8 Hummingbirds Found in Virginia: (Pictures and Sounds)

What types of hummingbirds are found in Virginia?

There are 8 species of hummingbirds found in Virginia:

  • Allen’s  
  • Anna’s  
  • Black-chinned 
  • Calliope  
  • Rivoli’s AKA Magnificent
  • Ruby-throated 
  • Rufous  
  • Violet-crowned  

These 8 hummingbird species found in Virginia are further categorized into 3 groups: (Year-Round/Residents), (Seasonal), (Rare/Vagrant).

Year-Round/Native Hummingbirds

This hummingbird classification is defined as hummingbirds that are year-round residents residing in Virginia 365 days a year and do not migrate.

There are no year-round hummingbird species residing in Virginia. However, hummingbirds have been seen in neighboring West Virginia as late as the month of January.

Hummingbirds are much more tolerant of cold weather than most people would expect, especially the Ruby-throated and the Rufous hummingbirds, the two most common hummingbirds seen in Virginia.

According to eBird.org, some banded hummingbirds have been documented in temperatures of -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Seasonal Hummingbirds

This hummingbird classification is defined as hummingbirds that temporarily pass through Virginia as part of their migratory pattern during spring and fall migration.
Hummingbirds travel north to breed during spring migration and travel south during fall migration to winter in Mexico and Central America.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD – (Archilochus colubris)

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Archilochus
Species: A. colubris

Ruby-throated hummingbirds dominate Eastern North America and are the most common hummingbird seen in Virginia. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, 9,883 will be of the Ruby-throated hummingbird.
See Virginia Ruby-throated sightings map

The Ruby-throated hummingbird’s scientific name originated from Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, who first listed this scientific classification as “Trochilus colubris”.

Its name changed over a hundred years later and was reclassified by Ludwig Reichenbach, a German botanist, to “Archilochus colubris”, which is its current scientific name, meaning “top thief” or “sky spirit/sun-god bird”.

Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds have a striking iridescent blood-red gorget, stopping at the neckline. He is identified with a dull metallic green topside, a light gray underbelly, and black wings. The Ruby-throated hummingbird is a smaller species of hummingbird weighing less than 4.5 grams or 2 U.S. dimes and is 2.8 to 3.3 inches in length. Their lifespan is approximately 3-5 years. 

Aaroncutler1 Male Ruby throated 1
Adult Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Aaroncutler1
Taken: Alexandria, Virginia
Aaroncutler1 Male Ruby throated 2
Adult Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Aaroncutler1
Taken: Alexandria, Virginia

Note: The Male Ruby-throated hummingbird is drinking from a Black & Blue Salvia perennial plant.

Male Ruby throat 1 OHIO
Adult Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar
Male Ruby 3 TN
Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: paulapaintsart

Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds have a white throat with some light stippling and are typically larger than the males. The oldest female Ruby-throated hummingbird has been recorded at 9 years, almost double that of the male.

However, the average lifespan of a Ruby-throated hummingbird is approximately 3-5 years.

Female Ruby 1 TN
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Paulapaintsart
Female Ruby throat 3
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Dgen.photos

The only hummingbird that breeds and nests in Virginia is the Ruby-throated hummingbird; all other hummingbirds seen in Virginia are just passing through to their nesting destination.
See: Ruby-throated breeding map

Juvenile male and female Ruby-throated hummingbirds during their initial stages of life resemble their mother exhibiting a white throat with light stippling. 

As the males mature, they begin to display a few specks of color near their neckline and eventually their bolder red throat feathers become more dominant and stately displaying a colorful gorget. 

Juv Male Ruby OHIO
Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar

Note: His throat feathers are slowly coming in, displaying a few dots of color near his neckline and showing the first stages of adolescence. 

