One of the most curious and spunky types of birds, the hummingbird, is best identified by its small size, vibrant colors, and distinctive movements. Did you know hummingbirds are the only birds that are able to fly backward?
Hummingbirds get their name from the frequency of their wingbeats. When a hummingbird is flying, they will likely beat their wings around 50 times a second.
Because of this high frequency of wingbeats, they produce a gentle humming sound when in flight. The small size of the hummingbird and their flight pattern requires a lot of energy to maintain. Because of this, hummingbirds spend a lot of their time eating and drinking.
The wondrous mountains and views across Arizona make it a great place to be with wildlife and interact with the natural world. There are so many beautiful and amazing species of birds here if you look for them! You can watch these birds from your window or outside amongst them.
With seven species of hummingbirds seen across Arizona, with varying levels of the population across the state, it can be difficult to tell one hummingbird species from the next! However, with a careful eye, you can masterfully tell each of these birds apart.
Keep reading to learn more about these amazing animals and get some tips for quick and easy hummingbird identification.
13 most common Hummingbirds in Arizona
Here’s the list of 13 most commonly seen hummingbirds in Arizona:
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Calliope Hummingbird
- Black-chinned Hummingbird
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Rivoli’s Hummingbird
- Lucifer Sheartail
- Violet-crowned Hummingbird
- Costa’s Hummingbird
- Rivoli’s Hummingbird
- Allen’s Hummingbird
- Broad-billed Hummingbird
1# Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is not a common visitor of Arizona; these species tend to occupy the eastern coast of the United States during the summertime.
However, some may accidentally drift into the more eastern parts of Arizona during their breeding season. As such, if you ever recognize a strange hummingbird you don’t recognize, it could be one of these little guys!
These hummingbirds are best identified by their green bodies that shimmer in the light. They have beautiful, reflective, metallic-like feathers that really bring any sort of garden to life!
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is one of the best visitors to the world beyond your window! As with most hummingbirds, these little guys are incredibly personable.
In general, hummingbirds are a pretty solitary species, and they aren’t afraid to chase out other hummingbirds from their territory! In the eastern area of the United States, these are the sole species of hummingbird.
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are named for the distinctive red ruby feathers on their throats, officially known as the forget.
These feathers can look like a very deep, dark shade of wine red if the male isn’t flashing his gorget. However, the moment that he flashes them, these feathers will become vivid and reflective in the light.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are going to look the same as the males, except they don’t have these beautiful red throats.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are well-known for their nectar feeding. If you want to attract these birds into your yard, get some tubular flowers or nectar feeders.
Additionally, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird eats small bugs, such as aphids, spiders, or little flies. They eat these for protein and energy, along with the sugar they get from nectar.
These are amazing types of hummingbirds that resemble jewels floating through your yard. Keep an eye open for these amazing species whenever you can!
2# Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Unlike the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a species a little more likely to be found in Arizona. These little birds are scattered across the midwest during their breeding season.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird very closely resembles the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in many ways. If you blink twice, you’re going to have a hard time telling one from the other!
If you have a pair of binoculars or a close look at one, you’ll have a much easier time discerning one from the other.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird has a green body, and the male also has a reddish gorget. However, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird has more ‘cinnamon’ or buff-colored feathers.
Specifically, the tail and primary flight feathers for these little birds are going to be brown, while the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is going to have black primary feathers.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird’s gorget is also a little more on the pink side of the red shade. The females look like the males, but they do not have a colorful gorget. The feathers beneath their throat are simply cream-colored.
These birds make their homes in open woodlands, where they will survive off nectar and little insects. If you are hoping to attract some of these into your yard, you should be sure to leave out a nectar feeder or plant native flowers in your garden.
As always, a hummingbird is not going to be able to resist a beautiful flower garden!
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is going to breed high up in the mountains, where the temperature gets very cold at night.
In order to survive the temperature drops, their metabolism slows; their heart rate slows and their body heat is next to none. Despite this, these little 3 to 4-inch hummingbirds continue to survive and thrive in the wild.
3# Rufous Hummingbird
The Rufous Hummingbird is positively one of my favorite hummingbirds seen in North America. They have gorgeous, rusty coloring and a spunky personality that makes them super unique when compared to a lot of the other species found across the continent. These birds spend their winters in Mexico. During migration and their breeding season, they will be seen all across the western United States up towards Canada.
The male and female Rufous Hummingbird both maintain different appearances. The male Rufous Hummingbird is orange all over, with a little bit of cream on its chest. They have a light dappling of green feathers along their back with an amazing golden metallic gorget. These birds really look like no others, and they have a unique level of feistiness to back up their beautiful appearance!
