Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Lily Aldrin
Welcome to our fascinating exploration of the seven types of hummingbirds that grace the skies of Minnesota.
In this article, we’ll delve into the captivating world of these tiny, yet mighty avian wonders, showcasing their unique characteristics, vibrant colors, and remarkable flight patterns.
Join us as we embark on a journey to discover and appreciate the diverse hummingbird species that call the North Star State their home.
|Green and Violet-Eared Hummingbird|
Types of Hummingbirds in Minnesota
1. Calliope Hummingbird
It’s common knowledge that hummingbirds are tiny, but the Calliope Hummingbird is tiny even by hummingbird standards.
The Greek mythological figure Calliope, the inspiration for epic poetry and eloquence, inspired the naming of these hummers.
The Rufous Hummingbird is the tiniest hummingbird species found across the United States.
Only the non-native Bumblebee Hummingbird, which sometimes shows up as a vagrant, is thinner than a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Birds that spend their mating seasons among Minnesota’s willow groves, alpine forests, and grasslands aren’t really native to the state but rather visitors.
Glossy green on top and white below characterize the plumage of the Calliope Hummingbird.
A male’s neck will be streaked with a deep burgundy color, while a female’s or a juvenile’s will be even darker.
The females have a pinkish tinge to their sides, in contrast to the males’ greenish hue.
A black tail is shared by the sexes, whereas only the female has a white tip. Although the Rufous and Allen’s Hummingbirds resemble the Calliope Hummingbird, they are far too big to be mistaken for it.
The courtship rituals of the Calliope Hummingbird are unmatched in the animal kingdom.
Males make a buzzing sound by constantly flapping their wings during courtship, which is a certain way to get the attention of the ladies.
One of the males’ most appealing characteristics is his tendency to mate with several women throughout mating season.
2. Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbirds seem to be medium-sized hummingbirds that often are unusually connected to the taxonomy of Rivoli’s Hummingbirds, and they are native to the western coastal areas of North America.
It’s true – Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli, inspired the naming of these birds.
When it comes to ancestry, Anna’s Hummingbirds are far more closely linked to Costa’s Hummingbirds.
Anna’s Hummingbirds have iridescent bronze-green on their backs and light grey on their bellies and chests.
They have tall, thin, and straight beaks having green sides.
The scarlet red of both sexes’ throats is there, but the males are much more vivid and noticeable.
You need to get a glimpse of their neck in direct sunshine to appreciate its full beauty.
Because only males of this species possess a red crown, it is unique among North American hummingbirds. Feminine and young individuals have dull green on their crowns and a grayish throat.
Females have rounder tails with white ends, whereas males’ tails are forked.
Despite their popularity, Anna’s Hummingbirds do not call Minnesota home year-round.
While their mating season is elsewhere, they have been sighted here multiple times.
The state of Minnesota naturally comes into play as an obstruction to its migration path.
Anna’s hummers aren’t as wary of people as other hummingbirds, so if you put out certain sugar water in a feeder, they’ll likely come right up to it.
To further entice them, plant brightly colored flowering plants.
3. Rufous Hummingbird
When migrating, the Rufous Hummingbird, one of the smallest hummingbirds, displays remarkable flight skills.
They are the sole hummingbird species that can fly so far north, and they are perfectly happy living on mountain slopes, on forest edges, and in open fields.
Nesting sites are typically constructed in shrubs or coniferous trees.
Although not native, these birds are common visitors to Minnesota outside of the summer.
The Rufous Hummingbird exhibits a form of sexual dimorphism in which the females are bigger than the males.
Males have a rufous neck and head with white underbellies and breasts.
They have a rusty-red strip on their neck and a rufous coloration on their tails and sides.
In contrast, females have a throat that is a patchwork of orange, white, and green feathers, a dark tail with a white apex, and a rufous rump.
The nectar, insects, and spiders make up the diet of these hummingbirds.
Their diminutive size, however, makes them vulnerable to being consumed by predatory birds and other animals that specialize in eating insects.
In 2018, their species was classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
4. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
In Minnesota, where the vagrant hummingbird population seems to be large, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is relatively simple to identify, but it can be challenging to point out elsewhere.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird can be identified by two distinguishing features.
One is their crimson neck, which is fitting given their name.
The females’ throats are streaked with a much lighter coloration, so this feature is more pronounced in the males.
The second distinguishing characteristic is their long, thin, and completely black bill.
This has a very slight downward curve that requires close inspection to see.
In addition to being slightly bigger than males, females have longer bills.
Males have a silvery green crown and a grayish-white belly.
They have a forked tail that does have a purple glow and dark wings.
Females, in contrast, have white bodies with dark strips all over them.
Its tail is tapered, and its feathers are a mottled pattern of white, green, and black.
The primary source of nutrition for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is nectar, just like it is for other hummingbirds.
