Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin
Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating and enchanting birds in the world.
With their vibrant colors and lightning-fast movements, these tiny creatures never cease to amaze us.
And if you’re lucky enough to live in Virginia, you might just have the opportunity to witness seven different types of hummingbirds in your own backyard!
From the Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the Rufous Hummingbird, each species brings its own unique charm and beauty to the world of birdwatching.
So, grab your binoculars and get ready to discover the seven types of hummingbirds that call Virginia their home.
Types of Hummingbirds in Virginia
1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a summertime resident of Virginia, and its arrival in the spring typically begins in April but is concentrated primarily in May.
The men may show up as much as two weeks before the women.
The autumn migration typically occurs between the months of September and mid-October, while some individuals have been observed remaining in the area far into the winter.
The male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds possess an iridescent red neck and a gray-white upperside.
Green on top and white below, with brownish sides and crowns, female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have a distinctive green neck.
Only the Ruby-throated Hummingbird breeds across eastern North America before migrating toward Central America in the winter.
Some fly across the Gulf of Mexico, while others go along the Texas coast.
Beginning in February, they begin to arrive in the southernmost regions of the United States and Canada in preparation for the spring mating season.
They begin their annual southward migration in the months of August and September.
These little birds dart from flower to flower in search of nectar, or they swoop down from the sky to pluck insects from the air or out of spider webs.
Due to their tiny legs, they could only shuffle across a perch, stopping every so often to rest on a twig.
Finding them in the wild during the summer months is easiest in flower beds or along the margins of woods.
They may also be seen in large numbers at nectar feeders in urban areas.
When defending their territory, male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds may be rather violent.
Soon after pairing, they disperse and might have left by early August.
The nests of the ruby-throated female are made of thistle or dandelion down and bound along with spider silk, and they are placed on very thin twigs.
A clutch may consist of anything from one to three eggs, each of which measures only 0.7 inches.
2. Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbirds really aren’t particularly frequent across Virginia, although a few each year do come far enough north in winter.
Cities like Charlottesville, Richmond, Norfolk, Washington, and Lynchburg are frequent locations for sightings.
As such, there is merit in keeping your hummingbird feeders up all year round.
Both the abdomen and back of a Rufous Hummingbird are a brilliant orange color, while the bird’s underside is white, and its neck is iridescent crimson in males.
The females have a yellow underbelly and greenish-brown back and sides.
When compared to their size, Rufous Hummingbirds are among the greatest migration distances.
They spend the summer in northwestern Alaska, where they reproduce, and the winter near the Gulf Coast and Mexico.
During the early summer, they go up the Pacific Coast, and in the autumn, they travel up the Rocky Mountains.
While insects like gnats, midges, and flies do make up a small portion of a Rufous Hummingbird’s diet, the majority of the bird’s calories come from the nectar of brightly colored tubular flowers.
They construct a nest in a tree snag, utilizing fluffy plants and spider webs down for insulation.
Approximately two to three little white eggs, measuring about 0.5 inches (1.3 centimeters) in length, are laid by the female.
They are quite hostile, driving away even bigger and resident hummingbirds when they emerge.
They don’t stick around for long and drive away other migratory hummingbirds.
In the summer, you may see them in alpine meadows, and during the wintertime, they retreat to the safety of the forests and woodlands.
3. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Rarely observed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Rivoli’s Hummingbirds have become an accidental breed of the hummingbird.
They haven’t been seen across Virginia since 2003, so there’s no need to get your hopes up about their return.
Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are huge hummingbirds that stand out from the crowd thanks to their bright purple head and emerald green iridescent neck in males.
Males are dark green, while females appear greenish on top and a drab gray below.
The majority of Rivoli’s Hummingbirds may be found in their native range across Central America and Mexico, but you can also find them as far north as southwestern Texas, southern Arizona, and New Mexico.
They prefer pine-oak woodlands in hilly areas but will also frequent feeders if provided.
Their nests are situated at quite a high altitude.
Learn which plants and flowers will bring in hummingbirds and Learn the art of making sugar water, too.
4. Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Only a few sightings of the rare Black-chinned Hummingbird have been reported in the recent decade near Williamsburg and Northampton, Virginia.
The females possess a white apex on their tail plumage and a light neck, while the males possess a black throat having a thin iridescent violet foundation.
Breeding occurs mostly in the interior of western states throughout the summertime, from Baja California to British Columbia.
After mating, they might go to the highlands, where more blooms, prior to making the journey towards the south for the wintertime across the Gulf Coast, western Mexico, or southern California.
Late April and September are peak migration months for Black-chinned Hummingbirds.