Juv Male Ruby throated 1 MN WITH BEE
Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: MaryLou Ziebarth

Note: This juvenile Ruby-throated hummingbird is struggling with a bee or wasp situation at the feeder.
See my article: Bees On My Hummingbird Feeder: (9 Tips To Get Rid of Them)

Juv Baby Ruby throated 2 OHIO
Baby/Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar

Note: The newly white fluffy down feathers on this baby/juvenile Ruby-throated hummingbird’s bottom.

Also, notice the nice fat reserves they have accumulated by being fed by their diligent mother which will sustain them through adolescence.

Juv Baby Ruby throated OHIO
Baby/Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Sounds

There are two migration routes for the Ruby-throated hummingbird during the spring and fall migrations. 

The first migration route is a direct but exhausting nonstop journey southwest over the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico and then down to Central America for the winter.  The flight distance over the Gulf of Mexico is over 500 miles. Although this is the direct “shortroute, there are numerous obstacles faced by these birds.

Some obstacles include not being able to rest, having no means to refuel or eat, and having to avoid the dangerous tropical Atlantic hurricanes while flying to their destination. To make matters worse, depending on how you look at it, they migrate during the dark hours of the night or are taking the “Red-eye flight”.

Researchers believe their small size makes the energy expenditure of their grueling trans-oceanic migration pattern more taxing for males than for females even though they both double their body’s fat prior to making the migration across the Gulf of Mexico.

The second migration route is over 2,000 miles, flying along the coastline outlining the Gulf of Mexico. Although this is the “long” route, it allows the opportunity to rest and refuel even though there are fewer food source guarantees along the way. 

Scientists are unclear and continue to investigate why one group of birds would prefer to take one route over the other.
See my article: Hummingbird Migration in Virginia

Hummingbirds are much more tolerant of cold temperatures than most people realize.

According to eBird.org, through branding practices in Wisconsin, the Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds have been documented surviving in temperatures of -9F and wind chills of -36F.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Some Virginian hummingbird admirers leave hummingbird feeders up all winter long to provide life-nourishing nectar to the most commonly seen residents: the Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds.

This selfless act also provides nectar to other migrating species unable to migrate because of injury or old age.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

Ruby-throated hummingbirds prefer open woodlands and are often seen in parks, gardens, and backyards. They are solitary birds except during mating periods when they are fiercely territorial and aggressive towards hummingbirds of other species.

Even though these hummingbirds have an aggressive side they can still be eaten by predators such as large invertebrates, praying mantises, orb-weaver spiders, and dragonflies.
See my article: 10 Common Things That Kill Hummingbirds

During a capture and release banding operation in West Virginia, the oldest living recorded female Ruby-throated hummingbird was 9 years and 1 month old.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD – (Selasphorus rufus)

Conservation Status: Near threatened
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species: S. rufous

Rufous hummingbirds are migratory birds and the second most commonly seen hummingbird in Virginia. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 87 will be the Rufous hummingbird.
See Virginia Rufous sightings map

It is amazing to realize in comparing the top 2 commonly seen hummingbirds species in Virginia out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, 9,883 will be Ruby-throated while only 87 will be Rufous hummingbirds.

The Rufous hummingbird gets its name from the Latin word rubrum meaning “red” which is used to describe its reddish-brown coloring. 

Male Rufous hummingbirds display an iridescent orange-red gorget with rusty-colored flanks and tail. They have a white to beige underbelly and a black bill. Males can also have green plumage with specks of green color on their rustic-looking backs or on the crown of their head along with chocolate brown dorsal feathers. Their size is 2.8 inches to 3.5 inches in length and weigh 3.2 grams.

Jace Rufous 1 WA
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: jace_the_bird_nerd

Note: The iridescent orange-red gorget.

Male Rufous 7 OR
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
Male Rufous 1
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: The gorget can appear chocolate brown in certain lighting.

Juvenile male Rufous hummingbirds have a rustic look with small iridescent orange specks of color on their throats.

Juvenile Rufous hummingbirds are so similar in coloring and temperament to Allen’s hummingbirds that they are practically indistinguishable in the field. Therefore, identification is established by range rather than appearance.

