We’ve all encountered a hummingbird before. These cute, little birds usually love to visit our gardens to fly around our flowers for nectar.
Because of their lively movement, many people enjoy watching them fly.
After a few encounters, you may start wondering: How many types of hummingbirds are there? Do they visit your state, New york? If they do, how can you differentiate between the species?
In the following section, we’re going to answer all questions you might have about the hummingbirds in New york.
There’s no doubt that hummingbirds are small and fast. These two characteristics make it quite hard to distinguish their species.
For this reason, New Yorkers would typically only see two types of hummingbirds flying around in spring.
Though there might be more, because they don’t spend a lot of time in New York, their sightings aren’t as frequent.
There are five hummingbird species you would find in New York:
- The Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
- Rufous Hummingbirds.
- Calliope Hummingbirds.
- Anna’s Hummingbirds.
- Broad-billed hummingbird.
New York is famous for having both the ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds sightings. The last three, though aren’t as frequently seen, can still be found in New York.
1. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
- Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
- Weight: 3g for males and 3.8 for females
- Length: from 2 to 3.5 in
- Wingspan: 3 to 4 in
- Lifespan: 1 to 6 years
Also known as Archilochus colubris, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most commonly seen hummingbird species in New York.
You’ll be able to see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in New York throughout spring and summer. Once the weather starts cooling though, it’ll be the start of their migration period.
They usually start migrating around September to October depending on when the cold starts kicking in. Once spring arrives, they’ll be back to fly around New York again. So around mid-April would be the time to see them again.
Author Note: For Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, the males usually migrate away first for winter before the females. They’re also the first to return home to find their new territories.
You can recognize the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s gender by its appearance. Adult males are known for having red or orange-colored feathers around their necks with black edges. Hence the “ruby-throated” name.
What’s interesting though, their neck’s color can change depending on the angle you’re looking from. In one angle you’ll see it in a beautiful reddish-orange color, while in another it can appear completely black!
This is one of the reasons why they’re usually mistaken as another species such as the Black-chinned Hummingbirds. You’ll also notice that male ruby-throated hummingbirds’ tails have a more forked shape while their faces are black.
As for the female and baby hummingbirds, their necks are usually white while their tails are more rounded than the males’. Their tails also carry a white color at the tip making it quite different from the male’s dark-colored one.
Their diet mainly consists of flowers’ nectar and insects. Hummingbirds in general are great pollinators.
Since they depend on flowers as a main source of food, their bills naturally carry around pollen with them. That’s why as they travel from flower to flower, they help greatly in pollinating them.
One of the flowers hummingbirds love is the Iris Fulva, so if you’d like to have a little visit from these lively birds, you can try adding it to your garden!
A ruby-throated lifespan can be from one year up to six. In this time, a female hummingbird will usually lay one to three eggs per breeding season. In this time, it’ll take care of her eggs for two weeks until they hatch.
Once the baby hummingbirds are there, their mother will start taking care and feeding them for around three weeks until they’re able to take care of themselves.
2. Rufous Hummingbird
- Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
- Weight: 2g to 5g
- Length: 3.5 in
- Wingspan: 4 in
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years
Rufous Hummingbirds are another common species in New York. Just like the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, they follow the same migrating routine.
Meaning that you’ll be more likely to encounter them in spring and less frequently once the temperature drops.
They usually start migrating by the last half of September then return at the beginning of May. If the weather is good, they may also return earlier in April instead.
Rufous Hummingbirds will also have their males migrating first and followed by the females. The same thing with returning, you’ll be able to find the males coming back first before encountering any females.
For male Rufous Hummingbirds, their appearances are more colorful than the females. Their backs are covered with orange feathers while their underside is a mixture of orange and white ones.
They also share the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s red-colored throat giving them quite the bright look!
As for their tails, when folded it gives off a sharp, pointed look. Their wings are also a little shorter than other hummingbirds with them not reaching their tail when resting.
Author Note: Unlike the male Rufous Hummingbird, the females have more grayish-green feathers. They might look a little faded but still equally beautiful.
Just like any other hummingbird, the Rufous Hummingbirds’ diet focuses on flower nectars and insects. Though, unlike the other hummingbirds, rufous hummingbirds are quite territorial.
If they found an area with tons of flowers and insects to feed on, they’ll most likely nest there. Once another species tries to approach their territory, they’ll aggressively chase them away.
Even if the other is a larger species, Rufous Hummingbirds proved that they don’t get scared easily!
They’ll also act the same way if they’re nesting in your garden and notice a feeder around. They’ll only keep it for themselves and won’t allow other birds to enjoy the food.
Rufous Hummingbirds can live up to 5 years in the wild. Though the oldest rufous hummingbird was recorded to have lived to almost 9 years.
For their reproduction, Rufous Hummingbirds usually have one to three eggs per brood. At this time, the female will incubate the eggs for around two weeks.
Once they hatch, they’ll proceed to take care of them until they’re able to leave the nest by themselves. This usually takes three weeks to happen.
3. Calliope Hummingbird
- Scientific name: Stellula calliope
- Weight: 2g to 3g
- Length: 2.8 in up to 4 in
- Wingspan: 4 in
- Lifespan: 7 years
Unlike the Rufous and Red-throated Hummingbirds, the Calliope Hummingbirds are not as commonly seen in New York. However, they do appear every once in a while.
