15 Hummingbirds In California 2022 (with Sounds)

Are there hummingbirds in California? The answer is yes. Besides the permanent residents, you may encounter emigrants on their migration route.

These colorful dancers are pleasant to see and sure to make your day. Scroll down to learn about their identity and behavior and have a good preparation to attract them to your garden.

There are 17 species of hummingbirds found in California. The Ruby-throated hummingbird is a year-round specie of the state. Additionally, Black-chinned and Rufous hummingbirds often appear in a few regions in winter. However, the appearance of the rest is quite rare.

17 Hummingbirds In California

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
  • Genus: Selasphorus
  • Species: Selasphorus Calliope
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Calliope Hummingbird’s Sound:

Calliope Hummingbird sound

Calliope Hummingbird is the tiniest bird in Northern America. Their hunched posture makes them even smaller.

Male birds have magenta rays on their throat. Their vest comes with a glossy green top – also found in females. However, their underparts are light green, while that of their partner turns to peachy pink.

Despite their cute appearance, these birds are quite fearless, as they even fight off large birds if threats encroach on their favorite places.

They usually feed low on the ground but breed on tall treetops near streams or in regenerating forests. They tend to rebuild their homes on top of old nests.

Male birds spend most of their time in the sky, watching over territory. To charm their mates, males usually perform a spectacular show of gliding to show off their skills.

Time of emigration: Calliope enters the northwest in winter. However, you cannot expect a crowded community. Some land on bare branches or gaps in the grasslands. You may struggle a lot to lure one into your garden.

nna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Genus: Calypte
  • Species: Calypte Anna
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Anna’s Hummingbird sound:

Anna’s Hummingbird Sound

Anna’s Hummingbirds look like the finest jewels of nature. Their bronzed-green fur glistens in the sunlight. A gorget and a rose-red crown make them real dancers on the stage.

On the downside, this privilege is for males only. The female bird’s appearance is rather faded which tends to be dull gray and green. They are only given a pale white line right above the eye.

In natural conditions, this species lives in eucalyptus forests, steppes, and riparian forests. The good news is that they are not shy away from urbanization.

The male birds act as entertainers to flirt with their partners. They sing in an odd tone, like metal scraping, which is not considered a hymn.

Time of emigration: The unique sound allows you to recognize its location. Sadly, they visit California one in a while. If they do, they occur in the northern part of the state during the cold winters.

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird
Buff-Bellied Hummingbird
  • Genus: Amazilia
  • Species: Amazilia Yucatanensis
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird’s sound:

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird’s sound:

The Buff-bellied Hummingbird stands out in the family due to its moderate size and buffy bellies. The adults have a red bill with a black tip. The males put on a bronzy blue coast and an iridescent green collar.

Their tails look rusty golden brown while their wings turn chocolate brown. Under certain lighting conditions, some bird watchers perceive this part as black.

The female hummingbirds are not as colorful. Their plumage leans towards dull coloration.

They often build their nests in deciduous trees or large shrubs. One characteristic of an ideal home is the dense canopy and interlaced branches.

Time of emigration: After the mating season, they fly to the Northern Hemisphere in the direction of the Northeaster. That is when you see a few sparse flocks in the northwest area. Unfortunately, there have been no in-depth studies of these birds, so detailed instructions remain vague.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Black-Chinned Hummingbird
  • Genus: Archilochus
  • Species: Archilochus Alexandri
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Black-Chinned Hummingbird’s Sound:

Black-Chinned Hummingbird’s Sound:

Similar to the Ruby-throated hummingbird, the Black-chinned Hummingbird has significant physical differences between the sexes. Males wear grayish-white below and metallic blue above.

Looking at their “outfit,” the purple “choker” is surely their statement piece. It is also easy to notice a white spot next to their eye.

The female birds have a pale gorget. Their unique identity is their broad-headed tail. Besides, three outer feathers are usually white, and their backs and heads reflect a translucent green and yellow.

These flying creatures often build nests near the homes of large birds. They hover and land on flowers to catch small insects in the blink of an eye. Born with good eyesight, Black-chinned hummingbirds can keep track of prey, fellows, and their territories with ease.

The community of the Black-chinned hummingbird is sociable. These birds achieve flexible adaptation when humans have recorded their occurrence in lowland deserts, forests, and urbanized areas.