Aaroncutler1 Juv Male Rufous VA
Juvenile Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Aaroncutler1
Taken: Alexandria, Virginia

Note: Juvenile male Rufous hummingbirds often look disheveled as they develop a mixture of immature and adult feathers, also called plumage.

Juv Rufous 2 OHIO
Juvenile Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar

Note: His throat feathers are slowly coming in, displaying a few dots of color near his neckline and showing the first stages of adolescence.

Juv Rufous 3 OHIO
Juvenile Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar
Juv Rufous 4 OHIO
Juvenile Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar

Note: Preening flight feathers is an important daily routine to maintain hygiene and to keep the feathers flexible, strong, in alignment, and parasite-free.

Female Rufous hummingbirds are green and white with some iridescent orange feathers on their throat. Their tail is dark with white tips and an orange-red base. Female Rufous hummingbirds are slightly larger than the males in anticipation of producing offspring.

Female Rufous OR 1
Female Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
Rufous Hummingbird Sounds

They have one of the northernmost breeding ranges of any hummingbird in the world; migrating north from Mexico and nesting as far north as Alaska to breed during the summer months.

They are polygamous and will mate with several partners in a season.

See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Rufous hummingbirds make the longest migration of any bird in the world. They travel making a clockwise circuit of western America every year that is approximately 3,900 miles.

This migratory pattern during the seasons coordinates their arrival perfectly while catching nectar and blooming flowers throughout the year, fueling their bodies for their long journey.

Most Rufous hummingbirds will not spend the winter in Virginia and will decide to migrate south to Mexico. However, hummingbirds are much more tolerant of cold temperatures than most people realize.

According to eBird.org, through branding practices in Wisconsin, the Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds have been documented surviving in temperatures of -9F and wind chills of -36F.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Some Virginian hummingbird admirers leave hummingbird feeders up all winter long to provide life-nourishing nectar to the most commonly seen residents: the Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds.

This selfless act also provides nectar to other migrating species unable to migrate because of injury or old age.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

Rufous hummingbirds are highly territorial and aggressive towards other hummingbirds and animals. They are fearless and have a reputation for being feisty and chasing away not only other hummingbirds but even large birds and rodents from their favorite feeders.

The female mothers have been known to even attack squirrels and chipmunks that come too close to their nest.

Rufous hummingbirds have excellent memories and have been known to investigate the location of an old hummingbird feeder years after the feeder has been removed.

Their flying acrobatic skills can outmaneuver all other hummingbird species, making them extremely competitive at feeders.

Hummingbird enthusiasts are extremely valuable when they plant flowering plants to attract hummingbirds and provide feeders with homemade hummingbird nectar to contribute to a successful migration. These welcoming habitats provide and ensure safe travels as well as a reliable sanctuary for rest and refueling during their journey.

Due to habitat loss in the Pacific Northwest, Rufous hummingbirds are listed at “near threatened” status by the IUCN red list of threatened species.

During a capture and release banding operation in British Columbia, the oldest living recorded female Rufous hummingbird was 8 years and 11 months.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Rare/Vagrant Hummingbirds

This hummingbird classification is defined as hummingbirds residing in a group outside of their normal geographic range. Not only do these species of hummingbirds have a wide variety of specific geographic ranges, but they are also known to sometimes interbreed with each other creating hybrids.

These hummingbirds are out of their normal area of occupancy but have been documented as being seen in Virginia.

ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD – (Selasphorus sasin)

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species: S. sasin

Allen’s hummingbirds are rare migratory visitors to Virginia because they commonly reside and nest along the California coast and winter in Mexico. However, some continue their migration and wander farther east into Wisconsin, south into Texas and continue their journey as far as Florida being noted as rare migrants.

On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 45 will be Allen’s hummingbirds.
See Virginia Allen’s sightings map

The common name of Allen’s hummingbird is in commemoration of Charles Andrew Allen (1841-1930), an American collector and taxidermist. 