You’ll most likely meet one in Spring, around May. You might also encounter one in December, however, it’s very rare.
Top Tip: They have a slightly hunched posture and short tails. Their wings are also short, barely reaching below their tails, while their bills are smaller than other hummingbirds.
As for the Calliope Hummingbirds’ females, their coat has the same green color as the males. Though their difference lies in their underbelly. The female calliope hummingbirds’ underbelly has a more peach-like color to it.
They also lack the signature magenta ray feathers of the male calliope hummingbirds.
Just like the two previously mentioned hummingbirds, Calliope Hummingbirds also rely on flower nectars and insects to survive.
You can also find them using the holes woodpeckers — sapsuckers— made in tree trunks to drink the sap.
For Calliope Hummingbirds, their lifespans can reach up to 7 years in the wild. However, the oldest Calliope Hummingbird ever recorded reached the 8 years mark.
As for their offspring, the female calliope hummingbird can lay around 2 eggs and incubate them for two weeks. Once they hatch, she’ll spend three weeks taking care of the chicks until they can leave their nest.
4. Anna’s Hummingbird
- Scientific name: Calypte anna
- Weight: 2g to 5.7g
- Length: 3.9 in up to 4.3 in
- Wingspan: 4.7 in
- Lifespan: 9 years
Anna’s Hummingbirds are commonly found on the pacific coast. Which means they’d very rarely appear in New York. However, there were still some instances where they did show up in New York.
So if you’re lucky enough, you might just encounter one of them while out on a walk!
You can recognize Anna’s Hummingbirds from their distinct looks. The male Anna’s hummingbird’s body is covered with vibrant green-colored feathers. As for necks, they’re slightly similar to the Calliope Hummingbirds with magenta/ pink feathers covering their throats.
Though the difference between Anna’s Hummingbirds and calliopes is that calliope hummingbirds only have rays or strips of their feathers with that color.
For Anna’s Hummingbird though, their entire head area is covered with iridescent pink feathers.
The females, just like all the previously mentioned hummingbirds, have a more low-key appearance.
Top Tip: The green feathers on their back have a more metallic sheen to them while their underside is mostly covered in gray feathers. A few pink feathers could also be seen among them.
Anna’s Hummingbird’s diet follows the same routine of all the previously mentioned hummingbirds. Though the only difference is that they enjoy eating insects a little more than nectars.
You might even encounter them resting close to a spider’s web or another insect’s dwelling.
Because of this, if you ever see them in your yard, let them enjoy their time there without disturbing them. After all, not only will they happily enjoy and pollinate your flowers, they’ll also take care of any insects around too!
Anna’s Hummingbirds can live to be 9 years old which is the oldest the hummingbirds in this list can reach.
Anna’s Hummingbird can lay two eggs per brooding and just like the other hummingbirds, she’ll usually incubate them for two weeks. After the two weeks pass, it’s time to take care of the newly hatched chicks before they can leave the nest in three weeks.
5. Broad-Billed Hummingbird
- Scientific name: Cynanthus latirostris
- Weight: 3g to 4g
- Length: 3 in up to 4 in
- Wingspan: 5.1 in
- Lifespan: 8 years
Just like Anna’s Hummingbirds, Broad-billed Hummingbirds are quite a rare sight in New York. Though rare, there were still a few sightings; which allowed them to enter our list!
The male Broad-billed Hummingbirds have a peculiar, yet beautiful appearance.
Their bills have a vibrant red color with a black tip, while their backs are covered in iridescent greenish-blue feathers. For their gorget, it’s completely covered in gorgeous blue feathers up to the head.
Their bills are long and straight, as for their tails, they have a little curve at the end making them more rounded and full than a female’s.
For females, their body is mostly covered in brownish-green colored feathers with gray feathers on their underside. Their eyes have a cute line of white feathers above them making it seem as if they’ve just done their eyeshadow!
It’s no surprise that Broad-billed Hummingbirds enjoy nectar and insects.
They’ll also frequently visit homes to eat if there are any hummingbird feeders placed.
Author Note: They’re known to be attracted to red or orange flowers. That’s why if you’ve planted any flowers with these colors, the chances of a broad-billed hummingbird visiting may increase!
Broad-billed Hummingbirds are known to live up to 8 years. Their females usually lay two eggs and just like the other hummingbirds, they tend to incubate them for two weeks until they hatch.
They then take care of the newly hatched hummingbirds until they’re ready to leave the nest.
Though they’re small, hummingbirds are quite fun to watch fly around your garden.
Not to mention how they could help you take care of your flowers; plus get rid of pesky insects.
They make the most adorable visitors in your yard. Once you encounter one, you’d want to find out if more will follow. In New York, there aren’t that many hummingbirds native to it.
But thankfully, there are still a few you might encounter. In this article, we’ve talked about 5 different hummingbirds in New York.
Now that you’ve read until the end, if you see a hummingbird, you can successfully recognize what species it is!
To find out where recent sightings of hummingbirds have been, try eBird. You can search for the latest sightings or particular species or what has been seen in a certain area.
The Ruby-throated and Rufous Hummingbirds are the most common in New York State.
Your own backyard is the best place to see these wonderful animals. Put up a hummingbird feeder and see what comes!