|Additional Hummingbird Resources
Types of Birds
Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae), formally classified as New World birds, live in a variety of habitats across North, Central and South America.
Most people know them as the world's smallest birds. However small in size, the number of hummingbird species (the IUCN lists 335) ranks them as either the second or third largest bird family in the world (behind Flycatchers and Parrots).
Technically the family breaks down into two subfamilies: Hermit Hummingbirds (Phaethornithinae); Typical Hummingbirds (Trochilinae).
North American breeding hummingbirds fit into the Trochilinae subfamily, the category containing the most species, as well as the most colorful species.
The twenty three recorded North American species express their diversity in fifteen separate genera.
The yucatanensis portion of the scientific name for the Buff-bellied hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis) suggests its Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) home range.
During the past decade or so, changing land uses, and perhaps a changing climate, have led to increased sighting of the Buff-bellied hummingbirds north of the border, mostly the shrub lands along the western Gulf Coast through the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where it breeds.
The male, pictured above, displays the characteristic buff colored belly feathers, along with green chin feathers and a red bill.
Magnificent hummingbirds (Eugenes fulgens) inhabit the mountain areas of the desert Southwest during the summer. Most winter in Mexico.
The male's green gorgets and purple crown sets him apart.
Females, like the one in the picture, generally have green feathers that lighten around the stomach area.
Southwest residents anticipate their spring arrival, using it as a signal of the annual bird migration season.
Two Caypte species, Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) and Costa's hummingbird (Calypte costae) adapt to most Western habitats.
Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) rank as the most common Western species with an overwintering population located as far north as Washington State.
Picture three shows a juvenile male developing the characteristic red gorget. The crown and gorget shine red in the sun on adult males.
The Costa's hummingbird feels most at home in the desert Southwest, although a few have been known to stray as far north as Washington State and Alaska.
Males, like the one in picture four, display an extended gorget that shines purple in light.
With green wing feathers, female Costa's resemble female Anna's hummingbirds. The feathers on their belly tend to be a more uniform, light color, without spots.
Females nest in a variety of trees, often in riparian areas. Nests are built low to the ground.
The National Audubon Society suggests that while they are not considered threatened or endangered, increased habitat alteration, due mainly to residential and commercial development, continues to place stress on Costa's Hummingbird populations.
Migration patterns in their southern range tend to follow typical weather patterns. They tend to arrive as the late winter desert Southwest begins to warm, and tend to migrate during the peak of the hot summer season.
A small population is also known to overwinter along some border areas.
The hummingbirds link in the box on the right points to additional coverage of native North American breeding hummingbird species.
© 2010-2011 Patricia A. Michaels