Florida is one state in America that presents exciting bird-watching opportunities, thanks to its unique climate.
One bird type that never fails to impress and always presents an exciting sight is the hummingbirds. Almost anywhere you find yourself in Florida, chances are that you will catch a look at these spectacular tiny birds. They are simply stunning and fascinating with their exotic rainbow coloration.
Differentiating between each of these species of hummingbird in Florida has been very challenging for a lot of bird enthusiasts. Our goal in this article is to help bird enthusiasts explore the different kinds of hummingbirds in Florida and identify what makes each special.
Let’s dive in already!
Native Vs Non-native Hummingbird in Florida
There are numerous types and species of hummingbirds around the world but only one native to Florida. However, because of the unique and warm all-year-round weather of Florida, a number of hummingbird species usually visit the state, particularly during winter. This implies that hummingbirds in Florida comprise either native (common) and non-native (rare).
Hummingbirds that are native to Florida, are those that breed and spend their time in the state for nearly the entire year. This means that if you’re in Florida, you’ll most likely see one of these hummingbirds at your feeder or garden.
Rare or non-native Hummingbirds in Florida are those that predominantly don’t live in Florida, but just pass through the state at certain times and seasons of the year. There are some that can be spotted year-round, but still are significantly rarer than their native counterparts.
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13 Types of Hummingbirds in Florida
1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are known as the most common hummingbird in the state of Florida. They are generally found in a variety of bushy and woodland habitats. They are however flexible, such that they also occur in marsh, scrub, open field; man-made places such as fencerows, orchards, and gardens.
Both sexes of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are characterized by an underside colored with light gray and iridescent green crown and dorsal side. Males have a black eye bar and a brilliant red patch on the throat, which is where the species gets its name.
Females on the other hand have a distinct whitish underparts void of buffy tones. Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are slightly smaller in size than the females.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed mostly on nectar and tiny insects. It gets its nectar from tubular flowers such as the trumpet vine. Insects it feeds on include: mosquitoes, bees, spiders, caterpillars, and flies. Hummingbird feeders will feed on sugar-water mixtures.
This Hummingbirds species is distinguished by long slender beak, a short forked tail, long brown wings, and of course a tiny body. Its rapid wing movements in flight make for rapid, agile movement, creating a humming sound in the process.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds normally nest on branches of coniferous or deciduous trees. Since they are accustomed to human habitation, they are also seen nesting on loops of wire, extension cords and chains.
2. Blue-throated Hummingbird – (Lampornis Clemenciae)
The Blue-throated hummingbird also known as Blue-throated mountain gem is a large hummingbird, measuring up to 11.5-12.5 cm (4.5-4.9 in) in length, with a wingspan of 5.9-7.9 cm ( 2.3-3.1 in) and 6-10 g (0.01-0.02 lb) in weight. It is in fact the largest of the hummingbird species that nest in Florida, and the United States at large.
This hummingbird species is so named for the iridescent blue patch on the gorget of its adult male. The blue-throated Hummingbirds are characterized by a dull green coloration on the upperparts of its body, which fades into gray towards its belly. Behind the eye, you will find a conspicuous white stripe and on the cheek is a blackish patch, bordered by narrower stripes.
They have iridescent blue-black tail feathers with broad white tips towards the outer pairs. Adult females and juveniles have a similar plumage to adult males, but with the absence of the blue patch on the gorget; instead they are gray.
Nesting is done in concealed shrub or tree habitat close to running water. After reproduction, the female incubates the eggs for about 18 days. She feeds them for an additional 12 day until the first flight.
The blue-throated Hummingbirds love to hangout close to water. They are found in habitats such as coniferous forests, stream side sycamores, and pine-oak woods. As any typical hummingbird in Florida, blue-throated hummingbirds feed on nectar from flowers and insects it catches in flights or sometimes plucks from foliage or ground.
3. Calliope Hummingbird
The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest species of bird in America, measuring up to 8-9 cm (3.1-3.5 in), with a wingspan of 10.5-11 cm (4.1-4.3 in) and weighing 2.3-3.4 g (0.005-0.007 lb). They are found in open shrubby areas, canyons and forest glades. This species of hummingbirds, despite their tiny sizes are known to be remarkably territorial and bold, chasing birds several times its size that intrude either their breeding space or favorite spot or feeder.
The Calliope Hummingbirds are characterized by iridescent green upperparts, short tail, and finely spotted throat and short, thin bill and white underparts. They have a reddish brown coloring in their tail which may not be visible in the field and a glossy green crown and back.
