The Black-chinned (Archilochus alexandri) is considered to be the western counterpart of the Ruby-throated. It is very abundant, adaptable and will be found from central Mexico to southwestern Canada. The Black-chinned will mostly be found west of a line from central Texas to the western border of Montana. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The male's gorget appears entirely black, however when light strikes it perfectly you will be rewarded with it's true color, a brilliant amethyst violet. The male also has a white collar to contrast with it's dark head. DISTRIBUTION Breeds from south-central Mexico north through western half of Texas, extreme southwestern Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, southwestern Colorado, Idaho, western Montana, eastern Oregon and Washington, southern British Columbia, and many parts of California. Winters as far north as the Gulf coast including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama/Georgia and Florida, but primarily in south-central Mexico and along the southwestern Pacific Coast of Mexico. Vagrants have been spotted in North and South Carolina, New Jersey, South Dakota, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ontario.
The Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis) is the only large hummingbird to make its way into eastern portions of the U.S. Common to the lower Rio Grande Valley and southeastern Texas it will dominate smaller hummingbirds at feeders and gardens. It is very unusual in that after breeding some birds will migrate north and east along the gulf coast to winter as far east as western Florida. The Buff-bellied used to be known as the Fawn-breasted. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The Buff-bellied is a large hummingbird with an apple-green to turquoise-green bib covering its throat and breast. The bill is red with a blackish tip. The adult male's bib is more brilliant and the belly is darker than the females. DISTRIBUTION Resident and breeding from central Texas Gulf Coast south to the Yucatan Peninsula, northern Belize and northern Guatemala. After breeding some individuals will migrate to winter north and east along the Gulf Coast as far as western Florida.
The Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) is deserving of its impressive name by its dramatic size and color. The adult males are a gaudy dark emerald with a brilliant metallic violet to purple crown. The Magnificent was formerly known as the Rivoli's Hummingbird in honor of Victor Massena, Duke of Rivoli. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The Magnificent is the second largest hummingbird to visit North America. It is slim with a long neck, bill, and tail. The adult males plumage will be a dark emerald and the crown will will appear metallic and range from violet to purple. Behind the eye will be a triangular white spot which will contrast with the dark face. DISTRIBUTION The Sky Islands mountain ranges of west Texas, south-east Arizona, and south-western and south-central New Mexico are where the Magnificent hummingbird breeds. Young males tend to be nomads and have been documented in a number of states including Colorado, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Ruby-throated (Archilochus colubris) is the most widespread hummingbird in North America and the most common species that breeds in the East. For many years it was considered to be the only species that would breed in the East. Still, if you draw a line from Texas to Minnesota and you want to see a Ruby-throated your best chance will be to look to the East. To reach these nesting grounds each spring, most take a direct route across the Gulf of Mexico, flying nonstop over 500 miles of open water. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The males have an iridescent ruby-red throat and a black patch that extends from below the bill to behind and below the eye. DISTRIBUTION Breeds in eastern North America north to southern Quebec, west to south-central Alberta, the eastern edge of the Dakota's, Nebraska, south-eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma and Texas, rarely in the southern tip of Florida. Winters mainly in the tropics from southern Veracruz west across lowlands to southern Sinaloa, to the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, Honduras, Western Nicaragua and western Costa Rica. Small number of birds winter along the Gulf Coast of the United States. Vagrants have been spotted in Colorado, California, New Mexico and even Alaska (That one must have really been lost)
The Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) has a temperament to match its beautiful fiery color. Its very aggressive nature can make him unwelcome at feeders if you want other visitors as well. Maybe the Rufous's temperament correlates to the difficult nature of the travels they endure each year with the annual migration as they breed further north than any other hummingbird and travel incredible distances to do so. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The Rofous hummingbird is relatively small with a medium-short bill that is all black. The plumage is a beautiful rust color (rufous) and may be speckled with green. You will definitely know when you see one. DISTRIBUTION Breeds from extreme north-western California, most of Oregon and Washington, central and northern Idaho, western Montana, most of British Columbia, north to coastal southeast Alaska. The Rufous possibly should be nicknamed The Wanderer due to the fact that they are strongly prone to wandering during the fall migration. At this time they could appear almost anywhere in North America. Maybe they are just taking their time to return to their winter homes primarily in Mexico or occasionally along the U.S. Gulf Coast.