While the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is strictly an easterner, preferring to keep to the right half of the United States, there are many other hummingbird species who don’t mind flying further west.
From Arizona up to California, British Columbia and even Alaska, as many as 15 other breeding species of hummingbirds call these areas home in the summer. Here are some of the more common hummingbirds that frequent these parts of North America.
The male of this species looks a lot like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird with the same green back and crown and white breast. It, too, possesses a bright throat patch which leans more to the pinkish side than the red. In the summer, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird can be seen throughout the western United States, specifically in the central Rocky Mountain regions. Listen for the metallic trilling sound made by the male’s wings when it flies.
True to its name, the Black-chinned Hummingbird does indeed have a black chin, with the addition of a thin strip of purple just underneath. Beyond that, its green and white plumage is not very showy. This little bird is very adaptable, taking up residence in a wide range of habitats from forests to deserts.
This small, feisty hummingbird is covered in beautiful orangey-red feathers. The Rufous Hummingbird is known to be relentless a dive-bomber, chasing away hummingbirds twice its weight. Breeding farther north than any other hummingbird, it can be found summering in the Pacific Northwest up to Alaska.
Similar in size and coloring to the Rufous Hummingbird, the immature Allen’s Hummingbird is practically indistinguishable from the female Rufous Hummingbird. The Allen’s Hummingbird is most common in coastal California northward from Santa Barbara, reaching up to only a small area of southern Oregon.
Calliope HummingbirdThe smallest of all breeding birds in the United States and Canada, the male Calliope Hummingbird is easy to identify with its beautiful streaked magenta-and-white throat. Believed to be the smallest long-distance migrant in the world, it tends to leave its summer breeding grounds earlier than most to feed on late season wildflowers in western North America.
Costa’s HummingbirdA stunning flash of purple in the deserts of California and Arizona signals the arrival of the Costa’s Hummingbird. The tiny little male has a violet-colored crown as well as the throat patch common in other hummingbird species. It favors breeding in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts as well as Baja California, Mexico.
Another hummingbird with showy plumage, the male Anna’s Hummingbird sports a rose-pink throat and crown, leading some people to compare it to flying jewelry. In fact, it is the only hummingbird species in North America with a red-colored crown. A fairly common sight along the Pacific Coast of the United States, it once only bred in southern California and northern Baja California, but has since expanded its range northward.
For an excellent Hummingbird reference book, take a look at North American Hummingbirds: An Identification Guide by George C. West.