Male Allen’s hummingbirds are green-backed with a green forehead and rust-colored flanks, rump, and tail. When their tail feathers are fanned out you can see their chocolate-colored tips. The gorget of the male Allen’s hummingbird is an iridescent orange-red, however, in darker lighting, it can appear chocolate brown. Allen’s hummingbirds are 3.3 inches to 3.5 inches in length and weigh 2-4 grams.

DSC00745 Male Allens WATERMARK 1
Adult Male Allen’s Hummingbird

Note: The iridescent orange-red gorget.

DSC00654 crop WATERMARKED
Adult Male Allen’s Hummingbird

Note: The gorget can appear chocolate brown in certain lighting. This is the same adult male Allen’s hummingbird featured above.

The females and juveniles have similar coloring as the males but do not have an iridescent gorget.

Humm parents Mate to Nest
Female Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: aarongomperts

See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Their nesting season is perfectly timed to when the regions have the most rainfall which helps provide prolific nectar-producing flowers for their offspring.

DSC01134 Male juv Allens WATERMARK use
Baby/Juvenile Male Allen’s Hummingbird

Note: This baby/juvenile male Allen’s hummingbird is on a tomato cage defending a feeder. His newly white fluffy down feathers are visible near his bottom. 

Also, notice the nice fat reserves he has accumulated by being fed by his diligent mother which will sustain him through adolescence. 

DSC00998 baby WATERMARK use
Baby/Juvenile Male Allen’s Hummingbird

Note: On a tomato cage and hiding in a tomato plant near a feeder.

Allen’s Hummingbird Sounds

Juvenile Allen’s hummingbirds are so similar in coloring and temperament to a Rufous hummingbird that they are practically indistinguishable in the field. Therefore, identification is established by range rather than appearance. 

Male Allen’s hummingbirds perform a striking, quick back-and-forth courtship dance resembling the movement of a pendulum. They have one of the most complex territorial dive displays of any North American hummingbird.
See my article: Hummingbird Dance: 5 Interpretive Explanations

Male and female Allen’s hummingbirds are not social birds. They do not associate with one another outside of breeding. Similar to a Rufous hummingbird, Allen’s hummingbirds are highly territorial and aggressive towards other hummingbirds and larger predatory birds such as hawks. 

During a capture and release banding operation in California, the oldest living recorded Allen’s hummingbird was 5 years and 11 months old when she was first captured in 2004 and again in 2009.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD – (Calypte anna)

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Calypte
Species: C. anna

Anna’s hummingbirds are named after Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli. They are a rare visitor to Virginia since they are seen mainly in the Western United States. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 45 will be Anna’s hummingbirds.
See Virginia Anna’s sightings map

Anna’s hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds to stay year-round on the Pacific Coast. These hummingbirds live in a Mediterranean climate with moderate wet winters and hot dry summers. 

Male Anna’s hummingbirds are the only hummingbird species in North America with a red crown. They are identified as mostly green, gray, and magenta in color. The males have a flashy and colorful iridescent magenta gorget and crown. Their size ranges from3.5 inches to 4.3 inches in length and they weigh 2.4 to 4.5 grams.

The gorget on a male hummingbird is named after the protective metal piece in a suit of armor that covers the wearer’s throat to prevent injury when in battle. Since male hummingbirds are very aggressive with each other when fighting for their own territory, this name is appropriate and fitting to describe their physical attributes.

Male Annas 7
Adult Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: The iridescent magenta gorget and crown with a metallic green shiny back.

Red close up
Photo by: Robert Donaldson
Male Annas 4
Juvenile Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: This Anna’s hummingbird could be a juvenile in those awkward teenage years or it could be during a molting stage.

Juv Male Annas OR
Baby/Juvenile Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: This baby/juvenile male Anna’s hummingbird is beginning to show his magenta head feathers near his temple along with some faint color starting to show on his gorget.

