Kentucky Hummingbirds: 6 Awesome Documented Species

This article identifies all hummingbirds documented as seen in Kentucky and where they are seen in the state. It further identifies if that specific hummingbird species is a year-round resident, a seasonal visitor, or a rare vagrant hummingbird seen in Kentucky.

Which Species Of Kentucky Hummingbirds Are Found In The State?

There are six species of hummingbirds documented as seen in Kentucky.
Documented Kentucky hummingbirds, listed in order of frequency seen are Ruby-throated, Rufous, Allen’s, Anna’s, Black-chinned and Mexican Violetear, hummingbirds.

Top Google-ranked websites recognize two additional hummingbirds, the Broad-billed and the Broad-tailed, as Kentucky hummingbirds, despite the fact there are just six species recorded as being seen in Kentucky on a national hummingbird sighting map.

These are the Kentucky statistics at the end of 2023, as reported by eBird.org.
Click the “Documented” link below for the current Kentucky stats.

Hummingbirds:Number Seen:Documented
Ruby-throated344,433Documented
Rufous254Documented
Allen’s61Documented
Anna’s54Documented
Black-chinned17Documented
Mexican Violetear2Documented
Broad-billed0Not Documented
Broad-tailed0Not Documented
Total Seen:34,821
Hummingbird:Year-Round, Seasonal, Rare/Vagrant
Ruby-throatedSeasonal
RufousRare/Vagrant
Allen’sRare/Vagrant
Anna’sRare/Vagrant
Black-chinnedRare/Vagrant
Mexican VioletearRare/Vagrant
Broad-billedRare/Vagrant
Broad-tailedRare/Vagrant

For more information on Kentucky hummingbirds: Read my article: Kentucky Hummingbird Migration

There are no hummingbirds classified as year-round residents in Kentucky.

This hummingbird classification is defined as year-round residents residing in Kentucky 365 days a year.

Contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds can withstand far lower temperatures than most people would expect.

Some banded hummingbirds have been observed at temperatures as low as -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit, according to eBird.org.
See my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

There is only one Kentucky hummingbird that is classified as a seasonal hummingbird, which is the Ruby-throated hummingbird.

Hummingbirds that fit within this category are those that migrate through Kentucky on a spring or fall emigration basis.

Hummingbirds move south to spend the winter in Mexico and Central America in the fall, after migrating north in the spring to reproduce.

Due to their preference, an ailment, or advanced age, certain seasonal hummingbirds may spend the whole winter in the state.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds:

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD – (Archilochus colubris)

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

Scientist Carl Linnaeus of Sweden is credited with giving the Ruby-throated hummingbird its scientific name. He initially classified the species as “Trochilus colubris.” Its name was revised more than a century later when German botanist Ludwig Reichenbach classed it as “Archilochus colubris,” which is now its scientific name and means “sky spirit/sun-god bird” or “top thief.”

Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds:
The beautiful iridescent blood-red gorget of male Ruby-throated hummingbirds ends at the neck.
His distinctive features are black wings, a light gray underbelly, and a dull metallic green topside.

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is a tiny species of hummingbird, measuring 2.8 to 3.3 inches in length and weighing less than 4.5 grams, or two U.S. dimes.
They live for three to five years on average.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

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

Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds:
Ruby-throated hummingbird females are usually larger than males, with a white throat stippled with light spots.

Ruby-throated hummingbird’s life expectancy is roughly three to five years.
The oldest female Ruby-throated hummingbird on record, at nine years old, is nearly twice as old as the male life expectancy.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

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

Note: The pollen on her head and beak. This female Ruby-throated hummingbird has been busy pollinating and drinking nectar from flowers to sustain her high metabolism.

Female Ruby 1 TN
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Paula Leftwich
Female Ruby throated 1 kevs birdsnstuff FL
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Cuphea ignea – Cigar Plant
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: The plant she is drinking from is a Cuphea ignea – Cigar Plant

The University of Kentucky states that the Cigar plant tolerates Kentucky’s summer climate extremely well.

