Some 330 different species of hummingbirds thrive in every state across America, though interestingly enough there have been none reported from Hawaii. Though these birds appear to be fragile, they manage to adapt too many different climates and environments and recently there was a 30-million year old fossil found, which scientists feel is an ancestor of the modern hummingbirds, we see today. When visiting the state of Missouri, a nature lover will be able to witness many different types of hummingbirds and in the following article; we will discuss the ones most commonly found.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird: the most common across the eastern part of North America. These birds are extremely inquisitive and are easy to attract to a feeder. Window feeders attract just as many customers as one located at a farther distance and once the bird feeds at a particular location, it will chase off any competition. Males of this species have an emerald green back, a ruby red throat, gray flanks, and a forked tail with no white, and are smaller than females. A female ruby throat hummingbird has an emerald green back, white breast and throat and a rounded tail with white tips and has a longer bill than a male.
Rufous Hummingbirds: this particular species “outflies” all others and has the longest migratory route of all North American hummingbirds. An adult male has a non-iridescent crow, sides and tail, and may be green, has an orange-red gorget and white breast. The female Rufous hummingbird has a green back and tail, white breast, streaked throat and white tips on the outer tail feathers.
Anna’s Hummingbird: one of only three species which are permanent residents of the United States and Canada. The adult male Anna’s has a metallic green colored back, a dark red crown and gorget and a gray colored breast. A female Anna’s hummingbird has a green back, white throat with some red spots here and there and white tips on the outside tail feathers.
Calliope Hummingbird: this species prefers high mountains and has been witnessed at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet. The Calliope builds its nests over creeks or roads near lakes or streams, and will reuse the same nest from the previous year or construct a new one on top of the old one. Males have a metallic green back and crown, white gorget and purple rays that have a sort of whiskered effect. Females have a green crown and back with a white throat with dark streaking, buff colored sides and white tipped tail corner feathers.
Black-chinned Hummingbird: the adult male of this species has a metallic green back and breast, a black gorget with purple throat banding, with white collar. The females have a green back and crown, white breast and throat with black spots, buff colored sides and white tips on the outer tail feathers. The Black-chinned hummingbird is considered the least colorful of all United States hummingbirds and is commonly located all over the Midwest.
Broad-tail Hummingbird: The wings of a male broad-tail make a chirping sound when in flight and the back and crown are metallic green, with a white breast, rose-colored gorget and rounded tail. A female has a green back and crown, white throat and breast with black spots, green central tail feathers, while the outer tail feathers are rusty at the base, black in the middle and white at the ends.
Allen’s Hummingbird: the plumage of an adult male has a metallic bronze-green color on the back and head, a coppery-red colored throat, rufous flanks and are smaller than the female in size. Females of the species have rufous back and sides, a white breast and throat with red spots, rounded tail with white tips.
Hummingbirds are some of nature’s most delicate and interesting creatures and delight people of all ages with their frenzied flying and flitting about. If you would like to attract hummingbirds to your yard, plant some azalea, honeysuckle, mimosa shrubs or you could try a yucca, lupine or hosta. Another way to get the attention of these marvelous little birds is through hanging a feeder in the backyard and soon you’ll have a little colony gathering.