The female Rufous Hummingbird looks quite different from the males, though both maintain a similar color palette. The female has more white on its stomach, with generally more green than orange on its wings and cap. They are still just as beautiful, spunky, and endearing. These birds have a super unique ability to pop in any garden! If you want to attract these birds to your yard, be sure to put up nectar feeders and plant tubular, native flowers in your garden.
These adorable hummingbirds really deserve our attention and care. The Rufous Hummingbird, at this point in time, has declining populations. You can support these
little birds by offering the space you can to your native wildlife, along with donating and offering volunteer hours to your local birding organization. These are some really feasible ways for you to make a difference in the wake of these beautiful birds’ decline in the wild.
4# Calliope Hummingbird
The Calliope Hummingbird is an indescribably gorgeous animal that spends its summers breeding in the high elevations of Arizona and the midwestern mountains. These are a species of low conversationalist concern, meaning that their wild populations are at a good level.
The Calliope Hummingbird is another species with green feathers. However, the lines of magenta feathers along the gorget completely separate this hummingbird from the males of any other species. When a male Calliope Hummingbird flares his gorget, it looks like a ruffled collar.
The female Calliope looks pretty similar to a female Ruby-throated or Broad-tailed Hummingbird. However, the female Calliope Hummingbird is going to have more distinctive and defined dots down her throat, mimicking the pattern of the male’s flared gorget without the magenta colors.
Like other hummingbirds found in Arizona, the Calliope Hummingbird is best attracted to open woodlands and feasts primarily on nectar and small insects.
5# Black-chinned Hummingbird
The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a brilliant and distinctive species found only in the westernmost parts of Arizona. They are well-known for the black feathers found on the gorget of the males.
However, when the light hits them just right, their iridescent feathers are going to come alive with a spark of purple.
Adult male Black-chinned Hummingbirds have green body feathers with white chests. As mentioned, their gorgets are what their species is named after.
The black feathers along their chin are positively gorgeous when they are flared enough to reveal the sparks of purple underneath.
Female Black-chinned Hummingbirds do not have a black chin. They have a green body and back feathers, with a belly of mixed feathers.
Their stomachs have some gray, black, and white feathers that help to make the females of this species a little more distinctive than some others.
In particular, these are a little easier to distinguish from the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Broad-tailed Hummingbird than one might initially think.
These birds will breed in their summer range, in the upper western part of the United States. However, they will likely start to migrate in early fall, as they spend their winters along the Gulf Coast.
For these little birds, that is a difficult journey! Along the way, they are going to spend a lot of time eating and restoring their energy so they can reach their destination safely, all so they can return in springtime again.
6# Anna’s Hummingbird
Unlike all of the other birds on this list so far, Anna’s Hummingbird is likely to spend the entire year along the west coast of the United States.
These birds are of low concern and remain in vast populations in areas of open woodlands by the coast. Anna’s Hummingbird is another one you are unlikely to see in Arizona, despite being the most common species of hummingbird along the Pacific coast.
Anna’s Hummingbird has a vibrant body. The male Anna’s Hummingbird is going to have a brilliant emerald green back, and the walls of its stomach are going to be outlined by this green, too.
Unlike all of the other male hummingbirds on this list, Anna’s Hummingbird’s gorget feathers are not the only location of metallic iridescence on this animal.
The crown of a male Anna’s Hummingbird is also going to have deep feathers colored like a dusky sunset. These feathers might also be found around the eyes of these birds, too.
Female Anna’s Hummingbirds are going to not have these brilliant crown or throat feathers. Rather, they have vivid green flight feathers and a grayish stomach. Along their throat, they might have some black dotting leading to their bill.
To attract these birds to your yard, it would be a good idea to provide nectar and native flowers for these birds to drink from.
These are some of the most beautiful birds. Though you will rarely see multiple hummingbirds together because of their solitary and feisty nature, it is a treat for the eyes.
When it groups, hummingbirds aren’t called a flock like most other species of birds might be. A group of hummingbirds can be called a bouquet, a shimmer, a glittering, or a tune of hummingbirds. There’s almost nothing more beautiful than that!
7# Rivoli’s Hummingbird
If you ever see Rivoli’s Hummingbird in Arizona, it would be because that bird was an accidental migrant to the state. It would be very rare to see them so far north.
However, if you are ever graced with the appearance of one, you should be sure to treasure it! These are genuinely stunning animals that cannot be compared to any other.
An adult male Rivoli’s Hummingbird is going to have a black body with dark green back feathers cresting between the shoulders of this bird.
Its gorget is going to be a shimmering cyan, while its cap is a deep violet. These colors come together to create a real gem of a bird! The Rivoli’s Hummingbird is certainly a sight to be desired.
