Wisconsin is home to several species of hummingbirds, known for their vibrant colors and impressive flying abilities. In this post, we will explore the different types of hummingbirds found in Wisconsin, their habitats, behaviors, and conservation status.
From the common and widespread Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the rarer and more elusive Rufous Hummingbird, we’ll take a closer look at these fascinating birds and their roles in Wisconsin’s ecosystems. We’ll also provide tips on how to attract and observe hummingbirds in your own backyard, as well as some resources for further reading and exploration.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher, a nature enthusiast, or simply curious about the wildlife in your area, we invite you to join us on a journey to discover the amazing world of hummingbirds in Wisconsin!
6 Types of Hummingbirds in Wisconsin
- Ruby Throated Hummingbird
- Broad-Billed Hummingbird
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Green Breasted Mango
- Mexican Violetear
- Rufous Hummingbird
- 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 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: 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: Colibri thalassinus
- Lifespan: Up to 8 years in the wild
- Weight: 6 to 7 grams
- Size: 9 to 10 cm (3.5 to 3.9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 to 14 cm (4.7 to 5.5 inches)
- Origin: Found in montane forests of Mexico and Central America.
Mexico Violetears are medium-sized hummingbirds that have violet spots on the sides of their heads and breasts and are metallic green overall.
Mexican Violetears may be found as far south as the highlands of Bolivia and Venezuela. They breed in forests in Mexico, Central America, and Nicaragua. In particular in Central and Southern Texas, non-breeding Mexican Violetears have been seen to travel northward into the United States.
- Scientific name: Anthracothorax prevostii
- Lifespan: Up to 10 years in the wild
- Weight: 7 to 9 grams
- Size: 10 to 12 cm (3.9 to 4.7 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 14 to 16 cm (5.5 to 6.3 inches)
- Origin: Found in the Caribbean and South America, from Venezuela to Brazil and Bolivia.
Male green-breasted mangoes have a blackish neck edged with blue on the chest, and their backs are glossy and brilliant green. Females have a black stripe running down the center of their white undersides, along with a few metallic blueish-green feathers.
The coastlines of Mexico, Central America, and portions of northern South America are home to green-breasted mangoes. Tropical deciduous woods, gardens, and a few open or moderately forested regions make up their habitat.
Wisconsin is home to several species of hummingbirds, adding to the state’s rich and diverse wildlife. While the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the most commonly seen species in the area, the state is also home to a few rare and elusive species. It is crucial that we continue to learn about and protect these species and their habitats to maintain the delicate balance of Wisconsin’s ecosystems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What species of hummingbirds can be found in Wisconsin?
A: The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird that breeds in Wisconsin. Occasionally, other species such as the Rufous Hummingbird or Anna’s Hummingbird may be spotted during migration.
Q: What is the best way to attract hummingbirds to my yard in Wisconsin?
A: You can attract hummingbirds to your yard by providing a sugar-water feeder and planting native flowers such as bee balm, columbine, and cardinal flower.
Q: How often do I need to refill my hummingbird feeder in Wisconsin?
A: Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned and refilled with fresh sugar water every 2-3 days, especially during hot weather.
Q: How long do hummingbirds stay in Wisconsin?
A: Hummingbirds typically stay in Wisconsin until late September or early October before migrating south for the winter.
Q: How can I help protect hummingbirds in Wisconsin?
A: You can protect hummingbirds in Wisconsin by keeping cats indoors, using organic and natural pest control methods, and avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides in your yard. It is also important to provide a clean and safe environment for hummingbirds by regularly cleaning feeders and avoiding the use of red dye in sugar water.