Michigan is home to a diverse range of bird species, including several types of hummingbirds. These small and colorful birds are known for their remarkable flying abilities and are a favorite of birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of hummingbirds found in Michigan, their habitats, behaviors, and conservation status.
From the common and vibrant Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the rare and elusive Rufous Hummingbird, we’ll explore the fascinating world of these tiny creatures and their roles in Michigan’s ecosystems. We’ll also provide tips on how to spot and identify hummingbirds in the wild, as well as resources for further reading and exploration.
Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher, a nature lover, or simply curious about the wildlife in your area, we invite you to join us on a journey to discover the amazing hummingbirds of Michigan.
9 Types of Hummingbirds in Michigan
- Ruby Throated Hummingbird
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Calliope Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Mexican Violetear
- Broad-Billed Hummingbird
- Costa’s Hummingbird
- White Eared Hummingbird
- Berylline Hummingbird
- Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 2.5 to 4 grams
- Size: 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 8 to 11 cm (3.1 to 4.3 inches)
- Origin: Found throughout eastern North America, from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in some parts of Central America during migration.
The male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have an iridescent red throat, and both sexes have bright green throats and back with gray-white undersides. Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have white undersides, greenbacks, and brownish crowns and sides.
The only hummingbird species that breeds in eastern North America is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which subsequently migrates farther south to Central America. Some travel across Texas along the coast or over the Gulf of Mexico. For breeding, they begin to arrive in the deep south in February and may not reach the northern states and Canada until May. They go south In September and August.
These little birds fly from one nectar source to another, catching insects in the air or on the webs of spiders. They will sometimes rest on a tiny branch, but because of their short legs, they can only shuffle along a perch and can’t walk.
The best locations to look for them outside in the summer are flowering gardens or forest margins. They are very widespread in urban areas, particularly around nectar feeders.
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are aggressive in the protection of feeders and flowers. After mating, they do not stay around for very long and may migrate by early august.
Ruby-throated females make their nests on thin branches out of thistle or dandelion down that are bound together by spider silk. They lay 1-3 eggs that are only 0.6 inches in diameter (1.3 cm)
- Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 2.7 to 4.3 grams
- Size: 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 11 cm (4.3 inches)
- Origin: Found in western North America, from Alaska to Mexico
Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange on the back and belly, have a white patch below the neck, and have an iridescent red throat. The females have a pale belly and a back that is greenish-brown and rusty in color.
As compared to their size, rufous hummingbirds have one of the longest migration routes, covering up to 4000 kilometers on each trip. They move south to Mexico and the Gulf Coast to spend the winter after breeding in northwest Alaska.
In the spring, they go north along the Pacific Coast, and in the late summer and autumn, they pass past the Rocky Mountains.
The main sources of food for rufous hummingbirds are nectar from vibrant tubular flowers and insects including gnats, midges, and flies. They use soft plant down and spider webs to keep their nest together as they make it high up in the trees. They lay two or three very little, white eggs that are 0.5 in (1.3 cm) long.
They are quite hostile and will attack any other hummingbirds that appear, even bigger ones or those who are resident during migration. They won’t stay around for very long during migration and will often chase off other hummingbirds if they have the opportunity. They inhabit mountain meadows and, during the winter, woodlands, and woods.
- Scientific name: Selasphorus platycercus
- Lifespan: Up to 12 years in the wild
- Weight: 2.8 to 4.5 grams
- Size: 9 to 11 cm (3.5 to 4.3 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 to 16 cm (4.7 to 6.3 inches)
- Origin: Found in western North America, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast.
Broad-tailed hummingbirds have iridescent green backs, brownish wings, and white chests and bellies. Females and youngsters have green dots on their cheeks and necks, while males have iridescent pink throats.
In the mountainous west, between late May and August, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed in high meadows and open forests between 5,000 and 10,000 feet in elevation before moving to southern Mexico for the winter.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird may slow their heart rate and lower their body temperature to enter a condition of torpor because of the cold at higher altitudes.
These hummingbirds typically eat nectar from flowers and visit hummingbird feeders as well as drink from larkspur, red columbine, sage, and scarlet gilia. They use tiny insects to supplement their food and also feed insects to their young.
Often built on aspen or evergreen trees, Broad-tailed Hummingbird nests are lined with gossamer and spider webs to provide extra warmth on chilly evenings.
- Scientific name: Calypte anna
- Lifespan: Up to 10 years in the wild
- Weight: 3.5 to 6 grams
- Size: 9 to 11 cm (3.5 to 4.3 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 to 13 cm (4.7 to 5.1 inches)
- Origin: Found on the western coast of North America, from southern Alaska to Baja California
Little Anna’s Hummingbirds are mostly green and grey in color. The female’s neck is grey with spots of red whereas the male’s head and throat are iridescent reddish-pink.
Anna’s Hummingbird is the most common non-migratory hummingbird along the Pacific Coast. The males do a stunning dive performance during mating, climbing as high as 130 feet in the air before plummeting back to the earth while making a loud noise with their tail feathers.
While they may also be found in scrub and savannah, Anna’s hummingbirds prefer the backyards and parks with, vibrant flowers and nectar feeders.
The nests of Anna’s hummingbirds are located high in trees, between 6 and 20 feet above, and they often have two to three broods each year.
- Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 2 to 2.5 grams
- Size: 7 to 8 cm (2.8 to 3.1 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 11 cm (4.3 inches)
- Origin: Found in western North America, from southern Canada to Mexico
The Calliope Hummingbird, the tiniest bird in America with the size of a ping pong ball, travels more than 5000 miles annually from Mexico to Canada and back. Moreover, they fight valiantly to protect their territory and even pursue Red-tailed Hawks.
Male Calliope Hummingbirds have shiny green backs and sides, brilliant magenta throats (known as the gorget), and black tails. The underside of females is more pinkish-white than white, unlike that of males, who have iridescent throats.
They migrate in spring from the Pacific Coast to breeding grounds in California, Colorado, and up to northern states and Canada, They migrate pretty early and arrive between the middle of April and the beginning of May.
Their nests are often found on evergreen trees and may be reused or built over an older nest.
- Scientific name: Cynanthus latirostris
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 3 to 4 grams
- Size: 9 to 10 cm (3.5 to 3.9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 cm (4.7 inches)
- Origin: Found in southwestern United States and Mexico
Broad-billed hummingbird has bright colors even among the hummingbirds. The males have a deep metallic green color throughout, and their blue throats reach down to their breasts. Females have light bellies and both males and females have red beaks that are black-tipped and broad toward their heads.
Broad-billed can be found in central Mexico and along the Pacific coast of Mexico throughout the year. Some birds spend the whole year close to the Mexican border, while others travel north to breed in mountain valleys in southern Arizona and New Mexico.
Broad-billed Hummingbirds prefer to forage in canyon streams and alpine meadows, although they will also visit garden feeders. They build their nests around streams at a relatively low height of about 3 feet.
- Scientific name: Hylocharis leucotis
- Lifespan: Up to 6 years in the wild
- Weight: 4 to 6 grams
- Size: 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 11 to 13 cm (4.3 to 5.1 inches)
- Origin: Found in Mexico and Central America.
Male and female White-eared Hummingbirds have black heads and white eye stripes, and both have green backs and breasts. Their crimson beaks have black tips. Males have a violet facial patch and a neck that is shiny turquoise green.
While they are uncommon in the US, white-eared hummingbirds may be found from Nicaragua up to the mountains in southeast Arizona, southwest New Mexico, and western Texas. They may have three broods in a year and typically nest between March and August in northern and central Mexico or later in July in Arizona. They may, however, start traveling to Arizona in March and finish by early September.
White-eared Hummingbirds live in shrubby areas, woodlands, or backyards, and they build their nests in low bushes or trees.
- Scientific name: Calypte costae
- Lifespan: Up to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 3 to 4 grams
- Size: 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 to 13 cm (4.7 to 5.1 inches)
- Origin: Found in the southwestern United States and Mexico, primarily in desert and scrubland habitats.
Costa’s Hummingbirds are mostly desert-dwelling hummingbirds with eye-catching, outward-curving purple neck patches and purple crowns. Their bellies are white with green coloration on the sides, and their backs are green. Female Costa’s Hummingbirds have a more white belly and lack the purple tint.
Baja California, southern California, and southwestern Arizona are home to Costa’s Hummingbirds. Also, throughout the winter, they go between Mexico’s Pacific Coast and Arizona, the southern reaches of Nevada Utah, and California for breeding.
Costa’s Hummingbirds live in desert scrub, chaparral, and deciduous forests, and they frequent a wide variety of plant types. They may have up to two broods a year and build their nests in bushes between three and seven feet from the ground.
Michigan is a great place to observe hummingbirds. These small, vibrant birds are a joy to watch, with their unique behavior and bright colors adding to their charm. To attract hummingbirds to your yard in Michigan, consider planting native flowers, using a hummingbird feeder, and avoiding the use of pesticides. By creating a welcoming environment, you can witness the beauty and wonder of these amazing birds up close. Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or just starting to explore the world of hummingbirds, Michigan provides an excellent opportunity to observe these tiny, yet mighty, creatures in their natural habitat. So, next time you’re out exploring nature in Michigan, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these fascinating and beautiful hummingbirds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What types of hummingbirds can be found in Michigan?
A: The most common species of hummingbird found in Michigan is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Other species, such as the Rufous Hummingbird and Anna’s Hummingbird, may be seen during migration.
Q: When is the best time to see hummingbirds in Michigan?
A: The best time to see hummingbirds in Michigan is spring and summer, typically from late April to early September.
Q: What is the preferred habitat for hummingbirds in Michigan?
A: Hummingbirds prefer habitats that have a lot of nectar-producing plants, such as gardens, meadows, and forests.
Q: How can I attract hummingbirds to my backyard in Michigan?
A: You can attract hummingbirds to your backyard in Michigan by planting nectar-producing flowers and shrubs, hanging hummingbird feeders, and providing a water source.
Q: Do hummingbirds migrate from Michigan?
A: Yes, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that breed in Michigan will migrate to Mexico and Central America during the winter months, while other species may migrate to other parts of the southwestern United States.
Q: Are hummingbirds endangered in Michigan?
A: While the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is not considered endangered in Michigan, habitat loss and other threats can impact their populations over time. Other species, such as the Rufous Hummingbird, are considered threatened or endangered in some parts of their range.