Juvenile Ruby-throated hummingbirds:
Ruby-throated hummingbird juveniles, both male and female, have a white throat with faint stippling, just like their mother. As the males become older, they start to show some color around their necks, and finally their stronger red throat feathers take center stage and proudly show off a vibrant gorget.

Juv Male Ruby 1 FL
Juvenile Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Dgen.photos

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

Juv Ruby throat 2 girlkitty MN
Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: MaryLou Ziebarth
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)

Baby Ruby-throated hummingbirds:
Baby Ruby-throated hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Note: The down feathers near the baby’s bottom are newly white and fluffy. 

Observe the great fat reserves they have amassed from the feedings of their devoted mother’s, which will help them get through puberty.

Juv Baby Ruby throated 2 OHIO
Baby Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar
Baby Ruby throated 1 mz13hummingbirds
Baby Ruby-Throated Hummingbird 
Photo by: Mz13hummingbirds

To see the current sighting map of Kentucky’s Ruby-throated hummingbirds, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Ruby-throated hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

99% of all Kentucky hummingbird sightings will be Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Kentucky, 9,888 will be of the Ruby-throated hummingbird.

The Ruby-throated hummingbird migrates via two different routes in the spring and fall. 

The first migration route takes them directly, via the Gulf of Mexico, southwest to Mexico, where they travel nonstop until they reach Central America for the winter.  

Over 500 miles is the flight distance over the Gulf of Mexico. Despite being the direct “short” route, these birds must overcome many difficulties.
The total direct flight from Louisville, Kentucky to Panama City, Panama is 2,052 miles.

Not being able to rest, not having access to food or fuel, and needing to steer clear of the severe tropical Atlantic hurricanes while traveling to their destination are some of the challenges faced when flying over the Gulf of Mexico. To exacerbate the situation, they migrate during the night or are conducting a “Red-eye flight,” depending on your point of view.

Even though both sexes double their body fat before beginning their arduous transoceanic migratory pattern across the Gulf of Mexico, researchers think that males’ energy consumption is more taxing due to their small stature.

The second land migration path is 3,879 miles long and follows the Gulf of Mexico’s shoreline. Even though there are fewer guarantees of food sources along the way, taking the “long” route gives them the chance to stop and replenish.

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

The majority of people are unaware of how tolerant hummingbirds are of chilly weather.

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.
Read my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

To provide the many hummingbirds that spend the winter in Kentucky access to life-sustaining nectar, several Kentucky hummingbird enthusiasts keep their hummingbird feeders up all winter long.

This altruistic deed also supplies nectar to other migrating species that are too injured or elderly to travel.
Read my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is a common sight in parks, gardens, and backyards. It prefers open forests. Except for the breeding season, when they become ferociously territorial and hostile against hummingbirds of other species, they are solitary birds.

Despite their aggressive nature, these hummingbirds are eaten by predators like dragonflies, big crustaceans, praying mantises, and orb-weaver spiders.
Read my article: 10 Common Things That Kill Hummingbirds

Nine years and one month was the oldest known living female Ruby-throated hummingbird, found during a capture and release banding operation in West Virginia.
Read my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

There are seven Kentucky hummingbirds classified as rare or vagrant hummingbirds. They are the Rufous, Allen’s, Anna’s, Black-chinned, Mexican Violetear, Broad-billed and Broad-tailed hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds that live in a group outside of their typical geographic range are classified as belonging to this category. These hummingbird species not only span a vast range of distinct geographic areas, but they are also known to occasionally interbreed, giving rise to hybrids.

Although they are not in their usual range, reports of seeing these hummingbirds in Kentucky have been made.

Rufous Hummingbirds:

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD – (Selasphorus rufus)

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

The Latin word rubrum, which means “red,” is the source of the Rufous hummingbird’s name due to its reddish-brown color.

Male Rufous hummingbirds:
The orange-red gorget of a male rufous hummingbird is iridescent, and their tail and sides have a rusty hue. Their underside is beige to white, and their bill is black. Along with chocolate brown dorsal feathers, males can also have green plumage with green spots on their rustic-looking backs or on the summit of their heads.
They weigh 3.2 grams and range in length from 2.8 to 3.5 inches.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

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

Note: The iridescent orange-red gorget.

