9 Species of Hummingbirds in North Carolina (Pictures & Info)


Hummingbirds in North Carolina

Hummingbirds are the brightly-colored, tiny birds endemic to the Americas. Although small in size, these birds have a wide following among humans. Most of the bird-watchers keep nectar in their backyard feeders just to attract these little birds to their backyard.

Did you know that these birds are found nowhere else in the world except America? There are about 340 recognized species of Hummingbirds in America, out of which only 17 species can be seen in the United States.

If you narrow down the search further to the state of North Carolina, you will find that 9 species of Hummingbirds find a home in the state. In this article, we will get a close look at all 9 of these Hummingbirds.

 

Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Scientific name – Cynanthus latirostris
Body length – 8-10 centimeters (3.1-3.9 inches)
Weight – about 3 to 4 grams
Wingspan – 13 centimeters (5.1 inches)
Lifespan – about 6.8 to 8.8 years
Diet – Omnivore

Endemic to Mexico and the southwestern parts of the United States, the Broad-billed Hummingbirds are birds that are known for their broad and brightly-colored bills. They are not native to North Carolina and are only rarely spotted in the far south of the state. These sightings have been outside of their breeding season.

The Broad-billed Hummingbirds are sexually dimorphic. The males have a dark green body with a bluish tint on their throat. Their flight feathers are brownish grey in color with white covert feathers.

The females have a dull green body with a pale belly and undersides. They also have a white eye-stripe behind their eyes, which the males lack. The tail feathers of the females are tipped with white. Their beaks are longer in length than their male counterparts but are a dull shade of red.

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The Broad-billed Hummingbirds have a rapid chatter call that sounds like “chi-dit”, that they utter both while perching and in flight. The males also have a distinct whining call that sounds like “zing”. They can feed both on nectar as well as small insects.

 

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Scientific name – Archilochus alexandri
Body length – 8.25 centimeters (3.25 inches)
Weight – about 2 to 5 grams
Wingspan – about 4.75 inches
Lifespan – about 11 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

The Black-chinned Hummingbirds are migratory hummingbirds who spend their breeding season in a number of places and travel south as far as Mexico in the winter season.

They are not endemic to North Carolina, nor are they common in the state. However, they have been seen along the coastline of the state during the migratory season.

In 2011, the Black-chinned Hummingbirds were declared to have the smallest genome of all living amniotes. These birds are also famous for hybridizing the Broad-tailed, Costa’s, Anna’s, and Lucifer Hummingbirds.

The Black-chinned Hummingbirds have a metallic green upper body with a white underbody covered with green flanks. They have a long and slender bill. While the face and chin of males are black with a purple throat and forked-tail, the females lack the dark face and throat patch and have a rounded tail with white tips.

These hummingbirds have a long, stretchable tongue that they use to catch insects in flight. However, their favorite food is nectar from flowers. In the process of drinking nectar, these birds also help pollination in plants.

 

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird

Scientific name – Amazilia yucatanensis
Body length – 10-11 centimeters (3.9-4.3 inches)
Weight – about 4 to 5 grams
Wingspan – about 5.75 inches
Lifespan – about 10 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

The Buff-bellied Hummingbirds are considered to be a minor breeding species of hummingbirds in the United States. They are found from the South of Texas to Mexico, and near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

In the state of North Carolina, the sightings of the Buff-bellied Hummingbirds are extremely rare. If you want to spot them, you should be in the southeast part of the state where they are seen several times in a year, irrespective of the season.

The body of the Buff-bellied Hummingbirds is metallic olive green with the lower breast that appears to be buffy, hence, the name. Their wings are rufous in color with a tail that is slightly forked.

The insides of their wings are white. Their bill is slender and long, with the females having a black upper bill that the males have a red bill. The females are also duller in appearance when compared to their male counterparts.

The Buff-bellied Hummingbirds prefer to inhabit second-growth clearings, open woodlands, plantations, gardens, and pine-oak forests with water bodies nearby.

Although nectar is their main diet, they depend on small insects for their protein. If you hope to attract them to your backyard, you can try setting sugary water in your feeder.

 

Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird

The Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii) is a hummingbird from  tropical America. The longish black bill is … | Tropical birds, Beautiful  birds, Pet birds

Scientific name – Anthracothorax prevostii
Body length – 11-12 centimeters (4.3-4.7 inches)
Weight – about 6.8 to 7.2 grams
Wingspan – about 6.25 inches
Lifespan – about 3-5 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

The Green-breasted Mango is a slightly larger member of the Hummingbird family. These birds are most commonly found in Mexico and are rare guests in the United States.

In the southern parts of North Carolina, these birds have been occasionally spotted outside of their breeding season. The Black-throated Mango is a close relative of these birds.

The male Green-breasted Mango is slightly heavier than their female counterparts, although both sexes have a long, blackish bill that curves downwards.

The males have bright green upperparts with a glossy touch to them, while their matte black neck and chest are bordered with bluish-green. Their belly has a little touch of black as well, with the flanks being bright green.

The females, on the other hand, have a dull bronze-green upper body with pale-white underparts. They have a black stripe on their chin that turns bluish-green on their throat. These birds are recognized by their high-pitched call “tsup”, and the song they buzz sounds somewhat like “kazick-kazee-kazick-kazee-kazick-kazee-kazick-kazee”.