Male Calliope Hummingbirds have a distinctive streaked magenta throat, green flanks and a charcoal-colored tail. Females on the other hand have a red-spotted white colored throat, a pale rufus on their flanks and a white-tipped dark tail.
Typical of hummingbirds in Florida, their primary diet is flower nectar. Calliope Hummingbirds also catch insects in flight and drink sap from holes created by sapsuckers in trees.
Nesting is usually done atop evergreen or coniferous trees, with the possibility of reuse or building on top of an old nest. Males perform courtship flight with characteristic zigging and popping sound. Incubation takes about 16 days, after which females will feed and brood over young until first flight age.
4. Buff-bellied Hummingbirds (Amazilia yucatanensis)
The buff-bellied hummingbird is a medium-sized wander through hummingbird and measures up to 10–11 cm (3.9–4.3 in) in length and 4–5 g (0.009–0.011 lb). They are not natives to Florida and so are rare to see in the state. The name Buff-bellied Hummingbird is gooted from their characteristic pastel pink-yellow shade belly (buffy-colored bellies).
They are distinguished by their very buffy bellies, long red beaks, light green backs, beautifully iridescent feathers and black-tipped red bills. They have a reddish-brown (rufous) rail and whitish underwings and lower chest.
One notable difference between a male and female Buff-bellied Hummingbird can be seen in their gorget (also known as throat feathers): Males have a more colorful gorget than females – a metallic golden green. Females have a dark upper bill. They also have their upperparts colored in bronzy green.
This species of Hummingbirds are found hanging out around forests, in thickets and along the coast. Nesting is usually done a few above ground level in deciduous trees and shrubs such as oak, sycamore, and birch. Incubation takes an average of two weeks.
As typical avid flower-lovers, the Buff-bellied Hummingbird consumes primarily nectar from flowers. However, they also feed on tiny insects and a mixture of sugar and water in hummingbird feeders.
5. Broad-tailed Hummingbirds
This is another rare hummingbird bird species in Florida, but has been spotted in the northwestern region of the state. Even amongst naturally colorful hummingbirds, these species are considered brilliantly colored. They are fairly long, measuring up to 9cm (3.5 in) with a wingspan of 13 cm (5.25 in) and weight of 2.8-4.5 g (0.006-0.009). The females are generally larger than males.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are characterized by their impressive wide tails, as suggested by their name. Also have big heads, slender bodies, long tails and bill with green backs, black-tipped red beaks and white belly feathers.
Male broad-billed hummingbirds are entirely colored in metallic green with a blue throat extending down the breast (similar to their Ruby-throated counterparts), buffy green flanks, and white breasts. Female broad-tailed hummingbirds are covered in white, and have pale bellies and eyering, spots of green on their cheeks and throat.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds like to hang out in highly elevated meadows, juniper scrubs, pine-oak woodlands and evergreen forests. In summer, they hang out in mountain forests. They build their nests (done by females) near horizontal branches or twigs of trees, as far high as 30 feet (9 meters).
6. Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
The Rufous hummingbirds are a very aggressive species of hummingbird, with a short body and rusty appearance. This fairly small hummingbird species is characterized by a slender body, relatively short wings, slightly bent bill, and a tapered tail.
This hummingbird species is often territorial, and dominates other hummingbirds, even chasing away larger birds and small rodents invading their preferred breeding and feeding locations. The Rufous hummingbird likes to hangout in nearly any habitat during migration. You can find them in forest edges, mountain meadows, and stream sides.
The dorsal plumage of male Rufous hummingbird is a non-iridescent rusty red, and their gorget is a brilliant orange. The Female, together with the juvenile have a green iridescence dorsal plumage. They also have white rectrices and green iridescent backs.
An average adult Rufous hummingbird measures up to a length of 7-9 cm (2.8-3.5 in), with wingspan of 11 cm (4.3 in) and a weight of 2-5 g (0.004-0.011 lb). When it comes to nesting, the female will build the nest in well-concealed lower parts of deciduous shrubs, vines and coniferous trees; and she alone also incubates the eggs she lays.
Rufous hummingbirds will primarily feed on nectar from red tubular flowers such as scarlet sage, penstemons, gilia, paintbrush, red columbines, paintbrush, and so on. They also like to feed on tiny insects, and drink sap from sapsuckers holes.
7. Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
If you like them well-rounded, compact and stocky, then the Allen’s Hummingbird is the sight for you. This species of hummingbird in Florida has a straight and long bill.