Male Rufous 4 OR
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: The gorget appears chocolate brown in this lighting, however, you can still see a glimmer of his iridescent orange-red gorget with some hints of yellow.

Female Rufous hummingbirds:
The female Rufous hummingbird is less colorful than the male because it lacks a gorget and iridescent feathers. In the wild, confusion may arise, though, because certain females have stippling or color specs along their throat line that resemble juvenile characteristics.
They are slightly larger than the males in anticipation of producing offspring.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

Female Rufous OR 1
Female Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
Female Rufous rwf1954 CA
Adult Female Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Bob Free

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

Juvenile Rufous hummingbirds:
In the wild, juvenile Rufous hummingbirds and Allen’s hummingbirds are nearly identical in terms of color and behavior. Therefore, range rather than appearance is used to establish identity.
The juvenile male Rufous’ rustic appearance is attributed to the iridescent orange dots on their neck.

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

Note: The 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.

Baby Rufous hummingbirds:
Baby Rufous hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

To see the current sighting map of Rufous hummingbirds in Kentucky, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Rufous hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

0.73% of all Kentucky hummingbird sightings will be Rufous hummingbirds.
On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Kentucky 73 will be the Rufous hummingbird.

Of all the birds in the world, Rufous hummingbirds migrate within the United States for the longest period of time. Every year, they traverse 3,900 miles in a clockwise manner around western America.

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.

In order to support a healthy migration, hummingbird enthusiasts are very beneficial when they cultivate blooming plants to draw hummingbirds and supply feeders with homemade hummingbird nectar. These friendly environments offer and guarantee safe trips in addition to a dependable haven for relaxation and refueling while on the road.

A large number of Rufous hummingbirds will choose to move south to Mexico rather than stay in Kentucky for the winter. Hummingbirds, however, can withstand far lower temperatures than most people think.

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

Many Kentucky hummingbird admirers leave hummingbird feeders up all winter long to provide life-nourishing nectar to the most commonly seen residents: the Rufous and Allen’s hummingbirds. 

This selfless act also provides nectar to other injured or older hummingbirds that are unable to migrate.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

When it comes to other hummingbirds and animals, Rufous hummingbirds are fiercely possessive and hostile. They are known for being aggressive and bold, driving large birds and rodents away from their favorite feeders in addition to other hummingbirds.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

Male Rufous DIVE Bob Free CA
Adult Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Bob Free

It has even been observed that female mothers may attack squirrels and chipmunks that approach their nest too closely.

Due to their remarkable memory, Rufous hummingbirds have been observed to search for an abandoned hummingbird feeder years after it has been taken down.
Read my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

Because of their unparalleled flying acrobatics, Rufous hummingbirds are fierce competitors at feeders, outmaneuvering all other species.

Rufous hummingbirds easily hybridize and cross-breed with other hummingbird species, such as Anna’s hummingbirds.

IUCN Red List classifies the Rufous hummingbird as “near threatened” because of habitat destruction in the Pacific Northwest.

In British Columbia, during a banding operation, the oldest living Rufous hummingbird was documented at 8 years and 10 months old.
Read my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Allen’s Hummingbirds:

ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD – (Selasphorus sasin)

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

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

Male Allen’s hummingbirds:
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.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

Male Allens 1 inthewildwithrickCA
Male Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick

Note: The iridescent orange-red gorget.

Male Allens 2 inthewildwithrick CA
Male Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick

Female Allen’s hummingbirds:
The female Allen’s hummingbird is less colorful than the male because it lacks the iridescent gorget. In the wild, confusion may arise because certain females have stippling or color specs along their throat lines that resemble juvenile characteristics.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Female Allens 1 inthewildwithrick CA
Female Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick
Humm parents Mate to Nest
Female Allen’s on Nest
Photo by: Aaron Gomperts

Juvenile Allen’s hummingbirds:
Both male and female juvenile Allen’s hummingbirds first resemble adult females until the male starts to develop the characteristic iridescent feathers of this species of hummingbird. 

