Most Common Hummingbirds in California

Let us introduce you to the most frequently spotted hummingbirds in California, accompanied by pictures and essential facts. These details were gathered only from credible sources and verified by an Ornithologist for accuracy.

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)

Allen's Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird found in California. It is one of the two most common breeding hummers in California, along with its close relative, Anna’s Hummingbird. Allen’s Hummingbirds are small hummingbirds that measure between 3-3.5 inches (7-9 cm) long and weigh an average of 2-3 grams.

They have slender bodies and short, tapered tails. Their plumage is typically green on their back and crown with rufous to orange-brown sides, throat and crown. The sexes are similar in coloration but the males have an iridescent forget (throat patch).

The Allen’s Hummingbird feeds primarily on nectar from flowers and can also be seen visiting hummingbird feeders. They will also eat small insects, spiders, and other invertebrates that they find while searching for nectar.

Allen’s Hummingbirds breed in California’s coastal scrublands, chaparral, and oak woodlands. They typically build their nests on branches or twigs near the edge of trees or bushes. The nest is usually about two inches wide and constructed from plant down, bark fibers, and spider webs.

Allen’s hummingbirds are very aggressive territorial birds and will chase off other hummers that enter their territory. They have also been known to attack larger birds such as hawks or crows. They are fast fliers and can hover in place while they feed on nectar or hunt for insects. The male also performs an elaborate courtship dive, rapidly flying up to 300 feet (90 meters) straight up into the air before diving back down past the female. This spectacular display is often used to attract a mate or defend its territory.

Allen's Hummingbird range map

Calliope Hummingbird – (Selasphorus calliope)

Calliope Hummingbird

The Calliope Hummingbird is native to California and is the smallest breeding bird in North America, measuring only 3–3.5 inches (7.6-8.9 cm) long and weighing 0.1–0.2 oz (3-5 g). This tiny hummingbird is easily identified by its unique iridescent reddish-pink forget, which is present year-round. Its back and wings are green in color with some rufous patches on the head, upperparts, and tail. The calliope hummingbird feeds primarily on nectar from flowers and small insects.

They inhabit diverse habitats but prefer dry shrublands and open woods at elevations up to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters). They are usually solitary and territorial, defending their feeding areas from other hummingbirds. During breeding season they are highly vocal and may perform dive-bombing displays when threatened. In addition to nectar, the Calliope Hummingbird also feeds on small insects such as gnats, mosquitoes and spiders. They also use spider webs to construct their nests.

The Calliope Hummingbird is an important pollinator of plants in its native range, as it uses its long beak to reach nectar deep inside flowers. As the Calliope Hummingbird migrates south for the winter, they can often be seen in large flocks, often in the company of other hummingbird species. They are known to spend long distances during migration, travelling up to 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) between breeding and wintering grounds.

Calliope Hummingbird range map

Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus)

Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous Hummingbird is the smallest of the hummingbirds present in California. Its body measures only three inches long and its wingspan reaches only four inches. It has bright orange-red feathers on its back with a bright green crown, cheeks, and throat. The male’s tail feathers have white tips, while those of female birds are all orange-red.

The Rufous Hummingbird feeds on nectar and insects, which it can catch in midair or snatch from spider webs. It often hovers while drinking nectar from flowers or while waiting to ambush an insect.

In California, the Rufous Hummingbird is found in a variety of habitats, including chaparral, open woodlands, and gardens. It is most likely to be found in the spring and fall when it migrates through the region.

The Rufous Hummingbird is known for its aggressive behavior when defending its territory or nesting sites from other hummingbirds. When threatened it will dive bomb intruders and may even attack much larger birds. The male has a loud call that can be heard up to 150 feet away when defending its territory.

The Rufous Hummingbird is an important pollinator in California, visiting many varieties of flowers each day and helping to spread pollen from one bloom to another. Its feisty behavior, small size, and bright colors make it one of the most beloved birds in California.

Rufous Hummingbird range map

Black-chinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri)

Black-chinned Hummingbird1

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are native to California and found commonly in the desert regions. They have a coppery-green back and tail, green upper wings, white throat with black chin, and a pale gray belly. The males are slightly larger than females at around 4 inches long.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds feed primarily on insects and flower nectar. They will also sometimes eat tree sap and small spiders. Hummingbirds often feed from flowers, perching to sip nectar with their long bills.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds can be found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from deserts and chaparral to oak woodlands and suburban gardens. This species is usually found at higher elevations during the summer months, and then moves lower to spend the winter.

The behavior of Black-chinned Hummingbirds is typical for hummingbirds. They are fiercely territorial and will aggressively defend their territories from other hummingbirds. They can often be seen chasing or hovering around one another in midair. When they’re not defending their territories, they spend most of their time searching for food or resting in trees. They are also very acrobatic and can often be seen hovering and dipping in the air to feed from flowers.

