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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 Blue-throated hummingbird (Lampornis clemenciae) is the largest hummingbird that visits the U.S., nearly three times heavier than the Ruby-throated or the Black-chinned. It ranges from southern Mexico north to the Big Bend region of Texas, west over southern New Mexico to southeastern Arizona. The Blue-throated seldom strays far from canyon streams shaded by sycamores or maples and was named by French ornithologist Rene Lesson in honor of his wife, Clemence. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The Blue-throated is very large, has a long tail which is black with white tips, a rather small round head with a prominent white eye-stripe, and a relatively short, stout bill. The adult male has a cobalt blue gorget that can be difficult to see. DISTRIBUTION Breeds in the U.S. primarily in the Sky Island mountains of Arizona, southern New Mexico and the Big Bend region of west Texas. A lucky few have spotted the occasional vagrant in California, Utah, Colorado.
The Calliope Hummingbird (Stellula calliope) is the smallest of all hummingbirds that breed in the U.S. in fact an adult weighs about the same as a penny! They are nearly silent which is ironic because their species name in Greek means "beautiful voice". KEY CHARACTERISTICS The Calliope Hummingbird is very small with a very short tail and a short black bill. The adult male has a gorget that consists of red to reddish-purple streaks over a white background which is very unique. DISTRIBUTION Breeds primarily in the higher elevations from northern Baja California north to south eastern British Columbia, east to western Montana and western Wyoming. While definitely concentrated in the Northwest, vagrants have been spotted in much of the central U.S. as well as the Southeast.


The Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae) is the nomad of the desert, thriving in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts much about this beautiful bird remains a mystery. Named in honor of Louis Costa, an early collector of hummingbirds. KEY CHARACTERISTICS The Costa's is a very small hummingbird with a very short tail and a short, thin, black bill. The adult male has an unmistakable "Fu Manchu" look to his deep purple gorget in that the corners hang down like a mustache. DISTRIBUTION Will be found breeding and residing throughout southern California, southern Nevada and south western Arizona. Vagrants have been spotted up the Pacific Coast all the way to Alaska, in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.


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.