Hummingbirds are beloved creatures to many because of their beautiful colors and jewel-like appearance. They are welcomed by homeowners and garden caretakers around the world because of their delicate beauty. They are also feisty little creatures, capable of total independence and a curiosity about humans that we find irresistible. They are adored in many places in the world and are revered in old myths as symbols of beauty and hope.
Different Types of Hummingbirds
There are around 300 types of hummingbirds spread out throughout the Americas. These birds are among the smallest in the avian family, with some species weighing less than a nickel. Here are seven types of hummingbirds you should get to know.
Also known as the Helena hummingbird or zunzuncito, the Mellisuga hellenae is the smallest bird in the world. It is found in Cuba, especially in the Isla de la Juventud. The male of the species shows off an iridescent gorget accessorized by long side plumes, a green crown, and a bright magenta throat. Females appear with blue-green feathers with a light gray underside. White spots are often found on the tail feathers, particularly the tips. The female produces two eggs per breeding cycle and they are as big as a coffee bean.
The wings of the bee hummingbird beat about 80 times per second during flight. However, they beat more than twice that rate when they are courting – around 200 times a second. They are so light and tiny that a dime weighs more than a single bird.
The Archilochus colubris is often found in the U.S. during the summer. They often stay in the eastern region where they mate and build nests. This type is named after the colorful male, who sports a bright red gorget, which contrasts with the white throat and breasts. The females of this type are often plain-looking aside from the bright green and pure white coloring.
The ruby-throated hummingbird loves to hang out at nectar feeders, which makes them quite visible in many backyards, particularly those that have plenty of nectar-producing plants.
The Selasphorus rufus sports an almost straight bill and short wings. Like most types of hummingbirds, the adult males sport a more attractive color. The rufous’ back and stomach are bright orange, while its throat is an iridescent red. Younger hummingbirds of this type and females sport a green tail with rust-colored patches. In many of these birds, females may have a small patch of orange on their throats. In strong light, rufous hummingbirds are easy to spot – they glow like a flame or a live coal.
This tiny powerhouse is fast like most hummingbirds and capable of maneuvering accurately. They are brave little defenders of their territory, chasing away even other hummingbirds. Aside from nectar, they also enjoy insects in their diet.
Allen’s hummingbird sports one of the prettiest color combinations in Nature – copper and green. Males show off their brilliant red-orange throats, especially when they are trying to attract the attention of the female. The female also sports the lovely colors but does so in a more washed fashion. The metallic green color appears in patches on her head and back, while the pale copper covers her flanks. These birds often show up in early spring, particularly in the West Coast. They spend the winter months in Mexico, although some hummers may prefer to stick around in southern California all year.
The Calypte costae is one of the most attention-getting hummingbirds around. The male of this type has a bright pink or purple crown and gorget. The purple/pink explodes along the sides of the bird’s throat, making it appear regal. The female’s color does not have the iridescent quality of the male. She has a white underbody and greenish upperparts.
osta’s hummingbirds like hot, open areas, hence they are often found in regions that enjoy desert climates. They can be seen in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in February until May. They are quite rare in the cities and may visit coastal California in small numbers. They are quite shy and prefer feeders that are placed apart from other feeders where bigger birds hang out.
The Selasphorus platycercus is the gem of elevated mountain meadows. Males have stunning magenta-colored throats that females lack. The females do make up for it by the metallic green spots on their backs, throats, cheeks, and wings. When these birds fly, they produce a distinctive zinging sound instead of the humming that other types make.
Because they prefer to live in elevated areas, broad-tailed hummingbirds have to survive in lower mountain temperatures. At night when the birds sleep, their heart rate slows down in a state of torpor. In the morning when the sun warms them again, their heart rate simply increases.
The Archilochus alexandri is commonly seen in the west. The males have a dark gorget and white collar, contrasted dramatically by an iridescent purple splash of color. Females, on the other hand, have a lovely combination of white underparts and green upper bodies. Some females may show pale streaking along their throat. One of their distinguishing characteristics is their long bills. They are found in many places and capable of surviving in different conditions. In winter, they fly off to the Gulf Coast.
The black-chinned hummingbird picks a favorite perch, such as a tree branch when they want to stay to check things out. They feed quickly and happily among flowers and areas where insects are found.