and an orange beak having a black end. 

There have been isolated reports of the violet-crowned hummingbird being seen in the state of California, generally south of San Jose.

They are recognized to be visitors to the state only very seldom.

3. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned hummingbirds

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a vivacious species of bird that may be seen throughout significant portions of the California coast between the months of March and October.

The male Black-chinned Hummingbirds possess iridescent purple bases to their otherwise black necks, which gives rise to the species name, “black-chinned.”

The remaining parts of their bodies have a metallic grey and white coloration.

Female Black-chinned Hummingbirds possess white on their throats, and the ends of their tail feathers are white.

They don’t have the dark and purple coloration seen in their male counterparts’ necks.

The length of a Black-chinned Hummingbird is around 3.5 inches, and it weighs just about 0.2 ounces. Their wing span is 4.4 inches in total length.

Breeding takes up a substantial portion of the time spent by Black-chinned Hummingbirds in the interior regions of western states.

They spend the winter across Mexico and along the Gulf Coast since they are migrating and prefer warmer climates.

Food

Although most hummingbirds consume just nectar, Black-chinned Hummingbirds have been known to consume spiders and other tiny insects in addition to nectar.

In addition to this, they employ spider silk to strengthen the plant down that is used to construct their nests.

Read:  Why Won't Hummingbirds Come to My Feeder?

4. Mexican Violetear

Mexican Violetear
Credits – Wikipedia

Although the bigger Mexican violetear is only frequently seen across Central America and Mexico, there have recently been reports of sightings within a few places in the United States, particularly in the state of Texas. 

The body of these bigger hummingbirds is emerald greenish, the wings are black, and there is a spot of iridescent violet over the face of each bird. 

Although the Mexican violetear is thought to be extremely uncommon across California, it is not completely out of the question that the species may show up there on occasion.

5. Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

The blossoms that Rufous Hummingbirds feast on are as vividly colored as the birds themselves, and the birds themselves are just as vibrant and lively.

Because of their similar appearance, Rufous Hummingbirds and Allen’s Hummingbirds are sometimes mistaken for one another.

They are completely brilliant orange, but there is a white spot just below the neck on each one.

The males are distinguished from the females by the iridescent red spot that is located in the center of their necks.

In comparison to other species of hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds are among the tiniest.

Their length is often less than 3.0 inches, and their typical wingspan is 4.4 inches.

The migrations of Rufous Hummingbirds are among the largest of any hummingbird species, especially when compared to the size of these birds.

In the winter season, they traverse a distance of around 4,000 miles one way, beginning in the far northwest of Alaska and ending on the Gulf Coast as well as in Mexico.

Owing to their small size, Rufous Hummingbirds are among the most dangerous species of hummingbirds.

They will drive away even bigger hummingbirds, particularly while they are migrating.

6. Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird
Credits – Wikipedia

Arizona and New Mexico are both the only states across the United States where it is recognized that the broad-billed hummingbird lays its eggs and raises its young.

Because males have a neck that is purplish-blue and a belly that is bluish-green, they are easy to identify. 

In addition to it, the tip of their orange beak is black. The females of this species have a distinctive black beak and an overall pale green appearance on their upper parts.

Range

In spite of the fact that broad-billed hummingbirds are not regarded to be widespread across California, individuals of this species have been seen somewhere in the region somewhere about a dozen occasions. 

The coastline between Monterey and San Francisco, as well as the fringes of San Diego and Los Angeles, may provide you with the greatest opportunity to find what you’re looking for.

7. Costa Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a brilliantly colored bird that lives in desert environments and is very noticeable.

At first look, Costa’s Hummingbirds stand out from the crowd. They have necks that are a shimmering purple that stretch out along their chests, as well as a crown that is an extremely vivid purple.

In contrast to the purple on its bellies, their backs possess a vivid green color, which fades to whitish on their tummies.

Although female Costa’s don’t have the eye-catching violet that their male counterparts do, they possess the same greenish backs and whitish fronts as their male counterparts.

Range

One of the little species of hummingbirds found across California is Costa’s Hummingbird. They don’t really grow to be longer than 3.4 inches and weigh more than 0.12 ounces at any point.

The majority of Costa’s Hummingbird population may be found across the deserts of Baja, California, and Southwest Arizona.

During the mating season, they have been seen in Utah and Nevada, which are both quite a ways to the north.

In contrast to the majority of other species of hummingbirds, Costa’s Hummingbirds construct their nests close to the ground, no more than 7 feet above the ground at least.

In the midst of the deserts or deciduous woodland is where they often construct their nests using bushes.

Read:  How to Attract Hummingbirds to Feeder?

8. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

There are no known populations of ruby-throated hummingbirds, mostly in the western portion of the United States.

However, they are quite widespread in the eastern part of the country. They possess a greenish back, and the undersides of their bodies are white.

The male’s neck is a deep crimson color, although depending on the lighting, it may seem black. 

They spend the winter across Central America and arrive in the spring in large numbers at their breeding sites in the United States.

Several of those traveling to the eastern states do so on a single trip that takes them over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is regarded to be an uncommon resident of California due to the fact that it is only sighted on occasion across the state.

The seashore is where most sightings have been reported.

9. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

These desert-dwelling species, also known as Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, may be found throughout the Southwest in a few of the regions with the highest elevations.