Black-chinned Hummingbird range map

Costa’s Hummingbird (Calypte costae)

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird species that breeds in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is about four inches long, with greenish upperparts, grayish underparts, a white throat patch, and an iridescent red crown. They have short bills adapted for feeding on nectar from flowers of desert shrubs and cacti. Costa’s Hummingbirds are found in desert habitats and scrublands, mostly in dry open areas.

This species is highly territorial and will defend its food sources vigorously, even chasing away larger birds. They mainly feed on nectar but also take insects for protein. During the breeding season, they can be seen hawking insects at mid-level in the air. Females construct a cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers, spider webs, lichens, and feathers that are placed on shrubs or cacti close to the ground.

Costa Hummingbird populations are increasing in some parts of their range due to the suitable habitats being created by human activity such as agriculture and urbanization. They are generally common in California, but they have been declining in some of the more heavily populated areas. To maintain healthy populations, it is important to preserve adequate habitats and provide suitable food sources for these birds.

Costa's Hummingbird range map

Green-violetear Hummingbird (Colibri thalassinus – Mexican Violetear )

Mexican Violetear Colibri thalassinus Green-violetear Hummingbird

Green-violetears Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird found in the western United States and Mexico. It is approximately 4-5 inches long, with males having metallic green upperparts and shining violet head, throat, and underparts. Females are similar to males but have more dull colors on the upperparts.

Green-violetears Hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar from flowers, which is obtained by hovering in front of the flower and extending their long bills into the petals. They also feed on small insects and spiders.

The Green-violetears Hummingbird inhabits a variety of wooded habitats. This includes forests, woodlands, scrublands, brushy areas, as well as gardens and parks. They are often found near sources of water such as streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.

The behavior of the Green-violetears Hummingbird is typical for a hummingbird species; they are highly active during the day and spend their nights alone in trees or shrubs. During courtship displays, males may engage in aerial pursuits and dive-bombing displays to attract females. They are also aggressive when defending their territories from other hummingbirds. Green-violetears Hummingbirds may migrate depending on the location, with some individuals moving southwards during winter months.

Mexican Violetear Colibri thalassinus Green-violetear Hummingbird range map

Broad-billed hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris)

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird, about 3.5 in long, weighing 0.1 to 0.14 oz., with blackish upperparts and white underparts, a straight bill that is longer than its head, and a rufous patch at the throat. Its diet consists mainly of insects and arachnids as well as nectar from a variety of flowers.

The broad-billed hummingbird is found primarily in the southwestern United States and Mexico, but can also be seen during fall migration in California and other western states. Its preferred habitat are high elevations, favoring pine-oak woodlands with abundant flowering trees and shrubs such as agaves, ocotillos, and desert willows.

The hummingbird is a solitary species, except during mating season when males can be seen defending a territory from other males or courting females. It is an active forager that often sallies out to grab insects mid-air, hovering for brief periods before returning to the same perch. To conserve energy, it spends most of its time perched, also known as “hover-sitting.” During courtship males have a distinctive display flight pattern and use their voice to attract females.

Broad-billed Hummingbird range map

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds (Amazilia voliceps)

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are found in the lowland dry forests and open woodlands of California. They have a bright green head that is tinged with violet, a white throat, light buffy breast and sides, and a dark tail with white spots. These birds measure about 8 – 9 centimeters in length.

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds feed on small insects and nectar from flowers. They will often gather in groves of flowering trees, such as oaks, sycamores, and acacias. They are also found at gardens, feeders, and other areas with a high concentration of flowers.

These birds tend to be quite solitary but they may join flocks of other hummers during migration. They are usually seen foraging for food in mid-level shrubs, trees, and flowers. During the breeding season males will establish a small territory that they defend against intruders.

Violet-crowned Hummingbird range map

Xantus’s Hummingbirds (Basilinna xantusii)

Xantus's Hummingbird

Xantus’s Hummingbirds are small birds with a total length of between 3 and 4 inches. They have greenish-bronze upperparts, white bellies, long tails, and long bills. In addition, their wings are relatively short compared to other hummingbirds native to California.

Xantus’s Hummingbirds primarily eat nectar from flowers such as lupines, currants, and honeysuckles. They also feed on insects and spiders for protein.

Xantus’s Hummingbirds are found in the chaparral and woodlands of California. They tend to breed in scrubby areas with dense, low-growing shrubs that provide cover from predators. In addition to these areas, they may also be found in open woodlands and montane meadows.

Xantus’s Hummingbirds typically nest low to the ground, often among shrubs. During the breeding season, males will become territorial, defending their territory from other hummingbirds. They use a variety of vocalizations and dive-bombing displays to ward off threats. Females will build nests out of plant fibers, feathers, and spider webs. They typically lay two eggs at a time and the chicks hatch after about two weeks.