Also, notice the newly white fluffy down feathers near his bottom as well as the nice fat reserves he has accumulated by being fed by his diligent mother. 

Female Anna’s hummingbirds are overall not as colorful as the males, appearing pale green in color. Females can also have a gorget, but it is a smaller patch of magenta. Females tend to have a pale white line over each eye that makes them distinctive.

Adult Female Annas at Gamble Garden CA
Adult Female Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: rwm_inthewild
Female Adult Annas at feeder crop
Adult Female Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Mehta.vishal.360
Female Annas OR 1
Baby/Juvenile Female Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
baby feeding cropped
Female and Baby/Juvenile Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Mehta.vishal.360

Female Anna’s hummingbirds raise their young with no help from the males.

See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Anna’s Hummingbird Sounds

The courtship and dive displays performed by Anna’s hummingbirds are theatrical and entertaining. From the beginning to the end, the full dive display lasts 12 seconds.
See my article: Hummingbird Dance: 5 Interpretive Explanations

Unlike many northern temperate hummingbirds, male Anna’s hummingbirds sing during courtship along with making vibrations with their tail feathers to attract a female.

Anna’s hummingbirds protect their territory with elaborate dives targeted towards predatory birds and even towards people they perceive to be threatening.

Anna’s hummingbirds hybridize, cross-breeding readily with Black-chinned and Rufous hummingbirds.

During a capture and release banding operation in Arizona, the oldest living recorded male Anna’s hummingbird was 8 years and 2 months.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD – (Archilochus alexandri)

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Archilochus
Species: A. alexandri

Black-chinned hummingbirds are a migrating species and are considered the hummingbird of the West. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 45 will be Black-chinned hummingbirds.
See Virginia Black-chinned sightings map

Black-chinned hummingbird’s scientific name is in commemoration of Dr. Alexandre, a French doctor who was the first to discover the species in Mexico.

Male Black-chinned hummingbirds are identified by their royal purple gorget, showing a small glimmer of color right near the neckline like a buttoned-up shirt. Since the male purple gorget or throat color is minimal, at times they can appear to look all black. They have metallic green on their backs and flanks with white on their underbelly. Their dark tail is forked and their bill is black. Their size is 3.25 inches to 3.5 inches in length and weigh 2.8-5.6 grams.

Male Black Chinned ID
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Adult Black chinned CO
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: shaunwilseyphotography

Female and juvenile Black-chinned hummingbirds have no gorget but have a dark rounded tail with white tips and beige margins on the dorsal feathers that turn dark black as they mature.  Their head and back reflect the dull metallic marbled colors of beige, greens, whites, yellow-green, and dark browns, looking similar to the scales found on a snake.

Female Black chinned AZ 1
Adult Female Black-Chinned Hummingbird 
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise
Black-Chinned Sounds

Black-chinned hummingbirds breed east of the Cascade mountain range. They are known to make their nests near larger more active bird nests, reducing the chance of predators around the nest by using a decoy strategy.

Black-chinned hummingbirds have the smallest known genetic material of all living vertebrates or mammals. Because of their small size, they are at risk of being preyed upon by larger insect-eating birds.
See my article: 10 Common Things That Kill Hummingbirds

While typically a territorial species, if Black-chinned hummingbirds find themselves in an area with a large population of hummingbirds and food sources, their territorial behavior reduces, and they will play nice and share. 

They hybridize and readily crossbreed with other hummingbird species. Black-chinned hummingbirds can live up to 10 years, which is extremely long in comparison to other birds and animals of similar size.

During a capture and release banding operation in Texas, the oldest living recorded female Black-chinned hummingbird was 11 years and 2 months old.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD – (Selasphorus calliope)

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Selasphorus
Species: S. calliope

Calliope hummingbirds are a migrating species and are a rare visitor to Virginia since they are seen mainly in the Western United States. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 45 will be Calliope hummingbirds.
See Virginia Calliope sightings map

Calliope hummingbirds are named after a Greek mythological muse, who represented poetry and eloquence. Calliope means “beautiful voice” in ancient Greek.