A female of this species is going to have the same splendid greens as the male, though it is quite a bit brighter.
Its stomach is going to be a cream or off-white color. I would best identify a female Rivoli’s Hummingbird by the white liner dropping down from its eyes.
The Rivoli’s Hummingbird nests in the shrubs of forests and lives year-round on the Gulf Coast, though some might venture closer to Texas during the breeding season, as well.
The Rivoli’s Hummingbird is the second-largest hummingbird in North America, making this brilliantly colored animal a real sight to be seen. Even with its size, Rivoli’s Hummingbird is certainly much nicer than most other species of hummingbirds.
These hummingbirds are not going to push others around and bully them. This is certainly quite abnormal for a hummingbird, however, it is a welcome and kind change within the species, and it certainly makes the Rivoli’s Hummingbird a super interesting species! To see one of these Arizona would be very unlikely, though such a sight is never impossible.
8# Lucifer Sheartail
The Lucifer Sheartail is a positively gorgeous species that spends most of its breeding season in northern Mexico. However, some of these beautiful hummingbirds are known to drift across the border to Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico.
When seen over in the Arizona, the Lucifer Sheartail is a welcome sight for all birders. These hummingbirds are super unique and are named after their tail, which is a bit longer than most other hummingbirds and comes to a sharper point.
The Lucifer Sheartail is struggling in the wild, and this is a species notated to be at risk for endangerment if steps are not taken to conserve the well-being of this bird.
The male and female Lucifer Sheartail have two distinct appearances, which is nice for trying to determine which gender one might be. The male hummingbird will have an off-white belly with a green back. Its gorget, or the feathers along its throat patch, are going to be a royal purple.
The female sheartail is going to look quite similar to the male along its back, but it is not going to have the same noticeable gorget feathers. It will have a white throat with orange walls along the sides of its belly.
When these birds are seen in the Arizona, they are going to nest in scrublands, where the female will raise its young and look after its territory alone.
9# Violet-crowned Hummingbird
The Violet-crowned Hummingbird is a unique species that will occasionally drift in to the Arizona.
When it is seen in America, it is distinctive for being the only hummingbird in the U.S. that lacks a throat patch. Neither the male or female Violet-crowned Hummingbird has vibrant gorget feathers. However, their purple head coloration really sets them apart from any other species.
Both male and female Violet-crowned Hummingbirds look exactly the same. Unlike most other hummingbirds, both sexes have beautiful, vibrant, violet crowns, which is where they get their name from.
If seen in America, you will likely find the Violet-crowned Hummingbird in the southernmost regions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
When breeding, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird is going to nest in trees alongside streams. This makes a great territory for catching small insects and defending their personal space.
Like most other hummingbirds, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird is going to look after their territory and defend it passionately.
There is low concern for the wild populations of this species, meaning that it is flourishing in the wild at this point in time. If you would like to see one of these in your yard, your best bet is to put out a nectar feeder and offer them tubular flowers to get nectar from.
However, with this species not being super common in the Arizona as well as in United States, don’t be too concerned if you never see one appear at your feeders.
Looking for them in their natural habitat in trees along the edge of canyon riverways would certainly be the best bet for finding one of these beautiful birds.
Look for flowering trees beside a stream, as this is where the Violet-crowned Hummingbird is going to be spending its time and raising its young.
10# Costa’s Hummingbird
Seen along the west coast, the Costa’s Hummingbird commonly nests in deserts, where they will make their homes in shrubs.
This species can be seen in America as well as in Arizona, but some will make the choice to winter over in Mexico. They live in the heat of the Mojave and the Sonoran Desert while, at times, making their way over to the coast to bask in the coolness coming off the ocean.
If you would like to find one of these brilliant birds, you are going to have to take a trip out to the desert and search for some flowers out there.
These will naturally attract the Costa’s Hummingbird and ensure you can see one without having to walk for a very long time. The Costa’s Hummingbird isn’t inherently hard to find, as they are of low conservation concern, but they still require a bit of a trek.
The male and female Costa’s Hummingbird have two very distinct looks. The male Costas’s Hummingbird has a beautiful, flared, purple gorget that extends to the cap of this bird’s head to the wings of this bird. The male has green and white belly feathers with a greenback, as well.
The female Costa’s Hummingbird lacks the beautiful purple gorget seen on the male. Instead, their backs and heads are a faint green. Their bellies are white, and they have very soft, white chins.
The male Costa’s Hummingbird defends its territory by picking a few perches and calling as a warning to keep other hummingbirds out.
They catch little insects out of the air and take nectar from flowers out in the desert. These birds are very territorial and don’t tolerate other hummingbirds stealing their food, so keep an eye out for their feisty attitudes! It is very sweet to see all of this personality within such little birds.