When eating on nectar, their tongues may lick as quickly as 14 to 17 times per second.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird lays two tiny white eggs that measure just 0.6 inches in length in their nests, which are made of plant down and spider silk.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds commonly come back to the exact perch of the trees, whereon they sit on bare, small branches.
Along canyon walls, along riverbeds, and behind shade oaks, you’ll find them.
5. Calliope Hummingbird
There were few sightings of the rare Calliope Hummingbird across Virginia during the last decade, and those sightings have all taken place in or around Charlottesville and Nokesville.
Although it’s the tiniest bird in the United States, the Calliope Hummingbird nonetheless travels more than 5,100 miles every year, from Canada through Mexico and back.
They are fierce in defense of their area, even pursuing Red-tailed Hawks.
The male specie possesses black tails, shiny green backs and sides, and brilliant magenta necks (called gorgets).
The females are plainer than the males; they don’t have iridescent necks, and their underbelly is pinkish-white instead of pure white.
In the spring, these Hummingbirds fly thousands of miles to the Rocky hills along the Pacific Coast, where they reproduce in states like Colorado and California, as well as farther north in places like Alberta, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island.
They begin their journey in February and arrive as far north as Canada in mid-to-late April or early May.
The Gulf Coast has lately become a stop on the annual fall migratory route from the Rocky highlands towards the wintering grounds across southeastern Mexico.
The birds often construct their nests on coniferous forests, and they may even reuse or build over an older nest if necessary.
6. Allen’s Hummingbird
Accidental hummingbirds like Allen’s have been sighted just a handful of times in the wintertime in the vicinity of Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia.
It is difficult to tell Rufous Hummingbirds and Allen’s Hummingbirds among the coastal woodland and scrub they dwell across Oregon and California because of their similar appearance.
The male necks of Allen’s Hummingbirds are a shimmering reddish orange, and their abdomen, tails, and eye spots are the same color.
Males and females are physically identical; both have long, thin bills and coppery-green backs; however, females lack the brilliant throat color that males have.
The short outer tail plumage of the Allen’s Hummingbird set it apart from the more common Rufous Hummingbird.
They construct their nests in the ground at varying heights along shaded streams and may raise up to three broods a year.
Allen’s Hummingbirds spend the winter months in Mexico and start their annual migration north to the Pacific Coast across Oregon and California beginning in January.
Still, others have chosen to stay in the Los Angeles interior or the central Mexican area.
7. Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbirds are an invasive species that has been accidentally introduced to Virginia. As recently as 2020, in Lake Frederick.
Small and primarily gray or green, Anna’s Hummingbirds are beautiful little birds.
While the male’s neck and head are a shimmering pinkish red, the female’s is a drab grayish with spots of crimson.
Anna’s hummingbirds are unique in that they do not migrate; however, one might travel small distances in the winter.
Along the Pacific coast, they outnumber all other hummingbird species combined.
During courting, the males would rise as high as 132 feet in the air and then plummet down to the earth with a flurry of noise made by their tail feathers.
Anna’s hummingbirds may be seen in savannah and scrub, but their preferred environments are parks and gardens, having huge nectar feeders and colorful flowers.
Anna’s hummingbirds typically have two or three broods each year and make their nests in trees between 6 and 20 feet in height.
In conclusion, Virginia is home to seven unique and stunning types of hummingbirds that are a true delight to observe.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply enjoy watching these feathered wonders flutter around your garden, the hummingbirds of Virginia are sure to captivate you with their beauty and grace.
From the elegant Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the fiery Rufous Hummingbird, each species offers its own distinctive traits and habits that make them a fascinating subject to study.
So, next time you step outside, keep an eye out for these tiny avian marvels and marvel at the magic of nature.
When is the best time to see hummingbirds in Virginia?
The best time to see hummingbirds in Virginia is from late April to early October, when they are most active and visible. During this time, they are also more likely to be seen in gardens and backyards as they search for nectar.
What is the difference between male and female hummingbirds?
Male hummingbirds are typically more colorful than females and have longer bills and tail feathers. Female hummingbirds, on the other hand, tend to be drabber in color and have shorter bills and tail feathers.
What is the main food source for hummingbirds in Virginia?
Hummingbirds in Virginia mainly feed on nectar from flowers, but they also eat insects and spiders for protein.
How can I attract hummingbirds to my garden in Virginia?
You can attract hummingbirds to your garden in Virginia by planting nectar-rich flowers such as trumpet vine, bee balm, and cardinal flower. You can also put up a hummingbird feeder filled with a solution of sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) to supplement their diet.
Are hummingbirds in Virginia endangered?
None of the seven types of hummingbirds in Virginia are currently considered endangered. However, it’s important to maintain their habitats and food sources to ensure their continued survival.