 

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Scientific name – Selaphorus rufus
Body length – about 8 centimeters (3.1 inches)
Weight – about 3 to 4 grams
Wingspan – about 4.25 inches
Lifespan – about 3 to 5 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

Popular for their extra-ordinary flight skills, the Rufous Hummingbirds breed in the mountainsides and forest edges of western North America (Minnesota). These birds are not the permanent residents of North Carolina but are only seen in the state during the migratory season.

The Rufous Hummingbirds are sexually dimorphic, with the females being slightly larger in size than their male counterparts. The males have a rufous face, flanks, and tails, with a white breast and orangish throat patch.

The females, on the other hand, have green, white, and orange feathers on their central throat and a dark, white-tipped tail.

In 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCNOpens in a new tab.) declared their species to be included in the Near Threatened List.

 

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of  Ornithology

Scientific name – Archilochus colubris
Body length – 7-9 centimeters (2.8-3.5 inches)
Weight – about 2 to 6 grams
Wingspan – 8-11 centimeters (3.1-4.3 inches)
Lifespan – about 4 to 6 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

If you go anywhere east of the Mississippi River in North America, the most common hummingbird you will come across is the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

These hummingbirds spend their summers breeding in Canada and other parts of Eastern North America and move to Florida, Mexico, and Central America during the winter season. These hummingbirds are seen in North Carolina during their breeding season.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are sexually dimorphic, with the females being slightly larger in size than their male counterparts. The head of the male is metallic green in color, with their underparts being greyish-white. Their wings are dark in color with a thin, dark bill. Their tail is fork-like and has a violet sheen. On their throat is a bold patch of iridescent ruby red, which lends them their name.

The females have a white body with dusky streaks all over it. Their bills are slightly longer than the males, with feathers green, black, and white-banded feathers and a notched tail. The juveniles resemble their mothers in appearance.

The main diet of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is spiders, small insects, and nectar from the flowering trees. On some occasions, they have also been found to drink sap from trees. These birds have a special preference for nectar from bright yellow, orange, or pink tubular flowers. So if you want to attract them into your garden, you can plant these flowers.

 

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

Scientific name – Selasphorus calliope
Body length – 7-10 centimeters (2.8-3.9 inches)
Weight – about 2 to 3 grams
Wingspan – about 11 centimeters (4.3 inches)
Lifespan – about 7 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

Belonging to the family of the hummingbirds, the Calliope Hummingbirds are the smallest bird species endemic to Canada and the United States. The only birds smaller than them are the Bumblebee Hummingbirds, who are native to Mexico and appear in the United States as accidental vagrants.

These birds do not breed in North Carolina but are sometimes seen across the eastern coastline of the state during their migratory season. They are named after Calliope, the Muse of eloquence and poetry in Greek mythology.

The head and upper body of these hummingbirds are glossy green with white underparts. The males have a dark tail, green flanks, and wine-red streaks on their throat. In contrast, the females have a washed-pink shade on their flanks, white-tipped tails, and a dark-streaked throat.

The Calliope Hummingbirds have a unique style of courtship where the males flap their wings rapidly enough to produce a buzzing sound in order to attract the females. They do not breed in pairs, and it is believed that the males probably breed with multiple female partners in a single season.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Scientific name – Calypte anna
Body length – 9-10 centimeters (3.9-4.3 inches)
Weight – about 3 to 6 grams
Wingspan – about 12 centimeters (4.7 inches)
Lifespan – about 8 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

Anna’s Hummingbirds are medium-sized hummingbirds who have been named after Anna Massena, the Duchess of Rivoli. These birds are endemic to the western coastal regions of North America. Although they do not breed in North Carolina, they are spotted in the south-eastern part of the state during their migratory seasons.

The back of Anna’s Hummingbirds is an iridescent green with a hint of bronze, while their chest and belly are grey. They have a long, slender bill and green flanks. The males have a reddish-pink throat and crown, and a dark, forked tail. The females have red throats as well, but these are duller than their male counterparts in comparison.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are highly adaptable birds who don’t mind human company and are most likely to come to your backyard feeder. They mainly feed on nectar, along with smaller insects whenever they can catch some.

 

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

Scientific name – Selaphorus sasin
Body length – 76-89 millimeters (3-35 inches)
Weight – 3.13 grams in males; 3.24 grams in females.
Wingspan – about 11 centimeters (4.3 inches)
Lifespan – about 4 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

Allen’s Hummingbirds are small members of the hummingbird family who breed in the coastal regions of California and Oregon.

Although they don’t breed in North Carolina, you can spot these hummingbirds in the eastern part of the state during the migration season. These birds have been named after the American taxidermist and collectorate, Charles Andrew Allen.

Allen’s Hummingbirds are sexually dimorphic birds. The forehead and back of the males are green, with rufous flanks, rump, and tail.

On their throat is an iridescent shade of reddish-orange patch. At the same time, the body of the females is mostly green in color, with only the tail being rufous and speckles all over their throats.

 

Species of hummingbirds in North Carolina (bottom line)

Hummingbirds are undoubtedly a treat for our eyes, but they harbor other qualities as well. The flight speed of hummingbirds is insanely surprising. Flying at about 40 kmph, these birds can easily over-fly a car. They also have a fourth cone in their eyes in addition to the three cones we have, which makes them capable of seeing non-spectral colors. The next time you spot a hummingbird in your backyard, make sure you recognize their species.