Time of emigration: As the cold winds of winter roll around, the tiny birds flock to north and central California. You may hear the flapping of wings in close range. Cast your eyes on dead treetops or bare branches to see them.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
  • Genus: Archilochus
  • Species: Archilochus Colubris
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird’s Sound:

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird sound

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are tiny creatures with span wings of 8-11 cm. Male birds have glistening plumage in various colors: golden green on the back, red at the neckline, and light gray on the lower abdomen.

The appearance of the females is less eye-catching. They are endowed with white necks and sides. The outer feathers turn out to be dull metallic green. Life expectancy in females lasts up to 9 years, while it is nearly half shorter in males.

Both sexes possess excellent fast flying ability with 53 flaps per second and position control. The edge of forests, grasslands, parks, or backyards are their favorite home. Couples flirt for a few weeks and then separate.

Time of emigration: Ruby-throated hummingbirds dominate central and northern California year-round. Occasionally out of courtship, they transfer to the south. It is effortless to notice this species in your flower gardens in the summer since they got used to humans and became bold.

Costa’s Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird
  • Genus: Calypte
  • Species: Calypte Costae
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Costa’s Hummingbird ‘s Sound

Costa’s Hummingbird sound

The young Costa hummingbirds are pale green. The dusty coat covers the lower white abdomen.

Such characteristics stay the same as the females grow. In contrast, the males go through a spectacular glow-up. They wear a vibrant purple crown, and gorget flared out on their necks’ sides. The white eyebrow stripe is unchanged.

“Small but mighty” is what exactly describes Costa hummingbirds. Even desert conditions can’t hinder their vitality; you can sometimes find their homes on cacti. In their mating season, they become strict, though sometimes they also fight for nectar. Their aggression is comparable to Rufous’s nature.

Time of emigration: It involves a lot of effort to attract these birds as they stay far away from California. The best period to make your dreams come true is during the breeding season. It would be better to move to the northwest of the state. High-pitched whistles indicate that they are nearby and usually in the bushes.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbird
  • Genus: Selasphorus
  • Species: Selasphorus Sasin
  • Conservation Status: Declining

Allen’s Hummingbird’s Sound:

Allen’s Hummingbird’s Sound

It is almost impossible to distinguish the male Rufous from Allen’s hummingbirds. Identifiers do not come into play except for the range of action.

Both sexes of this breed wear the same bright sun-colored plumage. The head and back are highlighted with some green shades, while the flank and tail are rusty gray. The female sets themselves apart from the male due to the absence of iridescent feathers and the glistening patch at the throat.

Allen is a small and stocky species. Their average size measures 9 cm in length and 2-4 g in weight.

During the breeding season, the males show off their attraction with lightning-fast dances. They fly in arcs and hum and suddenly shoot straight into the sky and sink with the sharp wind sound.

The courtship dance, unfortunately, can’t retain the females for long. After this period, the female birds often return to their permanent habitat – bushes or sparse vegetation to raise young.

Time of emigration: You can catch these migrants arriving in southeast California when the signs of spring are just glimmering. Lay your eyes on the tops of the shrubs every time you hear the sound of a wasp.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed hummingbird
Broad-tailed hummingbird
  • Genus: Selasphorus
  • Species: Selasphorus Platycercus
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Broad-tailed hummingbird’s Sound:

Broad-tailed hummingbird’s Sound:

The Broad-tailed hummingbird’s green plumage matches the trees, with the green shade fading towards the flanks. The belly and thorax are white.

It is challenging to find the females hidden in the dense trees. However, the red-pink gorget of the male points straight to its location. As their broad tails spread, they reflect the white tips.

In the lower layers of mature conifers, you can easily spot their nests. And don’t look down on their small size, as they are ready to chase strange guests once they sense a threat.

Male birds are very active. They rush up and down the sky to flirt or pin their partner down. However, those couples never last long, as females take care of their babies alone.

Time of emigration: Only a few individuals appear in southeastern California during fall and winter. Listen to the loud noises from the male’s wings and catch his presence. Still, the reverberation of this sound becomes poor in winter as the feathers wear out.

Blue-Throated Hummingbird

Blue-Throated Hummingbird
Blue-Throated Hummingbird
  • Genus: Lampornis
  • Species: Lampornis Clemenciae
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Blue-Throated Hummingbird sound:

Blue-Throated Hummingbird sound

In the carnival of nature, the male hummingbirds choose themselves a glittering and mysterious bluish-gray costume. Its wings and tail have a darker tone. A few gray-green accents also appear on the upper part of the shoulders, neck, and head.