Allen’s hummingbirds have a similar plumage to Rufous hummingbird, and telling them apart is somewhat difficult for most bird enthusiasts. One notable and distinguishing feature of Allen;s hummingbird is their narrow outer tail feathers.
Male Allen’s Hummingbirds are characterized by an orange overall coloration. Their tails, belly and eye patch are coppery, contrasting with their reddish orange gorget and bronze-green backs.
Females have bronze-green upperparts with less coppery sides, and bits of bronze spots and reddish orange patch on their throats. Female plumage does not include the bright throat coloring as seen in males.
These adorable hummingbirds’ species like to hangout in scrubs, chaparral and forests. They also nest in similar habitats along the coast of Oregon and California.
8. Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird (Calliphlox evelynae)
The Bahama Woodstar is the most common hummingbird species native to the Bahamas, but strays to the tropical forests and lowlands of Southern Florida. It is no surprise that these birds are often spotted in Florida, seeing that the state is close to the islands.
The Bahama Woodstar are a strikingly attractive hummingbird characterized by olive buff underparts, green upperparts, white flanks, and gold and green backs. They have a slightly curved, long bill, blackish-purple long, fork shaped tail, and a white-striped bright purple gorget. This medium-sized hummingbird species grows to about 7.6 – 12.7 cm (3-5 in) in length, with a wingspan of 10-13 cm (4-5 in) and weight of 2.4 to 3 g (0.005-0.006 lb).
The male Bahama woodstar hummingbirds have white bellies, while the females have cinnamon bellies. Males have a pale gray throat which turns a reddish-pink throat with a white collar lining during breeding season. The female plumage of the Bahamas hummingbird is much duller with orange colored sides. While males have a deeply forked tail, females have their rounded.
In the wild, the Bahamas Woodstar feeds primarily on nectar. In doing so it favors flowers from brightly colored, scented trees, shrubs, epiphytes and herbs with the highest sugar content.
When they find a favorite feeding spot, they tend to aggressively protect the areas and chase away other hummingbirds. They are also found visiting hummingbird feeders, hovering and sipping some water sugar mixtures, and also taking on some tiny insects.
Nesting is usually done in a protected location consisting of trees, shrubs and bushes, on a slightly high, thin branch. Incubation takes about 12 days and the young are allowed to make their first at 20 days old.
9. Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
Black-chinned Hummingbirds are small hummingbirds characterized by metallic green upperparts and white underparts. They are not just small, but slender, with a long, fairly straight bill. A typical adult black-chinnned hummingbird is 9 cm (3.5 in) in length, with a wingspan of 11 cm (4.3 in) and weighs 2.3-4.9 g (0.005-0.010 lb).
The Black-chinned Hummingbirds is typically known for frequently pumping its tail when hovering, even more than its Ruby-throated Hummingbird counterparts. This strongly migratory hummingbird in Florida likes to hangout around in a variety of brushy and woodland habitats. Thus, they can be found in mountainous forests, even in urbanized, natural areas.
Male black-chinned hummingbirds are distinguished by their black chin and face, and glossy black throat with a velvety purple base. Female black-chinned hummingbirds have a resembling appearance to Ruby hummingbird, with white underparts, black rounded, white-tipped tails and throat void of patches.
Juvenile black-chinned hummingbirds have a similar appearance to their adult females; but their dorsal feathers come with buff margins and dark streaked spots on the throat.
These hummingbirds in Florida are very adaptable, and this can be seen in their foraging behavior and techniques. They don’t specialize on one source of food like some hummingbirds do. However, their typical diet revolves around nectar and tiny insects.
Black-chinned hummingbirds typically construct their nests between 4-10 feet near the ground. Females exclusively handle the incubation and raising of the young ones.
10. Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus Latirostris)
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is a typical example of a beauty in a beautiful family. This is a common species of hummingbird, but is however predominantly found in Mexico. An average Broad-billed hummingbird measures up to 8-9 cm (3.1-3.5 in) long with a wingspan of 12.7-13 cm (5-5.1 in) and weighs 2.4-2.9 kg (0.005-0.006 lb).
Native to Mexico, the Broad-billed Hummingbirds hangout in a variety of semi-open habitats,such as brush with open woodlands, or adjacent open areas, riparian areas, and thickets of mesquite.