In the field, they are nearly identical to Rufous hummingbirds due to their striking similarity in colors and disposition.
Therefore, range rather than appearance is used to establish identity. 

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

Note: This juvenile male Allen’s hummingbird is protecting a feeder while perching on a tomato cage.

You will see that he still has some stippling around his throat and some fluffy white down feathers near his bottom.

He appears to be in the early stages of adolescence because a full gorget has not yet developed

DSC00654 crop WATERMARKED
Juvenile Male Allen’s Hummingbird

Note: Depending on the lighting, the gorget may appear chocolate brown.

Additionally, you will see that he still has some fluffy white down feathers near his bottom, indicating that he is in the latter stages of adolescence rather than being a fully grown adult.

Baby Allen’s hummingbirds:
Baby Allen’s hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Baby Allens WATERMARK
Baby Allen’s Hummingbird

Note: He is guarding a neighboring feeder with diligence. Observe the developmental differences between the juvenile in the last shot on the tomato cage and the current photo on the outside light wire.

They both have fluffy white feathers near their bottoms, yet there is a noticeable age difference between youth and maturity.

Baby Allens 1 inthewildwithrick CA
Baby Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick

To see the current sighting map of Kentucky’s Allen’s hummingbirds, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Allen’s hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

0.18% of all Kentucky hummingbird sightings will be Allen’s hummingbirds.
On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Kentucky, only 18 will be of the Allen’s hummingbird.

Male Allen’s hummingbirds engage in a dramatic, fast-paced courtship dance that mimics a pendulum’s swing. Of all the hummingbirds in North America, their territorial dive displays are among the most intricate.
See my article: Hummingbird Dance: 5 Interpretive Explanations

Allen’s hummingbirds, both male and female, are gregarious birds. Other than mating, they do not interact with each other. Allen’s hummingbirds are fiercely territorial and hostile toward other hummingbirds as well as larger predatory birds like hawks, much like Rufous hummingbirds.

Allen’s hummingbirds are primarily found in coastal parts of California and Oregon, USA. They prefer habitats like gardens, forested or shrubby areas, and coastal chaparral. They migrate to southern Mexico in the winter, covering quite long distances for such small birds.

Allen’s hummingbirds are highly territorial, especially the males during the breeding season. They engage in aggressive aerial displays to defend their feeding territories from intruders. These displays include high-speed chases and intricate flight patterns.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

Allen’s hummingbirds commonly reside and nest along the west coast and winter in Mexico. Their nesting season is perfectly timed with when the regions have the most rainfall which helps provide prolific nectar producing flowers for their offspring.

Usually found in trees or shrubs, females use plant materials and spider webs to construct tiny, cup-shaped nests. Each time they attempt to reproduce, they lay one to two eggs, which they then incubate for two to three weeks. 

For several weeks after hatching, the young remain totally reliant on their mother for nourishment and protection until they are able to fly.

In their natural range, Allen’s hummingbirds often visit gardens and areas with bird feeders. They are a favorite among bird watchers and nature enthusiasts for their colorful appearance and lively behavior.

The future of Allen’s hummingbirds, like many species, is closely tied to environmental factors and human influence on their habitats. Habitat loss and the use of pesticides are among the challenges they face. Efforts to preserve natural habitats, along with responsible gardening and the maintenance of bird feeders, aids in their conservation.

Understanding and protecting Allen’s hummingbirds is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and for the continued enjoyment of future generations who will marvel at this vibrant and lively bird.

In 2004, and again in 2009, the oldest known living Allen’s hummingbird was taken during a California banding program that involved catch and release. She was 5 years and 11 months old at the time.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Anna’s Hummingbirds:

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD – (Calypte anna) 

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

The Anna’s hummingbird, scientifically known as Calypte anna, gets its common name from Anna Masséna, the Duchess of Rivoli.