Both sexes possess a double white stripe on the face. However, the female’s appearance lacks the iridescent cobalt blue patches.

Blue-throated ones are among the largest members under the umbrella of hummingbirds in the USA. They are 2-3 times heavier and longer than the species mentioned above.

These birds use an elaborate duet during courtship. Instead of hovering in the sky, the males perform a few dances to draw attention. The female then flies to the chosen one’s location and copulates.

They prefer nests on cliffs or hidden corners of residential buildings. Owing to the great demand for insects to nourish the bulky body, they are considered assertive when foraging.

Time of emigration: California is rarely a destination for these birds. Some sometimes visit here in the winter. If a Blue-throated hummingbird gets into your feeder, there are good chances it will return next year.

Bahama Woodstars Hummingbird

Bahama Woodstars Hummingbird
Bahama Woodstars Hummingbird
  • Genus: Calliphlox
  • Species: Calliphlox evelynae
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Bahama Woodstars Hummingbird’s Sound:

Bahama Woodstars Hummingbird’s Sound:

Bahama Woodstars hummingbirds own olive green plumage and brown tails in both sexes. The white patch extending from the neck to the abdomen creates a strong visual contrast. When it comes to female birds, their bellies are cinnamon-colored.

During the breeding season, the males transform with prominent purple-red throat jewelry. This part reverts to light gray like the females after this stage. Hence, you should look at their tails (deeply split ones in males and rounded in females) for quick identification on normal days.

It goes without saying that Bahama Woodstars hummingbirds are easy-going thanks to their adaptability to many habitats. Though being considered tropical birds, humans have found them in shrublands and coniferous forests. They often build houses on tall, thin branches.

Time of emigration: The frequency of appearance of Bahama Woodstars in California is higher than that of other rare guests. The south of the state, where there are dense tropical forests, is their “stamping ground”.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
  • Genus: Selasphorus
  • Species: Selasphorus Rufus
  • Conservation Status: Declining

Rufous Hummingbird’s Sound:

Rufous Hummingbird’s Sound:

Immature Rufous hummingbirds have a cloudy look, displaying alternating green and white plumage. Their sides and lower parts are as white as paper.

The base of the tail is rust-colored, while their head is painted beige. If you approach them, you may notice some orange hairs on the throat. These characteristics remain the same throughout life for the female birds.

Meanwhile, the males have a spectacular molt. They change into an orange-red outer layer reminiscent of the sun. The gorget grew into a brilliant batch.

Nature has gifted this species an instinct for fast and precise hunting. That being said, they are one of the most aggressive hummingbirds.

The attackers never stop their hunt, even with larger comrades. Their superior flying and acrobatic skills make them smug as they often tease chipmunks and squirrels.

Time of emigration: Their migration season begins in the winter months. Favored destinations are the northwestern regions of the state.A good memory urges them to return to the old feeders.

Broad-Billed Hummingbird (Rare)

Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Broad-Billed Hummingbird
  • Genus: Cynanthu
  • Species: Cynanthus Latirostris
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Broad-Billed Hummingbird’s Sound

Broad-Billed Hummingbird’s Sound

Male Broad-billed hummingbirds look like sparkling gems from the bottom of the sea. Their plumage is bright blue covering most of the body. Their throats become prominent with a metallic blue patch.

Female hummingbirds own dark gray coats. The yellow-green hairs are scattered on the back. Their beaks are completely black, while those of the males are slightly red.

These birds’ nests appear in canyons at considerable elevations. Their forage territory is quite high above the ground.

Researchers have discovered differences in the structure of their houses compared to other species. Instead of lichens, this hummingbird forms a complete circle of grass fibers and bark.

Time of emigration: These rare inhabitants hide in the flower gardens of the west to cope with the cold winds in the late winter. The inter-river regions improve their habitability. Besides the abundance of nectar, the sound of diurnal owls may draw their attention.

Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Rivoli’s Hummingbird
  • Genus: Eugenes
  • Species: Eugenes Fulgens
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Rivoli’s Hummingbird’s Sound

Rivoli’s Hummingbird sound

Both sexes of Rivoli hummingbirds have a white spot behind the eye. Their bill and wings are long, and the whole body looks larger than other species.

Most of the time, their fur is not too colorful. Males wear dark blue suits. Due to the purple crown, they glow a little brighter when exposed to the sun. The female birds look duller. Their upper part is light green, while the lower part is gray.