Xantus's Hummingbird range map

Blue-throated Hummingbirds (Lampornis clemenciae – Blue-throated Mountain-gem)

Blue-throated Mountain-gem

Blue-throated Hummingbirds are found in California’s riparian woodlands and mountain meadows. They have a purplish-blue head, throat, and upper chest with an iridescent green back and white belly. The male has rust-colored feathers on his flanks. These hummingbirds typically measure between 5 – 6 inches long with wingspans of about 3.5 – 4 inches.

The Blue-throated Hummingbirds’ diet consists mainly of nectar from flowers and tree sap from sapsucker wells. They also feed on flying insects, spiders, and small berries for additional protein sources in the form of amino acids. Hummingbirds have a rapid metabolism and need to eat quite a bit to keep up their energy levels, so they can often be observed visiting multiple flowers and tree sap wells throughout the day.

Blue-throated Hummingbirds live in open woodlands, meadows, canyons, riparian areas, and even gardens. Nests are typically built about 10 – 15 feet off the ground on a branch or in a shrub and are made up of small twigs, lichen, moss, bark strips, and spider webs. The female will lay two eggs which she will incubate for about 16 to 18 days until the chicks hatch.

Hummingbirds can be seen hovering in mid-air as they feed on nectar and insects or darting between flowers. They are also constantly on the move as they search for food and defend their territory from other hummingbirds. Blue-throated Hummingbirds migrate south each year, usually in late August to September, though some individuals have been known to stay in California all year round.

Blue-throated Mountain-gem range map

Rivoli’s Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)

Rivoli's Hummingbird

Rivoli’s Hummingbird is a large species of hummingbird, growing to a length of 8-9 cm and weighing around 6-8 grams. These birds have a slender bill, green upperparts and greyish underparts with rufous sides. They are found throughout the mountain ranges of western North America, from central Mexico through Arizona, Utah, Colorado and California. This species is often seen in a variety of habitats, including riparian woodland, conifer forest and open grasslands.

Rivoli’s Hummingbird feeds primarily on nectar from flowers and also takes small insects such as midges, ants and flies. Its diet consists mainly of nectar but it can also eat spiders, beetles and other small invertebrates.

In California, Rivoli’s Hummingbird is found in many areas including the eastern Sierra Nevada, the Coast Ranges, and the southwestern part of the state. They are also present in isolated areas of southern California near Palm Springs and San Diego. These birds are often seen hovering or flying from flower to flower in search of nectar. They are also known to visit backyard feeders, particularly in the winter.

Rivoli’s Hummingbird is generally solitary and territorial during the breeding season. They defend their feeding territories from other hummingbirds by chasing them away through aerial displays that involve sound and exaggerated wing movements. The male is often seen displaying its flashy green and purple plumage in the air to attract a mate. Both sexes build cup-shaped nests out of plant material, feathers, lichen, and spider webs from which they lay two white eggs per clutch. The female is responsible for incubating the eggs and tending to the young birds until they fledge.

Rivoli's Hummingbird range map

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that can be primarily seen in California. It is identified by its metallic green upperparts, white chest and throat, and red gorget on the male’s throat. This species has an average body length of 3-3.8 inches, a wingspan of 4-4.7 inches, and a weight range from 0.10-0.14 ounces.

The diet of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds consists mainly of nectar, however they will also feed on small insects as a source of protein. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s habitat is in open forests and woodlands, especially near streams and meadows with access to nectar-producing plants.

The behavior of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is typical of most birds, but they do have some unique behaviors that set them apart. They have rapid wing beats and can move quickly while hovering in the air to feed or stake out a territory. During the breeding season, males will perform elaborate courtship displays to attract mates and establish territories.

They are also very vocal during the breeding season, with males making loud trill sounds to defend their territory. Hummingbirds also migrate south in the fall for winter months and return north in spring. All of these behaviors ensure that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can survive and thrive in California’s habitats.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird range map

Best Feeders to Attract Hummingbirds in California

California is home to several species of hummingbirds, including Anna’s hummingbird, Allen’s hummingbird, black-chinned hummingbird, calliope hummingbirds, and rufous hummingbirds. The main identifying characteristics of these birds are their small size (3-5 inches in length), iridescent feathers and long beaks. Hummingbirds eat nectar and insects, which are necessary for their high-energy lifestyle and rapid metabolism.

Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird1
Anna’s hummingbird,
Allen's Hummingbird
Allen’s hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird1
Black-chinned hummingbird

Hummingbirds have adapted to a variety of habitats throughout the state, including grasslands, chaparral, and oak woodlands. They are most commonly seen in watercourses, gardens, and parks containing flowers that offer an easily accessible source of nectar. These birds are active during the day and typically rest at night in the foliage near a water source.

