hummingbirds in Colorado

Hummingbirds in Colorado: 12 Species to Spot in The Centennial State

Colorado is a stunning state that features a massive array of natural elements, allowing it to successfully attract a great variety of wildlife. If you’re interested in bird watching, The Centennial State should be your next destination.

Why? Well, it has a total of 514 species of birds that have been documented in Colorado as of March 2022.

Thanks to its mountains, forests, and parks, this state is home to many hummingbird species. Today, we’re sharing interesting facts and information to help you get to know the 12 species of hummingbirds in Colorado.

12 Fascinating Hummingbirds in Colorado

The following are 12 gorgeous species of hummingbirds that you can spot across Colorful Colorado:

1. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli's Hummingbird in colorado
  • Scientific name: Eugenes fulgens
  • Length: 4.3 to 5.5 inches (11 to 14 cm)
  • Weight:  0.2 to 0.3 ounces (7 to 8 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1 inches (18 cm)

Compared to other hummingbird species, Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are one of the largest you’ll see in the United States. In Colorado, you’re most likely to spot them in Fort Collins and Denver during the summer months. They’re one of the most common hummingbirds in Colorado.

They were previously known as the Magnificent Hummingbird. The adult male Rivoli’s Hummingbird possesses a green plumage on its back with a bit of green on its underside.

It shows off a stunning purple cap with an emerald green throat, both of which shimmer when light hits them right. Otherwise, the male’s head will just look black.

Top Tip: Females of the species are a lot duller with green on top and grey on the bottom. Both males and females feature a white mark behind their pitch-black eyes.

These birds usually stay around mountainous regions close to creeks and streams. They prefer to nest in high locations and forage at elevations no lower than about 5,000 feet.

The diet of a Rivoli’s Hummingbird includes nectar and insects. Their feeding strategy is referred to as trap-lining.

2. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird in colorado
  • Scientific name: Selasphorus platycercus
  • Length: 3.1 to 3.5 inches (8 to 9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 ounces (2.8 to 4.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.25 inches (13 cm)

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird that sports a big head, a puffy body, and a long straight beak. This is one of the most common hummingbird species to spot in Colorado during late spring until late summer in the western and central regions of the state.

The adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird possesses a distinct light magenta throat. Both males and females have bright shimmering green feathers on top and a buffy olive color on their undersides with a pale ring surrounding their eyes.

When they’re flying, you’ll see white tips decorating their tails. These birds like nesting in high points around evergreen and pine-oak forests, particularly within a 5,000 to 10,500 feet range.

3. Costa’s Hummingbird

Beautiful Male Costa's Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Calypte costae
  • Length: 3.5 inches ( 7.6 to 8.8 cm)
  • Weight: 0.07 to 0.1 ounces (2 to 3 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

One of the smaller hummingbirds on today’s list is Costa’s Hummingbirds. In addition to their compact bodies, they also have short tails and short wings compared to other species. They’re a another very common species of hummingbirds in Colorado.

Costa’s Hummingbirds are spotted from time to time in Colorado since they’re accidental species. But if you’re visiting southern California, Baja, or southwestern parts of Arizona, you’ll have a bigger chance of seeing them since they are residents of these areas.

Males of this species are known to show off a vibrant violet cap on their heads that flares out at the bottom over the breast, looking like a chevron mustache. Females are whitish below and olive green on top.

Costa’s Hummingbirds are mostly desert species that thrive in dry habitats. Their favorite nectar sources are ocotillo and chuparosa.

4. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 2.8 to 3.5 inches (7 to 9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 ounces (2 to 6 g)
  • Wingspan: 3.1 to 4.3 inches (8 to 11 cm)

Another comparatively smaller species is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The males sport a characteristic reddish-orange throat that appears shimmering in good light but looks dark in poor lighting.

Author Note: Both males and females have glittery green upper sides and buff-colored breasts. Their wings are rather short so they don’t reach their tails when perched.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird isn’t a common sighting in The Centennial State, but your best shot to see them is in Colorado Springs and Denver during the summer. Although they migrate out of State at the start of fall, setting up feeders encourages more and more of them to stick around.

These birds prefer to stay in meadows, woodlands, grasslands, and forest edges. They also live in backyards, gardens, and parks.

5. Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird feeding
  • Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Length:  3.5 inches (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 ounces (2.3 to 4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a common sighting in Colorado during the summer as it shows up in April and leaves around September. You can spot it throughout the entire state in areas with long trees and flowering plants, however, you should have better chances in the western regions of Colorado.

This species has a slim body and a coal-black bill that’s almost straight. It’s about the same size as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

When it comes to the color pattern, both sexes are a metallic green on top with pale grey undersides. Males possess a black throat with a purple band at its base. Females lack the dark throat patch, but they possess wide white tips on their 3 outer tail feathers.

6. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird sitting
  • Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 3.1 to 3.5 inches (8 to 9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.08 to 0.12 ounces (2.3 to 3.4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.1 to 4.3 inches (10.5 to 11 cm)

You can spot the Calliope Hummingbird in the Centennial State mainly during migration season when the birds are going back south in the summer. While July and August are your best shot for a sighting, some birds do stay until early October.