They are partial to the nectar of brightly colored flowers, especially those of the pink, yellow, and orange varieties.
5. Costa’s Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds of the species Costa were titled after the French aristocrat Louis Marie Pantaleon Costa.
West Mexico and the United States are home to these tiny hummingbirds.
It’s true that they migrate to other states like Alaska and Minnesota when breeding season is over in Canada.
Similar to Anna’s Hummingbirds, which they are actually related to.
Costa’s Hummingbirds can be found in a variety of settings, but parks and wooded desert regions are where they thrive.
Birds of this species usually migrate during the mating season, but they may choose to stay put in a location with year-round favorable weather and abundant food sources.
With nectar supplies dwindling and temperatures rising, they have been forced to relocate.
The Costa’s Hummingbirds frequent the nectar of flowers such as saguaro, honeysuckle, chuparosa, fairy duster, desert lavender, and many others.
When flower nectar is scarce during the winter, these adaptable birds change their diet to include the tree sap that is drained from holes in the trees by true sapsuckers.
Costa’s hummingbirds have loud, melodious songs that tinkle. Sounds like “zing zing zing” to me.
Compared to the males, the females are constantly chirping.
Unless he feels threatened or it’s mating season, males are too shy to make any kind of sound.
6. Green and Violet-Eared Hummingbird
As a result of their ubiquity in Mexico, the Green Violet-ears are also known as “Mexican violet ears” in several regions of the United States.
These vibrant hummingbirds are native to Mexico and Central America, but they are also regularly spotted in other parts of the world due to their extensive seasonal migrations.
To the north, in Canada, a few of them go.
As their name implies, Green Violet-ears have a primarily green appearance.
Males are distinguished by their iridescent blue crown and back and their grassy green top feathers.
Bronze on the belly and lower back, with a squared-off dark blue tail.
Females look very similar to males; the main differences are that they are duller and smaller.
The young birds’ olive-green feathers are noticeably less vibrant than the bright green of the adults.
The Green Violet ears sing with vigor, and their song resembles “cheep chut chut, chip cheet.”
They use a high-pitched “chut” as a call.
Green Violet-ears are known to favor flowers with a high sugar content for their nectar.
After locating one of these plants, hummingbirds will aggressively defend it from other species.
Also, they often hang out on flowers as they eat.
7. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
In honor of Victor Massena, Duke of Rivoli, the Rivoli’s Hummingbird is among the bigger species of hummingbird.
The name “Magnificent Hummingbird” is in reference to these birds’ striking size and vivid plumage in comparison to other species of hummingbirds.
Aside from the Blue-throated Mountain Gem, Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are the largest of the continent’s hummingbird species.
During the mating season, you can spot these hummingbirds flying around the mountains of eastern Arizona, West Texas, and southwestern New Mexico.
Their offspring are the true nomads, frequently popping up in places like Colorado, Utah, California, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Minnesota.
To the untrained eye, Rivoli’s Hummingbirds seemed to be very dark.
To see their true colors, however, in natural light is a treat.
Long and black with a slight curve, their bills are distinctive.
Males have black tips on their tails and bronze-green backs that fade to bronze.
The top of their heads are deep violet, and their throats have a dazzling bluish-green sheen.
There is a tiny white area located directly between their eyes.
Females are similar to males in appearance, with a bronze-green top part and dull grey undersides.
In conclusion, Minnesota’s diverse landscape and rich ecosystems provide a haven for the seven remarkable types of hummingbirds we’ve explored in this article.
From the dazzling Ruby-throated to the striking Rufous, these avian marvels captivate our attention with their vibrant colors and astounding aerial acrobatics.
As we continue to learn more about these fascinating creatures, it is essential that we protect and preserve their habitats, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the beauty and wonder of Minnesota’s hummingbirds for years to come.
When is the best time to see hummingbirds in Minnesota?
Hummingbirds typically arrive in Minnesota in late April or early May and stay until September or early October. The peak season for viewing hummingbirds is during the summer months, from June to August.
How can I attract hummingbirds to my yard?
To attract hummingbirds, provide a combination of nectar-rich flowers, hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water, and shelter in the form of trees or shrubs. Native plants such as trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm, and columbine are excellent choices for attracting hummingbirds.
What should I put in a hummingbird feeder?
Fill your hummingbird feeder with a sugar-water mixture, using a ratio of 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water. Boil the water, dissolve the sugar in it, and let the mixture cool before filling your feeder. Avoid using honey, artificial sweeteners, or red dye, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.
Do hummingbirds migrate?
Yes, hummingbirds are migratory birds. Most species, including those found in Minnesota, migrate to Central America or Mexico during the winter months. They typically return to their breeding grounds in North America in the spring.
How fast can hummingbirds fly?
Hummingbirds are known for their incredible speed and agility. They can fly at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, and during courtship dives, they can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.