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden is easy with the right feeders and foods. Hummingbird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and often contain artificial nectar or sugar-water solutions. The nectar should be replaced every 3-5 days to prevent bacteria and mold growth, while the feeders should be washed regularly to ensure cleanliness. If you’d like to offer natural food sources, plant native flowers that produce a lot of nectar, such as honeysuckle or penstemon. You can also hang some fruit, such as oranges or apples, from trees to provide extra sustenance for these birds.

Do hummingbirds return to the same feeders every year?

In California, hummingbirds do indeed return to the same feeders every year. Many of these birds are migratory, traveling long distances and returning each winter season. Hummingbirds have a remarkable sense of location, so they remember where their past food sources were located and will continue to come back again annually. It is also believed that some hummingbirds will stay year-round in the same area, depending on the availability of food resources.

Hummingbirds in California have many distinctive characteristics. These birds are quite small and typically range from 3 to 5 inches long with a wingspan usually around 4 inches. They have colorful iridescent feathers, ranging from green to blue or violet, with white or gray bellies. Hummingbirds also have distinctive long beaks and wings that beat incredibly fast in order to stay afloat while they feed on nectar from flowers and other sweet sources.

Hummingbirds in California primarily eat insects and flower nectar, which provide them with the energy they need for their active lifestyle. Hummingbirds feed on nectar from many different plants, trees, and flowers that are native to the region. They catch insects in mid-air or pluck them off of the ground, leaves, and other surfaces.

What sounds do Allen’s Hummingbirds make?

Allen’s Hummingbirds have a variety of vocalizations, including chirps, trills, and squeals. The males make a high-pitched nasal ‘tsee’ sound to advertise their territories and attract females during courtship displays. In addition, they make soft twittering noises while in flight. During territorial disputes between males, they make a loud, rattling call.

The Hummingbird Moth: Is It A Hummingbird or a Moth?

The Hummingbird Moth is a peculiar creature found in California. It has characteristics that make it appear to be both a hummingbird and a moth. To identify this creature, one should look for its size, diet, habitat, and behavior.

In terms of size, the Hummingbird Moth measures about an inch long, making it one of the smallest creatures in California. It has a slender body and wings like a moth, but its wings beat faster than a bee, similar to that of a hummingbird.

This creature’s diet consists mainly of nectar from flowers, which is why they are often seen hovering around flower beds or gardens. These moths also feed on aphids, scale insects, and other small invertebrates.

The Hummingbird Moth can be found in a variety of habitats throughout California, including open meadows, bushes, deserts, and forests. They are particularly attracted to areas where there is plenty of vegetation and flowers that provide food sources for the moth.

Plant native plants that have long, tubular flowers to attract the Hummingbird

All these birds have an iridescent green back and crown with a white or red throat. They also have short bills and long wings that allow them to fly quickly and hover.

Hummingbirds feed on nectar, insects, and spiders. They can be found in a variety of habitats including gardens, meadows, chaparral, deciduous forests, and coniferous forests. Hummingbirds are very small in size usually measuring around 4 to 5 inches in length with a wingspan of 3 to 4 inches.

Hummingbirds are very active and can be seen flying from flower to flower in search of nectar. They also make short, rapid movements while in flight that allow them to quickly change direction. Hummingbirds are territorial and will aggressively defend their area against intruders.

Are hummingbirds in California year-round?

Hummingbirds in California are mostly year-round residents. However, some species migrate to other parts of North America during the winter season. The most common hummingbird species that remain in California year round are the Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds. These small birds can be identified by their bright green and red feathers with iridescent highlights.

When should I put out my hummingbird feeder in California?

The best time to put out your hummingbird feeder in California is when the hummingbirds typically start migrating through the state—from late February to early March.

In California, there are four species of hummingbirds that you may see at your feeders–Anna’s Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, and Rufous Hummingbird.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are the most common species in California, with a bright green back and pinkish-red throat. They typically feed on nectar from flowers and hummingbird feeders. They can reach lengths of three to four inches long, with wingspans of four to five inches. They are found in a variety of habitats, from cities to wildlands.

What types of hummingbirds live in California?

California is home to a wide variety of hummingbirds, including Anna’s Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Broad tailed Hummingbirds, and Rufous Hummingbird.

Where do hummingbirds nest in California?

In California, hummingbirds typically nest in shrubs, trees, and occasionally on cacti. To build their nests, they use materials such as thistle down, mosses, lichens, spider webs and other soft materials. The female constructs the nest alone and usually places it 1 to 10 feet above the ground and up to 20 feet high in a shrub or tree.

Hummingbirds in California primarily eat nectar from flowers, and consume small insects for protein. They have an extremely fast metabolism and must feed multiple times throughout the day to get enough energy. Hummingbirds are very territorial and will fiercely defend their food sources against other hummingbirds.