Hello hummingbird enthusiasts! If you’re a nature lover in Colorado, then you’re in for a treat.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you the fascinating world of hummingbirds in the Centennial State.
With their vibrant colors, dazzling flights, and tiny size, hummingbirds are a sight to behold.
From the Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the Rufous Hummingbird, we’ll be exploring the top 11 types of hummingbirds that call Colorado home.
So grab your binoculars and get ready to learn about these tiny, feathered jewels that bring joy and wonder to Colorado’s landscapes!
|Blue Throated Mountain Gem Humming Bird|
|Broad Billed Hummingbird|
Types of Hummingbirds in Colorado
1. Rufous Hummingbird
Male Rufous hummingbirds are easily identified by their bright copper-red gorgets, which contrast with their white upper breasts and rufous crowns, tails, and sides (thus the name).
A green tint can appear on the forehead and backs of certain males of this frequent hummingbird species.
Female Rufous hummingbirds are often bigger than males and may be identified by their greenish back and head as well as their white, speckled neck with an orange patch in the center.
Feminine birds have rufous-colored plumage at their bases and white tips on their tail and wings feathers.
Rufous hummingbirds, who are notoriously hostile and protective, emit a range of chipped, high-pitched, and chattering vocalizations as part of their threat show in contrast to aerial displays.
The rufous hummingbird’s migratory journey is the longest of any species of U.S. hummingbird.
During the migratory season, they cover more than 3,000 miles, from Alaska to Mexico and back.
These tiny creatures use their long tongues to sip nectar from tubular flowers.
If you want to attract these zany birds, fill your yard with flowers that produce nectar.
2. Blue Throated Mountain Gem Hummingbird
Due to the male’s brilliantly blue gorget, the Blue-throated Mountain Gem hummingbird is among the bigger species of hummers.
The Blue-throated Mountain Gem has drab green feathers on its wings and back and a medium grey back with a bluish-green abdomen.
In addition to its blue neck and blackish-gray face spot, the Blue-throated Mountain Gem bears white stripes behind its eyes and a thinner line moving backward from the corner sides of its slender bill.
During the winter, blue-throated mountain gems may be found living in the mountains and forests of Mexico, all the way down to Oaxaca in the south.
They go to the canyons of the American Southwest in order to breed.
It’s true that homeless people sometimes visit Colorado’s oak woods and other open spaces.
Blue-throated Mountain Gems are indeed the largest and fastest flyers of the hummingbird species native to North America, but they also have had the slowest wing beating.
Invest in a hanging hummingbird feeder containing sugar solution or a birdbath and fountain for the hummingbird to drink water from to attract and observe these busy males.
3. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The undersides of the bills and chins of ruby-throated hummingbirds get a completely black color, while the birds’ sides are a greenish grey.
Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds, which are very identical to Broad-tailed hummingbirds, possess gorgets that are a beautiful ruby red.
Nonetheless, the neck patch of the Ruby-throated hummingbird is more strongly orange.
Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds are easily identified by their forked tail feathers and simple, dusky-streaked gorgets.
The common ruby-throated hummingbird spends the winter across Central America but makes its home throughout the eastern United States for breeding.
However, during migratory times, spottings of vagrants are not unheard of.
Feeding mostly on nectar, ruby-throated hummingbirds occasionally consume tiny insects and spiders when necessary.
Tiny and delicate, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are easy prey for animals and birds that specialize in eating insects.
In addition, big birds such as red-tailed hawks and loggerhead shrikes pose a danger to Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
In addition, Ruby-throated hummingbirds rely extensively on certain forest plants for nutrition, reproduction, and shelter.
They are in grave danger of extinction because their natural habitat is being quickly destroyed by human activities like agricultural expansion and woodland clear-cutting.
4. Black-chinned Hummingbird
Male Black-chinned hummingbirds are easily identified by their characteristic black face and the white patch behind the eye, as well as their gray-green feathered backs, crowns, and sides.
In addition to the black face and neck, black-chinned hummingbirds have shiny feathers that create a purple spot and a contrasting whitish collar around their neck.
Although female Black-chinned hummingbirds share the male’s striking black chin, they may also have slight green stripes on their otherwise white neck.
However, black-chinned hummingbirds are silent.
Their call tones, on the other hand, are rapid-fire low tups or raspy chatters.
Black-chinned hummingbirds are common sights among mountain forests, parks, gardens, and canyons.
Hummingbirds may be attracted by either the planting of bright tubular flowers or the placement of hummingbird nectar feeders filled using sugar solution.
If you want to increase your probability of luring any of these small hummingbirds, buy or make a red hummingbird feeder.
5. Anna’s Hummingbird
In bright light, the necks of adult males may seem either black or reddish-orange.
The males also possess glossy, iridescent purple neck plumage.