11# Rivoli’s Hummingbird
The Rivoli’s Hummingbird is a brilliant animal that often drifts into the most southern points of America leading into Mexico. This bird may accidentally migrate further up into the states and has even been seen as far up as Montana and Arizona!
If you have ever been graced by the appearance of one of these hummingbirds, though, you should be sure to savor it. There are very few birds as naturally stunning as the Rivoli’s Hummingbird.
An adult, male Rivoli’s Hummingbird is very notable for having a deep, dark, black body with some darker green feathers accenting its back.
The gorget of this bird is cyan or teal, which contrasts really nicely with the black of its body when viewed from the right angle and lighting. The cap of a male is a deep violet. The Rivoli’s Hummingbird is an absolute gem, with no other species looking exactly like it!
A female Rivoli’s Hummingbird is going to look quite a bit different from a male. However, their vivid greens absolutely pop, and they look absolutely stunning in the wild. The females are not going to be as dark, and they are going to have cream or white-colored stomachs. It has a white eyeliner that makes it pretty notable.
These hummingbirds are going to nest in forests and shrubs year-round near the Gulf Coast, and they might be found throughout the southernmost parts of Texas during their breeding season.
For a hummingbird, the Rivoli’s Hummingbird is massive! Being the second-largest hummingbird in North America, this species is quite a bit more sizeable than some of the smaller ones seen in the United States.
Amazingly, these larger (large for a hummingbird) birds are known for being one of the more peaceful species of hummingbird. They tend to be a little more delicate to other hummingbirds and are a little more forgiving towards other species in their territory.
12# Allen’s Hummingbird
The Allen’s Hummingbird is an adorable, rusty-colored bird seen all along the Pacific Coast and migrates across the state of California before their breeding season and when going back to the Gulf Coast for the winter.
The male Allen’s Hummingbird has an orange body. Unlike most other hummingbirds, the male Allen’s Hummingbird is going to have a puffy, orange stomach.
Their primary feathers are black and their secondary wing feathers are orange. The feathers along the crest of their spine are green, which follows up to their cap, which is also green. Their gorgets are a beautiful rusty, reddish-orange.
The female Allen’s Hummingbird is going to be slightly more muted than the male. Their oranges are a little duller, and they don’t have the same gorgets as the male. Despite this, both the male and the females are positively gorgeous and look amazing out in the wilderness.
These birds are typically found in the open woodlands where they are going to nest in shrubs. You can encourage these little birds to come to your yard by planting native wildflowers in your yard or by putting nectar feeders outside for hummingbirds who come to visit.
Unfortunately, the Allen’s Hummingbird is currently on a conservation watch due to declining populations out in the wild.
If you see one of these birds out in the wild, cherish the sight of it, and be sure to offer them a feeder if you notice them in your yard.
You can help to protect the native populations of these birds by reducing your environmental impact and preventing invasive species such as house cats, flowers, and other animals from coming into the wild which can disrupt the natural order of your state’s biodiversity.
13# Broad-billed Hummingbird
Along with the Rivoli’s Hummingbird, in my opinion, the Broad-billed Hummingbird is a very close contender to some of the most beautiful American hummingbirds.
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is a jaw-dropping specimen that looks like a jewel when seen out in the wild. They will often spend time year-round in Arizon and Mexico near the Gulf Coast. But they can also drift and spend their breeding season in some of the southernmost states of America!
If you see one, treasure the gorgeous look of the Broad-billed Hummingbird! They are truly spectacular.
These hummingbirds nest out in forests in the wild, where they put their nests in treetops. Living within the trees makes it easier for them to protect their nests and territory from other species of hummingbirds as well.
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is a stunning gem with vivid and vibrant colors that absolutely steal the show. The male is going to be almost all green, with some cyan and teal accents along its gorget.
Smoky gray is along the bridge of its cap, and they have black wingtips. Both the male and the female of this species are notable for their bright pink bills that fade into black.
Female hummingbirds, unlike male ones, do not have an all-green stomach. They have a white stomach with green back feathers. They are much duller than the males, but they still look gorgeous in any garden!
If you are looking for these hummingbirds, one of the best places to look for them is in the forests closest to the Mexico border. They like trees, so a great way to find the Broad-billed Hummingbird is to camp out beside some flowers just near a dense forest.
Additionally, if you live near a forest in this general area, putting out a nectar feeder would also be a great way to attract these birds into your yard. Telling these hummingbirds that there is a sustainable food source nearby gives them another encouraging reason to stay within the nearby territory.
The next time you’re in Arizona for these little fellas, be sure to look up and see if you can spot one of these amazing creatures. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see more than one!