Male Calliope hummingbirds are easily identified by their iridescent purple crown and long striking spaced outline row of feathers that project down the sides of their throat.  Like many hummingbirds, the backs are metallic green and these birds measure 3 inches in length and weigh 2-3 grams.

Calliope Male ID
Adult Male Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Calliope Juv Male ID
Juvenile Male Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male

Note: His bright throat feathers are slowly coming in.

Female Calliope hummingbirds have gray-green crowns and buff-colored flanks which are the underbelly or wing of a bird. Females sport dark tails with white tips.

Calliope Female ID
Female Calliope Hummingbird 
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Calliope Hummingbird Sounds

Like many hummingbirds, Calliopes communicate not just by their song, but also by manipulating their feathers during flight to make different buzzing noises that act as a form of language and communication.

When a female is quietly perched, the male will passionately fly back and forth and engage in a “U” shaped courtship display to gain her attention. During his presentation, the male hummingbird will produce a vocal serenade while swinging his body from side to side in front of the female.
See my article: Hummingbird Dance: 5 Interpretive Explanations

Male Calliope hummingbirds establish a breeding territory and mate with every available female hummingbird that accepts his courtship.

During nest construction, the female Calliope chooses the tops of pine cones as her building site. She will also dismantle nests from previous seasons and recycle them in her new nest along with stealing materials from the nests of other birds in order to construct her own.

Therefore, female Calliopes are often chased and attacked by larger and more aggressive hummingbirds such as Allen’s and Rufous hummingbirds. To avoid these attacks, the Calliope maintains a relatively low profile in comparison to other species.

Calliope hummingbirds are the smallest long-distance migratory bird in the world. Their migratory patterns mimic Rufous hummingbirds with spring migration. During northbound spring migration, they pass through the Pacific Flyways.

On their southbound journey in the fall, they pass through the Pacific and Rocky Mountain Flyways towards their wintering destination in Mexico.
See my article: Hummingbird Migration in Virginia

Because Calliope hummingbirds have a more restricted wintering range than most hummingbirds, they are particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and natural disasters, such as climate change and wildfires.

During a capture and release banding operation in Idaho, the oldest living recorded female Calliope hummingbird was 8 years and 11 months old when she was captured twice, once in 2007 and again in 2014.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

RIVOLI’S HUMMINGBIRD aka MAGNIFICENT- (Eugenes fulgens) 

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Eugenes
Species: E. fulgens

Rivoli’s hummingbirds are predominantly found in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, therefore they are considered rare in Virginia. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 45 will be Rivoli’s hummingbirds.
See Virginia Rivoli’s sightings map

Although they do travel frequently to the United States near the southern Mexican border, most of their population stays year-round in Mexico and Central America.

The Rivoli’s hummingbird (pronounced: rivo-lee) or the “Magnificent” hummingbird has undergone several name changes. It was changed to the “Magnificent” hummingbird in 1983  then to “Refulgent” hummingbird only to have the “Rivoli’s” hummingbird name return in 2017 when the species was split into two variations (Rivoli’s and Talamanca). Rivoli’s hummingbird is named in honor of Francois Victor Massena, the Duke of Rivoli, by the ornithologist Rene-Primevera Lesson.

Male Rivoli’s hummingbirds are somewhat dark in color except when they are shown in bright daylight, where their violet crown, bright blue-green gorget, and white eyespots are more apparent through iridescence. They are 4.3 to 5.5 inches in length and weigh 6-10 grams. 

They are considered the second largest hummingbird in the United States, behind the Blue-throated Mountain-gem which is the largest.