Adult Broad-billed hummingbirds can use its bill to devour as much as twice its weight in nectar daily. Adult male broad-billed hummingbirds are characterized by their striking green overall, vibrant blue throat, and red bill. Females on the other hand are characterized by their grayish throat.
This migrant hummingbird species nests in low tree or deciduous shrub sites, saddled on drooping or horizontal branches, usually up to 9 feet above the ground.
They favor flowers red in color such as agave, honeysuckle, desert honeysuckle, and so on. They also feed on various tiny insects. In households’ backyards, you can find them fed on a sugar and water mixture.
11. White-eared Hummingbird (Basilinna Leucotis)
White-eared Hummingbirds are medium-sized hummingbirds with iridescent green upperparts, and metallic violet head. White-eared Hummingbirds are non-territorial, unlike the likes of Rufous hummingbirds. This means that they tend to act subordinate to a number of other hummingbird species, and therefore won’t establish and defend their favorite feeding or breeding spot.
A distinctive feature of this hummingbird species is the white stripe that runs from its eyes through to its ears and down to the chest. The White-eared Hummingbird averages 9-10 cm (3.5 – 3.9 in) in length, with a weight of approximately 3-4 g (0.007-0.009 lb).
The adult male has an upper plumage of green overall, white undertail feathers, and dark, straight tail. Their bills are short, thin, and straight, with a red coloration at the base. The adult female has a less colorful plumage than the male. She has a golden green speckled pale cream throat, a deep green crown and back and buffy-white underpart.
Females also have a broad white stripe behind the eye and a broad blackish stripe underneath. They have buffy-white under plumage with green spottings.
The primary diet of hummingbirds, like a typical hummingbird in Florida, is nectar. They particularly favor scented, colored small tree flowers, and those of herbs, epiphytes, and shrubs. Insects also comprise a part of the diet.
12. Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Anna’s Hummingbird is a medium-sized and stocky hummingbird with a straight, short bill and a relatively broad tail. This hummingbird in Florida measures up to 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, with a wingspan of 12 cm (4.7 in) and weight of 3-6 g (0.007-0.013 lb).
Anna’s Hummingbirds are mostly characterized by their unique red forget which runs down the neck sides. They are colored in gray and green body, with no orange or Rufus marks, and have sparkling rose-pink throats. Anna’s hummingbirds also have a bronzed-greenish back with green flanks and pale gray bellies and chest.
Adult male Anna’s have their head and throat covered with reddish-pink feathers which can look gray or dull brown in the absence of direct sunlight. Females are plain-looking but with a bit of red coloration on the throat, and more grayish.
Anna’s hummingbirds can be found in a variety of habitats that have suitable flowering plants, whether in higher elevation mountain meadows or lower-elevation areas. Some examples of these habitats include: arid shrublands, open woodlands, eucalyptus groves, city gardens and parks, savannahs, riparian areas, and residential streets.
Anna’s hummingbird will feed on a typical hummingbird diet, which consists mainly of nectar; and when available, you find them actively hunting down small tiny insects in flight as sources of lipids and protein. In hummingbird feeders, Anna’s will feed on sugar-water mixtures.
Anna’s have variable nest sites, which usually include branches of shrubs or trees, oftentimes under leaves, on wires, and in vines. Females incubate for about 17 days and feed young until first flight.
13. Costa’s Hummingbird (Calypte costae)
The Costa’s Hummingbird is one hummingbird in Florida that I find astounding in terms of their color. The Costa’s Hummingbird is characterized by its iridescent purple gorget and crown, with a green vest and back, and a hunched posture.
These Hummingbirds species are small and compact; have very short tails that barely meet their short wings when perched, and white eyebrow stripes.
Adult male Costa’s Hummingbirds have a royal purple crown and flared out gorget having the appearance of an overgrown mustache. Females on the other hand have a duller plumage and white upper parts void of purple accents.
Males also have a distinct, high-pitched whistle that is frequently heard in early spring. Female plumage is duller, with greenish upperparts, and whitish underparts void of purple accents.
It is common to find Costa’s Hummingbirds in the deserts of western Mexico and the southwestern United States. In order to stay away from the extreme heat of summer, they will migrate to the coastal regions of California. Even though rare, this hummingbird will be spotted in Florida at some time between these seasons.
The typical habitat of Costa’s Hummingbirds includes washes and stream sides, coastal sage scrub, and lower parts of dry canyons. Costa’s hummingbirds like to build their nest on sparsely leafed, open 2-3 feet high shrubs or trees, such as cactus and yucca. Incubation takes about 15-18 days.