Male Anna’s hummingbirds:
In North America, male Anna’s hummingbirds are the only species of hummingbirds with a red crown. Their predominant colors are magenta, gray, and green.

The male gorget and crown are iridescent magenta, and they are very vivid and showy.
They weigh between 2.4 and 4.5 grams and have lengths ranging from 3.5 to 4.3 inches.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. 

This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

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

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

Adult Male Annas Stanford Dish Trail CA
Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick

Female Anna’s hummingbirds:
Female Anna’s hummingbirds are pale green in hue, not as brilliant as the males.
Although a showy gorget is more prevalent on the males, females can also have them, showing a tiny area of magenta.
Females are identified by the faint white line that usually covers each eye.

Female Annas 2 kevs birdsnstuff OR
Female Anna’s Hummingbird 
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: The small patch of color on her gorget.

Adult Female Annas at Gamble Garden CA
Female Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick
Female Annas WINGSPREAD IntheWildwithRick CA
Female Anna’s Hummingbird 
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick

Female Anna’s hummingbirds raise their young with no help from the males.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

baby feeding cropped
Female and Baby/Juvenile Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Mehta.vishal.360

Juvenile Anna’s hummingbirds:
Juvenile Anna’s hummingbirds, both male and female, look more like adult females until they are differentiated as the male begins to acquire the bright red/magenta gorget.

Male Annas 4
Juvenile Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

Note: This Anna’s hummingbird may be a youngster going through the awkward adolescent years, or it may be in the process of molting.

Juv Male Annas 1 Bob Free CA
Juvenile Male Anna’s Hummingbird 
Photo by: Bob Free

Baby Anna’s hummingbirds:
Baby Anna’s hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

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

Note: The magenta head feathers of this baby/juvenile male Anna’s hummingbird are starting to show at his temple and a hint of color is beginning to appear on his gorget. 

Also, notice the great fat reserves he has amassed from being fed by his vigilant mother and his newly white fluffy down feathers near his bottom.

Female Annas OR 1
Baby/Juvenile Female Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

To see the current sighting map of Kentucky’s Anna’s hummingbirds, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Anna’s hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

0.16% of all Kentucky hummingbird sightings will be Anna’s hummingbirds.
On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Kentucky, only 16 will be of the Anna’s hummingbird.

The only hummingbird to reside year-round on the Pacific Coast, the Anna’s hummingbird is a native of the west coast of North America. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and fairly wet winters.

This species is a year-round resident in much of its range, unlike many other hummingbirds that migrate.

Male Anna’s are notable for their remarkable diving displays during mating season and their ability to thrive in urbanized areas.

The male Anna’s hummingbird executes dramatic and captivating displays during courtship and diving. The entire dive display lasts 12 seconds from start to finish.
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.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

Anna’s hummingbirds hybridize and readily crossbreed with other hummingbird species, such as the Black-chinned, Costa’s, and Rufous hummingbirds.

The oldest male Anna’s hummingbird known to exist was 8 years and 2 months old when he was captured and released during a banding expedition in Arizona.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Black-Chinned Hummingbirds:

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD – (Archilochus alexandri)

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

The 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:
The royal purple gorget resembling a buttoned-up shirt with a small flash of color right near the neckline is the distinguishing feature of male Black-chinned hummingbirds. The male’s purple gorget or throat in some lighting at times looks entirely black.

Their flanks and backs are metallic green, while their undersides are white. They have a black bill and a forked dark tail.
Their length ranges from 3.25 to 3.5 inches, and they weigh between 2.8 and 5.6 grams.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

Male-Black-Chinned-ID
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Male Black chinned bird.whisperer UT
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer

Female Black-chinned hummingbirds:
Compared to their male counterparts, female Black-chinned hummingbirds are less colorful and lack a gorget and iridescent feathers. White tips and beige edges on the dorsal feathers, which turn dark black as they age, adorn their dark, rounded tail, which has a white underbelly.  