Adult Male Rivolis...humm guy
Male Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Photo by: thehummingbirdguy
Juv Male Rivolis...humm guy
Male Juvenile Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Photo by: thehummingbirdguy
Rivoli’s Hummingbird Sounds

Female Rivoli’s hummingbirds are slightly duller in color than the males showing a bronzy green topside and dull gray underbellies with bright white eye accents.

Rivoli’s hummingbirds hybridize with other species of hummingbirds, even though it is rare, with Berylline, Broad-billed, Blue-throated Mountain-gem, and Violet-crowned hummingbirds.

During a capture and release banding operation in Arizona, the oldest living recorded male Rivoli’s hummingbird was 11 years and 2 months.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD – (Amazilia voliceps)

Conservation Status: Least concerned
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Amazilia
Species: A. voliceps

Violet-crowned hummingbirds are predominantly found in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, therefore they are considered rare in Virginia. On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings, only 5 will be Violet-crowned hummingbirds.
See Virginia Violet-crowned sightings map

Male Violet-crowned hummingbirds are identified by their iridescent violet/blue cap of head feathers, called a crown. Unlike most hummingbirds, the Violet-crowned hummingbird does not display an iridescent gorget or ear patch markings. They derive their name from this bright purple cap of head feathers. They have a modeled gray-green pattern on their back resembling fish scales and a white underbelly covering the bottom of their beak to the full length of their body. Their size is 3 inches to 3.9 inches in length and weighs approximately 5 grams.

Violet crowned AZ
Male Violet-crowned Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise
Violet-Crowned Hummingbird Sounds

Female Violet-crowned hummingbirds usually are more drab-looking than the males and usually do not have iridescent feathers.

Juvenile Violet-crowned hummingbirds, both male and female, look more like adult females until they are differentiated as the male begins to acquire the iridescent feathers that are typical of this species of hummingbird.

Baby juveniles are easily identified by their white “fluffy butt” feathers that will disappear as they age.

Violet-crowned hummingbirds prefer a riparian habitat, which means they can be found in woodland areas near rivers.

There is an increase in these hummingbirds overwintering in the Southern United States increasing its habitat range annually as it moves north.

Is Virginia Attractive to Hummingbirds?

Virginia attracts hummingbirds because of its subtropical climate, its diversity in elevation from 10 feet above sea level to over 5,000 feet, forests that cover 62% of the state, agricultural land covering 28% of the state, and rainfall annually of more than 40 inches.

Virginia sports a subtropical climate, warm and humid much of the year, and mountainous topical geography ranging from 10 feet above sea level up to 5,729 feet above sea level.

On average, Virginia daytime temperatures are above freezing all 12 months of the year.
Only December, January, and February drop below freezing at night with the lowest night-time average being 22 degrees Fahrenheit in January.
See my article: Should I keep My Hummingbird Feeders Out During the Winter
See my article: 11 DIY Ways To Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

The hottest months of the year in Virginia are June, July, and August, all with the average daytime high temperatures of 82, 86, 84 degrees Fahrenheit respectively, however, Virginia’s all-time high was set in 1954 at 110 degrees Fahrenheit
See my article: How to Cool Hummingbird Nectar in Hot Weather

According to Virginia Natural Resources Educational Guide, 62% of Virginia’s 27.09 million acres is forest.

Another 29% of Virginia land is dedicated to agriculture.

Hummingbirds play an important part in Virginia agriculture.
Hummingbirds are the second most important pollinator, only exceeded in importance by the honeybee.

This combination of climate and land use makes Virginia a good choice for some hummingbirds, especially the Ruby-throated hummingbird, the species of hummingbirds that dominate the West Virginia landscape.

See my article: Hummingbird Migration in Virginia

Check out my other posts on Hummingbird Questions

Happy Hummingbird Watching!

Elizabeth Donaldson

Hi Everyone! I have always loved our backyard and have been fascinated with all the wildlife living there. I am especially amazed by the skill, strength, and beauty of hummingbirds. I hope this article answered your questions.

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