Hummingbirds are native to America. You are gonna see these tiny birds all over the USA starting from the south pole to the north.
Let’s talk about this bird further…
Why these tiny birds have got the name called ” Hummingbird “?
The name “hummingbird” has evolved from the sound they make when they fly. Their wings beat so quickly that they create a humming noise. That’s the reason behind the word called ” HUMMINGBIRD “
Also, they have an excellent body shape that makes them aerodynamic and allows them to hover in mid-air.
As far as the species are concerned, Wikipedia has listed around 361 species of hummingbirds over all the world.
Hummingbirds are very small. The world’s smallest hummingbird is the bee hummingbird, which is found in Cuba and measures just 2.25 inches. The largest hummingbird is the giant hummingbird, which is found in South America and can measure up to 8 inches in length.
Every hummingbird has a different body color but generally, the coloration of these birds is very striking and bright. They have tapered tails and smallish heads, and their wings are relatively short compared to the rest of their body.
The hummingbird has a diet that is primarily nectar based. Yes, they love to suck nectar jumping from one flower to another by using their long beaks. If they don’t find the nectar, they fill their belly by eating small insects.
These birds are found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, but some species can be seen in North America.
For instance, Ruby-throated Hummingbird is by far the most widespread of all the hummingbird species in North America. It is the only species that breeds east of the Mississippi River, and its range extends from southern Canada to Mexico.
You will regularly find these sweet tiny birds in the backyards and parks of the USA. Especially on the plant flowers and feeders. Of all the bird species, the hummingbird is the only bird that flies backward.
Every fall, hummingbirds migrate southward in search of warmer climates. Unlike many other types of birds, hummingbirds do not migrate in flocks. Instead, they make the journey alone
Hummingbirds are one of the most fascinating creatures you’ll ever have the chance to see. They’re incredibly tiny, but they’re also full of life and energy. Just watching them is a joy. If you’re lucky enough to see one, it will definitely be an exciting experience.
Hummingbirds in Alabama
Alabama is home to a variety of different hummingbird species. We have caught 12 species that are commonly seen all over Alabama.
They are as follows:
- The Ruby-throated Hummingbird,
- The Calliope Hummingbird
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Black-chinned hummingbird
- Broad-tailed hummingbird
The order of Apodiformes contains two families of birds: the hummingbirds (Trochilidae) and the swiftlets (Apodidae). The size of these birds is tiny measuring from 3 to 5 inches in length.
Hummingbirds are among the most colorful of all birds. Their feathers have an iridescent quality that causes them to shimmer and sparkle in the sun. The males usually have brighter colors than the females, and their plumage is often strikingly patterned.
The northern hemisphere is a big place and has a lot of cold in winter. So it makes sense that birds that breed in the northern part of their range will migrate south for the winter, where it’s warmer. On the other hand, those in the southern region will usually remain in their breeding grounds year-round since it doesn’t get too cold there.
If you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, here are a few tips for you can try out:
- Add some colorful flower plants to your yard like bee balm, bleeding heart, columbine, Kniphofia, Dicentra spectabilis, and more.
- Add a feeder to your backyard and fill it with sugar nectar.
- Add a small birdbath or small fountain in your backyard, hummingbirds love to refresh their body with water.
The flying speed of the Hummingbird is marvelous. They can clock at flying up to 50 miles per hour!
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures, head over to the nature center or park during the summertime. You may also be able to find them on the roadside and in wildflower areas in the spring and fall.
Here are the top 5 hummingbirds that are seen most frequently in Alabama state.
#1. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird has iridescent green feathers on its back and a white belly. Its throat is bright red, and it has a black band on its tail.
Male has a ruby-red gorge on its throat, which is how it got its name. Females usually have a Green-throat. The largest part of the hummingbird’s body is its head, and its bill is long and curved. Its eyes are dark brown, and it has two black stripes on its face.
Both males and females have a Length of 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm)
The Weight is around 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g)
The Ruby-throated hummingbird has a wingspan of 3.1-4.3 in (8-11 cm)
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are found in open woodlands, especially near colorful flowers. They can be also seen in forest edges, meadows, grasslands, and in parks, gardens, and backyards.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 50 times per second and fly up to 60 miles per hour! They also can hover in mid-air and even fly front, backward, up, and down. They can also adjust their position very fluently. These birds feed on nectar, and as they move from flower to flower, they transfer pollen between the plants. They also eat insects, which they capture in mid-air.
These tiny birds love feeding on nectar and are attracted to red or orange tubular flowers, which contain a high concentration of nectar. Trumpet creeper, cardinal flower, honeysuckle, jewelweed, bee balm, and red buckeye are all popular choices for these birds. They also fill their belly with small insects like mosquitoes, gnats, fruit flies, small bees, and spiders. Sometimes, they also like to feed on tree sap.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird that regularly nests east of the Mississippi River. Every year, these tiny birds undertake an epic journey to their wintering grounds in Central America. The trip is around 1,500 miles and takes them nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico.
#2. The Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope is the smallest hummingbird of all species. The back side of the bird is covered with greenish-black color and a broad white band on the rump. The downside is mostly white, with a greenish wash on the flanks and sides.
The tail is black, with two white feathers at the tips. They have a very small head with a greenish-black cap and a white throat.
Two white stripes extend from behind the eyes to the sides of the neck. The bill is black and fairly long, while the legs and feet are pinkish-gray.
Adult male birds have a bright red gorget (throat patch), while females lack this color.