Top Tip: The Calliope Hummingbird is one of the easiest species to recognize. It’s also one of the smallest on our list with short wings, a short bill, and a short tail.

The males of the species possess characteristic magenta-colored lines radiating across their throats. Both males and females have green and gold feathers on top, but males have greenish undersides while females are peachy below.

7. Anna’s Hummingbird

annas hummingbird sitting
  • Scientific name: Calypte anna
  • Length: 3.9 inches (10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 ounces (3 to 6 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.7 inches (12 cm)

Unlike many hummingbird species, Anna’s Hummingbirds don’t migrate. They reside in the United States throughout the year but mostly in California, Arizona, and a few other western states.

In Colorado, Anna’s Hummingbirds are accidental, so they’re uncommon to see. Your best chance would be around Denver in September, October, and November.

Anna’s Hummingbirds have a relatively stocky body with wide tails and short beaks. Their plumage features various shades of green and grey with no orange or reddish spots.

Males show off patches of hot pink on their throats and heads that shine when sunlight hits directly. Otherwise, they appear brown.

8. Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird in colorado
  • Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Length: 2.8 to 3.5 inches (7 to 9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 ounces (2 to 5 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

Rufous Hummingbirds have quite tiny bodies with tapered tails and a straight beak. While they can be seen in Colorado, the window for spotting them is pretty short as they pass through the state in July and August during migration.

Top Tip: Your best shot would be around the Rockies in the summer. The western parts of Colorado have more sightings until late August or early September.

The male population of Rufous Hummingbirds features a vivid copper-orange plumage and an iridescent orange throat. Females, on the other hand, have the copper color only on their flanks with green patches on their backs.

9. White-eared Hummingbird

White-eared Hummingbird perched
  • Scientific name: Basilinna leucotis
  • Length: 3.5 to 4 inches (9 to 10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.14 ounces (3 to 4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)

The White-eared Hummingbird is a resident of Central America and Mexico, but it makes occasional appearances in southwestern states. In Colorado, this species is considered accidental.

Sightings in The Centennial State are so rare that many birdwatchers don’t aim for them. It certainly doesn’t help that the species hadn’t been recorded since 2005 in La Plata, Durango.

The White-eared Hummingbird gets its name from both sexes featuring bold white lines extending behind their eyes. Their plumage features shades of green and olive, while their heads are black and their beaks are red with a black tip.

Males possess a distinct turquoise patch on the throat and a few purple marks on the face that show as black unless the light is right.

10. Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad Billed Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Cynanthus latirostris
  • Length: 3.1 to 3.9 inches (8 to 10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.07 to 0.14 ounces (2 to 4 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.1 inches (13 cm)

The Broad-billed Hummingbird is another accidental species that’s rare to sight in Colorado. However, you can get lucky like the folks who recorded seeing it in 2020 in Grand Junction.

Other than that, New Mexico and Arizona are the only states where the Broad-billed Hummingbird breeds. They prefer nesting in mountainous areas at high elevations up to around 6,500 feet.

These birds possess long notched tails with rounded edges in males and squared edges in females.

Color-wise, males wear a glittery green and blue coat with bright red bills that end in black. Females are shades of grey, green, and buff.

11. Blue-throated Mountain-gem

Blue-throated Mountain-gem
  • Scientific name: Lampornis clemenciae
  • Length: 4.3 to 4.7 inches (11 to 12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.25 to 0.3 ounces (8.1 to 8.6 g)
  • Wingspan: 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) for males and 2.3 inches (6.9 cm) for females

Another relatively large species you can spot in The Centennial State is the Blue-throated Mountain-gem.

Also known as the Blue-throated Hummingbird, this bird usually stays in mixed and coniferous woodlands near creek beds where there are a lot of flowers.

The male population of the Blue-throated Hummingbirds features an iridescent royal blue throat that can look dark unless the lighting is right. Both sexes are dull green on top and grey below, but the females and young males are missing the colored throat.

Author Note: This species is considered accidental in Colorado as it’s been sighted on record only a handful of times. They’re frequent visitors of feeders, but they tend to bully smaller birds into staying away from the feeders until they’re done.

They also munch on insects from plants that they collect from plants.

12. Mexican Violetear

mexican violetear in colorado
  • Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus
  • Length: 3.8 to 4.7 inches (9.7 to 12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.17 to 0.2 ounces (4.8 to 5.6 g)
  • Wingspan: 7 inches (17.8 cm)

The Mexican Violetear is a medium-sized hummingbird that’s pretty rare to spot in Colorado. It was known as the Green Violetear along with the Mountain Violet-ear when the two hummingbirds were thought to be the same species.

The Mexican Volitear is a resident of Central America and Mexico. Your best shot of seeing it in Colorado is during the non-breeding season as some of them may travel up to the United States or even go as north as Canada.

This hummingbird species possesses a metallic green plumage with bluish violet patches on their chests and each side of their heads. Their undersides and throats are also shimmering green.

Mexican Violetears prefer living in deforested regions. Their diet consists mainly of nectar and tiny bugs.

Wrap Up

Although many hummingbird species are uncommon to spot in Colorado, you can up your chances by setting up more feeders and growing native flowering plants to attract the tiny beauties.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on common hummingbirds in Colorado!

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