The male Anna has a greenish-grey coloration on his belly, breast, and sides.
Finally, the wings and tail possess a dingy black-brown color, and the eyes have a faint, fractured ring.
The female Anna’s hummingbird is distinguished from the male by its greenish head and body and white-tipped tail, as well as its light grey breast and red or white marking on the gorget.
When threatened, Anna’s hummingbirds will perform elaborate diving displays to scare away intruders.
Anna’s hummingbirds are one of the most well-known and loudest of the country’s tiny but beautiful birds.
Only Anna’s hummingbirds, along with a few other species, are known to sing, and their song consists of a sequence of scratchy sounds that may be described as harsh metallic “chip” vocalizations.
In order to keep their tiny bodies dry while being in flight, Anna’s hummingbirds may tremble up to 56 times in a single second.
Anna’s hummingbirds thrive on the nectar of flowers, and the flying insects found all year long within Colorado Springs’ gardens and parks.
Anna’s hummingbirds are carnivores, thus, birdwatchers should steer clear of any methods of reducing the insect population (such as insect traps, insecticides, or pesticides).
6. Mexican Violetear
In addition to their mint green bodies, the tails of Mexican violetears are blue-green, and their face and chest are a deep violet.
Located from Mexico to Nicaragua, the Mexican violetear has been a medium-sized hummingbird that prefers to live in woodland settings.
However, it is somewhat migratory and wanders between different mountain ranges so that some members may make their way to Colorado.
The Mexican violetear is a very loud species that may be heard singing a jerky, metallic, chipping song from open twigs in its region.
The Apodiformes order, which includes the Mexican violetear, literally means “without foot.”
Despite having feet, Mexican violetears seldom use them because of their small size and weakness.
In deforested environments, the Mexican violetear often forages alone in canopy mid-levels.
Flowers on trees, notably the coffee-shade Inga, are a common meeting place for these territorial birds.
7. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Rivoli’s hummingbirds are huge birds with long, straight, gently rounded beaks; both genders seem black until the sun hits the coloration of their feathers, at which point the feathers flash vivid colors.
Male adults have black breasts and a purple crown in addition to a metallic green-bronze coloration around their necks and backs.
The females are less colorfully plumaged, having uniformly grey breasts and olive-green heads and backs.
Among Colorado’s hummingbirds, Rivoli’s are indeed the biggest.
The Blue-throated Mountaingem hummingbird is a tough act to follow.
There are Rivoli’s Hummingbirds throughout the highlands of the southwestern United States and all the way to Honduras.
The Rivoli’s Hummingbird is a sociable bird that likes to eat in close vicinity to the backyard.
8. White-eared Hummingbird
Hummingbirds having white ears are mostly greenish on the chest and back, having white bronze-green tails and a white eyestripe pattern on the black crown of their heads.
The bill of the white-eared hummingbird is red and it is topped with a black tip.
Males have shiny turquoise-green gorget and violet facial markings.
Male White-eared hummingbirds are showier than their female counterparts.
Vagrant or incidental species, white-eared hummingbirds, are extremely uncommon in the state of Colorado.
The typical range of white-eared hummingbirds extends from Nicaragua toward the mountainous areas of southwestern New Mexico and southern Arizona.
The pine-oak woodlands of western Texas, southern Arizona, and southwestern New Mexico are also the preferred nesting habitat of the white-eared hummingbird.
White-eared hummingbirds appear uncommon across Colorado, but they may be attracted in the same ways as other hummingbirds.
Attract hummingbirds using a hummingbird feeder or by planting nectar-rich blooms.
9. Calliope Hummingbird
The top parts of a Calliope hummingbird are a brilliant green, while the bottom parts are a creamy white.
Their beaks and tails are also small.
Calliope males at maturity possess white necks and long, “whiskered” gorget plumage of iridescent ruby red.
His tail is black, and he has greenish flanks.
Adult female Calliopes, on the other hand, are often described as having a dull, white gorget with pinkish flanks, black streaks, and a darker tail having white tips.
There are no smaller breeding birds across the United States than the Calliope hummingbird.
The high mountain areas of Colorado are home to, or at least see seasonal migrations of, calliope hummingbirds.
To enjoy the benefits of the late-summer flowers across western North America, calliope hummingbirds, like many other migratory bird species, establish their breeding sites earlier than is the case for most other species.
It is the calliope hummingbird that holds the record for being the world’s tiniest long-distance traveler.
Whereas the male Calliope hummingbird will establish and aggressively defend his territory during the mating season, he will usually have left for Mexico by the time his young have hatched.
10. Costa’s Hummingbird
The males possess bright purple heads and gorgets and greenish sides and backs.
Their “mustache” look comes from the way their long neck plumage spreads out and down their necks.