The nickname “Broad-tailed Hummingbird” comes from the fact that this species’ distinctive round black tail extends further than the span of its wings, making it stand out from other species of hummingbirds.

The male Broad-tails possess a rose-red band that is very noticeable on the front of their throats.

Both males and females have a back that is iridescent greenish and a white circle that surrounds their eyes.

The only difference between the sexes is this spot. The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is among the bigger kinds of hummingbirds that can be found across California.

It has a size of over 4.1 inches and a wingspan that is 5.24 inches.

Habitat

The mating season of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird is spent among high forests and meadows at altitudes that may occasionally reach a height of 10,000 feet.

These altitudes are unique to the mountain ranges of Northwest California and can only be found there.

Following the conclusion of their mating season, these birds go south toward Mexico to spend the winter there.

The heart rate of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird may be slowed down to compensate for the low temperatures that can be experienced at the higher altitude where these hummingbirds inhabit.

The vast majority of hummingbirds are recognized for having very rapid heart rates; therefore, this is an extremely rare occurrence.

10. Blue-Throated Mountain Gem

Blue-throated Mountain Gem
Credits – Wikipedia

The blue-throated mountain gem seems to be the species of hummingbird that is native to the United States and has the greatest nesting territory.

Only in some places, such as New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona is it usual to come across them. Both sexes possess the same facial markings, which include two white bars on the cheeks, a greenish back, and a grey breast. 

The males possess a neck that has a brilliant blue color. In the natural, you may find them along streams that are bordered with flowers.

They typically only visit the United States during the mating season, but if they come upon a very nice feeding site, they might remain there throughout the winter.

The blue-throated mountain gem is an extremely uncommon traveler to California state and has been observed on a few occasions in the southeastern part of the state (south and Los Angeles).

11. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli's Hummingbird
Credits – Wikipedia

The name “magnificent hummingbird” was once given to the species of hummingbird currently recognized as that Rivoli’s hummingbird.

The heads of males are a deep purple, while their throats are a more vibrant teal hue. The body of this creature is a greenish and brown color.

In certain lighting conditions, they may have an overall dark appearance. 

The females don’t have this coloring; instead, they are green on top and white on the bottom.

They have a longer beak and are somewhat bigger than the majority of hummingbirds observed across the United States.

They like to live in shady valleys and mountainous woods, and most of them may be found in Mexico.

Read:  When to Put Out Hummingbird Feeders? (Statewise)

Because it has been seen a limited number of times across California (near the coast), Rivoli’s Hummingbird is considered to be very uncommon across the state.

12. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna Hummingbird

Although Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the simplest to see across California, this does not in any way diminish their incredible beauty or intelligence.

The majority of Anna’s Hummingbird’s body is greenish and grey, with shades and gradients of these hues extending all the way around it.

The males are easily distinguished from the females because of their striking magenta heads, which extend all the right down their necks.

The typical length of Anna’s Hummingbird is a little less than four inches, and its wingspans measure slightly less than 5.0 inches.

Range

Due to the fact that they often don’t really migrate, these pink hummingbirds may be found anywhere across the state.

They are among the most frequent species of hummingbird found in that area, and they often remain throughout the whole Pacific coast of California.

During the mating season, when the male Anna’s Hummingbirds are courting females, the males will execute spectacular dives. This makes them easier to locate.

In order to successfully woo a potential partner, each bird must first ascend to an altitude of at least 40 meters (130 feet) in the sky and then dive headfirst toward the ground.

13. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

During their seasonal migrations, Calliope Hummingbirds, which are native to the San Francisco Bay Area, may be seen farther north.

The male Calliope Hummingbird retains a tiny but brilliant magenta spot on his neck, termed a gorget.

The Calliope Hummingbird’s coloring is more subdued than the coloring of other hummingbirds. Over their backs, men and females alike possess plumage that is glossy black and greenish, and their tails are a dark color.

The Calliope Hummingbird is the tiniest bird that may be found anywhere across the United States.

They only grow to an average size of 3.2 inches and possess a wing spread that is little more than 4.0 inches.

Range

The range of the Calliope Hummingbird, which begins all along the Pacific California coast and extends all the way to the northernmost parts of Canada during the summer and spring months, makes it among the hummingbird species that live the furthest north.

On their trip north, they may be spotted most often across the northern parts of California and Oregon, as well as along the Rocky Mountains; on their way to the beach, they travel primarily on the Pacific Coast.

Calliope Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds throughout the United States, yet they are strong when it comes to protecting their territory.

They have proven reported to drive red-tailed hawks away from their nests, despite the fact that they are the tiniest birds throughout the country.

Check out this article on Types of Hummingbirds in Ohio.

Conclusion

One of the most interesting and beautiful birds that can be found in the state of California is the hummingbird.

It is quite helpful to have knowledge about the several kinds of hummingbirds that may be found across California.

After reading this article, you will be able to distinguish between the many species of hummingbirds that can be found in the state of California.

Take your camera with you and go see these stunning birds in their natural habitat.

FAQ

Do hummingbirds remain within California during the whole year?

Hummingbird species such as the Allen’s, Anna’s, and Calliopes are permanent residents of California. Hummingbirds that winter over California will begin to arrive in the state in January and will remain there until the month of October.

How long do you think hummingbirds spend in the Golden State?

The following 14 species of hummingbirds have indeed been documented across the state of California. Hummingbirds that are on their way north for the winter may come as early as February and typically depart after October.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.