Rivoli live in ravines near streams or creeks but often fly to nearby open grasslands to feed. When the breeding time comes, their nests are relocated above the conifers.

Time of emigration: Their normal destination is not in California. Their visits to the state take place a few times a year, mainly in August and September. Come to mountains rich in flowers, your likelihood of seeing them is a bit higher.

Antillean Crested Hummingbird

Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
  • Genus: Orthorhyncus
  • Species: Orthorhyncus Cristatus
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Antillean Crested Hummingbird’s sound

Antillean Crested Hummingbird’s sound

Antillean hummingbirds have glossy, emerald-green plumage. Their toned lower body is fully shown in charcoal gray. Yet, this tone fades towards the neck.

In contrast to the other male birds on this list with an accent on their throats, Antillean males are famous for their armored heads. You can imagine a mohawk Rockin hairstyle dyed blue and sprinkled with glitter. Their stiff and erect hairs cover a part of their short bill.

These birds remain single throughout their lives, except for the peak courtship season from March to June. The males use the usual expression of affection – diving in a U-shape.

Pairs separate immediately after intercourse. That means males are not involved in raising chicks or building nests but live in subtropical forests on their own.

Time of emigration: Southeastern California is the cradle of antillean crested hummingbirds. As they do not migrate in groups, you only come across a single individual a few times a year.

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird (Rare)

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird
  • Genus: Anthracothorax
  • Species: Anthracothorax Prevostii
  • Conservation Status: Low Concern

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird’s sound

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird’s sound

Green-breasted Mango hummingbirds are relatively large in length and weight. The green color covers most of their body. Brown appears on the flanks, while blue extends from the throat to the chest.

The males possess several bright copper hairs on their backs. The outer tail feathers have red and purple tones over a dark black.

A black vertical line distinguishes female birds on the chin that ends in blue at the throat. Their tail feathers reflect a dark blue color. Outer feathers sparkle in white at the tips.

These hummingbirds do not combine in pairs unless mating. The female birds are in charge of raising the chicks and building the house. They weave plant fibers into a small cup shape and use green moss as camouflage.

Time of emigration: Green-breasted Mango hummingbirds are considered vagrants in California. The good news is that recent reports of their appearance have become more frequent.

Tips to Attract And Raise Hummingbird

Feeder

Hummingbirds often come to artificial feeders. You should dilute a solution consisting of one cane sugar and four water to create an appetite. Sugar substitutes, honey, or other sweeteners won’t work and may even kill your “guests.”

As you have seen above, most species are highly possessive of their territory. Therefore, two birds can’t eat in one feeder. Instead, you should place several and each space 10 feet apart.

Feel free to keep them outside in the rain but not under direct sunlight. The extreme heat in California promotes bacteria production in the instant nectar.

Remember to change the solution every 3-5 days or when you see it turning cloudy. Do not use soap and detergents for cleaning. It is best to clean feeders with vinegar and warm water.

Gardening

Wildflower nectar is more than just sugar and water. Therefore, the sugar solution cannot provide many nutrients to hummingbirds. The best way to nurture these birds is to use a natural food source from flowering plants.

Hummingbird-friendly varieties are usually red, pink, or orange. The tubular and drooping flowers allow the birds to poke their heads inside and use their tongues to collect nectar.

Hummingbirds love pink, red, and orange flowers
Hummingbirds love pink, red, and orange flowers

You should consider putting in a variety of plants for successive blooming seasons. Each hummingbird species breaks into your garden at each defined period of the year. Even when two come simultaneously, they do not cause conflict.

Take a few minutes of your time to refer to the table of recommended native plants in California to draw hummingbirds below:

CategorySpeciesBlooming Time
TreesRed BuckeyeSpring
 BottlebrushSpring – Fall
ShrubsButterfly BushSummer
 FirebushSpring – Winter
 Red Star HibiscusSummer – Fall
VinesCoral HoneysuckleSpring – Summer
 Trumpet VineSpring – Summer
AnnualsCypress VineSummer -Fall
 Standing CypressSummer
PerennialsCardinal FlowerSummer–Fall
 Butterfly MilkweedSpring – Fall
 Shrimp PlantSpring–Summer
recommended native plants in California to draw hummingbirds

Conclusion

Though hummingbirds in California make up only a small fraction of the over 350 species worldwide, it is a blessing to observe them in the wild. You have to work hard and stay patient to attract these birds to your garden. The task is even more difficult for rare visitors. Do not give up. Your efforts will be paid off one day.

About Dang Thuong

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