Females, on the other hand, are crowned and backed with a greyish-green tint, with a white abdomen and buffy sides.
Costa’s hummingbirds and Anna’s hummingbirds are both found across Colorado, and both look quite similar.
Costa’s hummingbirds have been most usually found among desert cacti, scrub, wolfberry, and the Joshua tree in wooded areas.
Pollination of desert plants and cacti is made possible by Costa’s hummingbirds.
The French ornithologist Jules Bourcier is credited with giving Costa’s hummingbird its name.
Louis Marie Pantaleon Costa de Beauregard was a good friend of Bourcier’s who had a passion for hummingbird collection, thus, Bourcier decided to honor him by naming the bird after him.
11. Broad Billed Hummingbird
The broad-billed hummingbird is named for its long, vivid red beak that tapers to a black tip.
The males of this species are a glossy dark green overall, with a bluish neck and white under tail converting.
Females are often less vibrant, with a white abdomen and vertical white stripes across each eye.
In Colorado, the Broad-billed hummingbird is a seasonal visitor or stray migrant.
It’s not uncommon for male and female Broad-billed hummingbirds to engage in rapid “chii-diit”-like chattering.
The Broad-billed hummingbird is most often seen in lower canyons, where it may be found in areas with plenty of foliage, such as in streamside groves and in open oak forests.
Blooms with a high percentage of sugar are their favorites, and they will go to great lengths to defend the territory around those flowers.
Hummingbird feeders are entertaining and practical, but flowers provide better nutrition and may easily brighten your yard.
In conclusion, Colorado is a haven for hummingbird enthusiasts, with its diverse array of 11 different species of these breathtaking birds.
From the iridescent beauty of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird to the migratory wonders of the Rufous Hummingbird, Colorado’s hummingbird population is a true treasure.
These tiny birds captivate us with their unique behaviors, including their acrobatic flights, rapid wing beats, and remarkable feeding habits.
Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or a casual observer, encountering these enchanting creatures in Colorado is a truly magical experience.
So, keep your feeders filled with sugar water, plant native flowers to attract them, and continue to appreciate the wonder of hummingbirds in Colorado’s majestic landscapes.
Happy hummingbird watching!
When can I spot hummingbirds in Colorado?
Hummingbirds can be found in Colorado during the warmer months, typically from late April to early October. They migrate to Colorado for the breeding season and are more commonly seen during the summer months when flowers are in full bloom.
How can I attract hummingbirds to my yard in Colorado?
To attract hummingbirds to your yard in Colorado, you can provide them with a food source by setting up hummingbird feeders with a sugar water solution (1 part sugar to 4 parts water). Planting native flowers that are rich in nectar, such as trumpet creeper, bee balm, and columbine, can also attract hummingbirds to your yard.
Are there any migratory hummingbird species in Colorado?
Yes, some hummingbird species in Colorado, such as the Rufous Hummingbird, are migratory. They travel long distances from their wintering grounds in Central and South America to Colorado for the breeding season. They typically arrive in Colorado in late spring and leave in the fall to return to their wintering grounds.
What are some unique features of hummingbirds in Colorado?
Hummingbirds are known for their small size, colorful plumage, and rapid wing beats. In Colorado, you may encounter species such as the Broad-tailed Hummingbird with its distinctive metallic green plumage and ruby-red throat patch, or the Rufous Hummingbird with its fiery orange-brown coloration and aggressive territorial behavior.
How can I help conserve hummingbirds in Colorado?
You can help conserve hummingbirds in Colorado by providing them with a clean and reliable food source through hummingbird feeders with fresh sugar water, planting native flowers to provide natural nectar sources, and avoiding the use of pesticides that may harm hummingbirds or their food sources. Additionally, you can support local conservation organizations that work to protect hummingbird habitats and advocate for their conservation.
Can I interact with hummingbirds in Colorado?
While it is important to appreciate hummingbirds from a distance and avoid disturbing their natural behaviors, you can enjoy watching hummingbirds from a safe distance without trying to touch or handle them. Observing their behaviors, flight patterns, and feeding habits can provide a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Do hummingbirds have any predators in Colorado?
Yes, hummingbirds in Colorado face threats from natural predators such as raptors, including hawks and falcons, as well as from domestic and feral cats. It is important to provide safe and protected areas for hummingbirds to minimize the risks of predation.
Are there any interesting behaviors of hummingbirds in Colorado?
Yes, hummingbirds in Colorado exhibit fascinating behaviors. For example, they are known for their high metabolism, rapid wing beats, and hovering flight. Hummingbirds also have unique feeding behaviors, such as their ability to consume their body weight in nectar daily and their territorial nature when defending feeding territories.
Can I photograph hummingbirds in Colorado?
Yes, you can photograph hummingbirds in Colorado.
Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Lily Aldrin