Both males and females have a Length of 3.1-3.5 in (8-9 cm)
The Weight is around 0.1-0.1 oz (2.3-3.4 g)
The Calliope Hummingbird has a Wingspan of 4.1-4.3 in (10.5-11 cm)
The Calliope Hummingbird breeds in open habitats such as mountain meadows, parklands, and gardens. In the winter months, they migrate to Mexico and Central America in search of food. It nests in trees or shrubs, often near streams. The female builds a nest out of plant material, spider webs, and down feathers.
Calliope Hummingbirds mostly rely on flower nectar plants like bee balm, columbine, and lupine. They will also visit feeders for sugar water. They also feed on a variety of small prey, including aphids, mosquitoes, and spiders.
Calliope Hummingbirds are aggressive territorial behavior. On the breeding grounds, males will spend more than half their time perched on exposed branches of willows and alders, keeping a close eye on their territory.
If they spot an intruder, they will quickly chase it away. This behavior ensures that each male has exclusive access to the resources within his territory, giving him the best chance of success in attracting a mate.
The Calliope Hummingbird breeds in mountainous areas from southwestern Canada to central Mexico and winters along the Pacific coast, from southern California to central Mexico.
#3. Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird is known for its iridescent green plumage. The male has a crimson throat and breast, while the female is mostly green with white underparts. Both sexes have a long, curved bill and a forked tail.
Both males and females have a Length of 3.9 in (10 cm)
The Weight is around 0.1-0.2 oz (3-6 g)
The Anna’s Hummingbird has a Wingspan of 4.7 in (12 cm)
Anna’s Hummingbirds are found in deserts, mountains, forests, and gardens. In the summer months, they can be found in the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the winter, they move to lower elevations or even coastal areas. Anna’s Hummingbirds are also common in urban areas. They are attracted to gardens and parks where there are flowers and trees.
Anna’s Hummingbirds mostly rely on flower nectar plants like bee balm, columbine, and lupine. They will also visit feeders for sugar water. They also feed on a variety of small prey, including aphids, mosquitoes, and spiders.
Anna’s Hummingbird is very territorial, and they will often chase other birds away from their territory. They are also unique in their courtship displays. The male will hover in front of the female and vibrate his wings, making a loud buzzing sound. If the female is interested, she will return his display.
Every year, they migrate south for the winter months, returning to their breeding grounds in the spring. While some Anna’s hummingbirds may stay in their summer range all year round, most will travel to areas with milder winters, such as Mexico or Central America.
#4. Black-chinned hummingbird
The males have glossy black heads and throats with white striking streaks on their lower throats. Whereas the females have greenish-black upper parts and grayish underparts. You will also notice a small white line on the side of their tail feathers. Both sexes have dark tail feathers with white tips, and long, curved beaks.
Both males and females have a Length of 3.5 in (9 cm)
The Weight is around 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
The black-chinned hummingbird has a Wingspan of 4.3 in (11 cm)
These birds are found in various habitats, including deserts, chaparral, woodlands, and gardens. Usually, they can be seen at feeders or perched on dead branches in tall trees.
Black-chinned hummingbirds mostly rely on flower nectar plants like bee balm, columbine, and lupine. They will also visit feeders for sugar water. They also feed on a variety of small prey, including aphids, mosquitoes, and spiders.
Black-chinned Hummingbird is feisty and territorial. They often chase away much larger birds from their feeding areas to protect their territory. Their behavior is quite unique, during the breeding season, males perform an intricate courtship display flying high in the air and then swooping down low over the ground in an effort to impress potential mates.
For migration, every year, these small birds undertake an epic journey to their wintering grounds in Central America. The journey can be up to 3,000 miles long, and the birds must navigate mountain ranges, rivers, and forests. The Black-chinned Hummingbird is one of the most dedicated migrants, often starting its journey before the first frost and continuing until the last flowers have withered.
#5. Broad-tailed hummingbird
The broad-tailed hummingbird is a striking bird full of vibrant colors that range from green to pink. The males have iridescent green feathers on their back and tail, while their throat and chest are a deep red. Females tend to be drabber, with greenish-white plumage. Both sexes have a distinctive patch of orange-red feathers on their rump, as well as a long, curved beak.
Both males and females have a Length of 3.5 in (9 cm)
The Weight is around 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
The broad-tailed hummingbird has a Wingspan of 4.3 in (11 cm)
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed in open areas in the mountains, often near streams. They are generally found at elevations between 4,000 and 10,000 feet, but they have been known to breed as low as 3,000 feet and as high as 11,000 feet.
Broad-tailed hummingbirds mostly rely on flower nectar plants like bee balm, columbine, and lupine. They will also visit feeders for sugar water. They also feed on a variety of small prey, including aphids, mosquitoes, and spiders.
These small birds are known for their shrill metallic-sounding trills. The males of the species are particularly vocal, and they use their trills to attract mates and intimidate rivals.
The trills are produced by the flapping of the bird’s wings, and they can be heard from up to half a mile away. Males also perform elaborate courtship displays.
They will fly rapidly back and forth in front of a female, sometimes darting upwards or diving downwards in a flashy manner. These displays help the males to stand out from the competition and increase their chances of finding a mate.
During the breeding season, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds can be found in mountain meadows and forests from Alaska to New Mexico. In winter, they migrate to lower-elevation areas such as southern California and Mexico.
While there are many different kinds of birds in Alabama, one of the most interesting is the hummingbird. These tiny creatures are fascinating to watch and can be found in a variety of colors. If you’re lucky enough to see one up close, you’ll be sure to be impressed by its beauty.