They have dull metallic marbled colors on their head and backs that resemble snake scales: beige, green, white, yellow-green, and dark brown.
Read my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

Female Black chinned AZ 1
Female Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysurpise

Juvenile Black-chinned hummingbirds:
Male and female juvenile Black-chinned hummingbirds initially resemble adult females until the male starts to develop the iridescent feathers that are characteristic of this species of hummingbird.

Juv Black chinned 1 hummingbirdsbysuprise AZ
Juvenile Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise

Baby Black-chinned hummingbirds:
Baby Black-chinned hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Baby Black chinned bird.whisperer UT
Baby Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer

To see the current sighting map of the Black-chinned hummingbird in Kentucky, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Black-chinned hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

0.05% of all Kentucky hummingbird sightings will be Black-chinned hummingbirds.
On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Kentucky, only 5 will be the Black-chinned hummingbird.

Black-chinned hummingbirds breed to the east of the Cascade mountain range. By employing a decoy tactic, they are known to build their nests close to larger, busier bird nests, hence decreasing the likelihood of predators nearby. 

Of all extant mammals or vertebrates, Black-chinned hummingbirds have the least amount of genetic material known to science. Due to their little size, they run the risk of becoming prey for larger birds that consume insects.
See my article: 10 Common Things That Kill Hummingbirds 

Particularly while protecting “their” feeders, hummingbirds come across as the most ruthless sheriff in the area due to their intense territoriality. To defend nectar sources full of blooming plants that attract hummingbirds, they will engage in territorial conflicts.

Although Black-chinned hummingbirds are a territorial species, they will become less aggressive and learn to share if they happen to be in an area with a high hummingbird population and food sources.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

Female Black Chinned and Broad billed fighting humbysuprise AZ
Female Black-Chinned and Male Broad-Billed Hummingbird 
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise

Black-chinned hummingbirds easily hybridize and interbreed with other hummingbird species, including Costa’s and Anna’s. The lifespan of a Black-chinned hummingbird is an astounding ten years, compared to other animals and birds of comparable size. 

In Texas, during a banding and capture effort, the oldest known female Black-chinned hummingbird was 11 years and 2 months old.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Mexican Violetear Hummingbirds:

MEXICAN VIOLETEAR (aka GREEN VIOLETEAR) HUMMINGBIRD – (Colibri thalassinus)  

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

Scientifically speaking, the Mexican Violetear is a species of hummingbird, Colibri thalassinus.
Thalassinus is a Latin term meaning “color of the sea.” 

The characteristic violet patch of feathers on the sides of this hummingbird’s head, which mimics an ear, gave rise to its popular name. 

The “violetear” description is accurate and vivid because of this bright patch that stands out against the bird’s otherwise green plumage.

Male Mexican Violetear hummingbirds:
The term “violet-ears” refers to the iridescent green color of male Mexican Violetear hummingbirds, which have brilliant violet ear patches on either side of their neck.

This hummingbird has metallic blue-green tail feathers with a black band underneath the bronze tail feathers in the center.
They weigh between 5 and 6 grams and have lengths ranging from 3.8 to 4.7 inches.

Mexican violetear 2 Male Ernesto Perez
Male Mexican Violetear
Photo by: Ernesto Perez
Male Mexican violetear 1 Ernesto Perez
Male Mexican Violetear
Photo by: Ernesto Perez

Female Mexican Violetear hummingbirds:
Females typically have a less vibrant coloration compared to males. They have a primarily green plumage, which can appear as a dull green or blue-green. The green is iridescent and may shine with different intensities and hues in various lighting conditions.

The violet ear patches are present in females but are often less pronounced than in males.
The underparts of the female are typically a duller green compared to the males, and they may have some grayish or whitish markings.

The tail is typically dark, forked, and has some blue or green iridescence. It is usually less spectacular than that of the male.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

Juvenile Mexican Violetear hummingbirds:
Male and female Mexican Violetear hummingbirds in their juvenile years resemble adult females until the male starts to develop the characteristic iridescent violet ear patches on either side of his neck. 

Baby Mexican Violetear hummingbirds:

Baby Mexican Violetear hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

To see the current sighting map of Kentucky’s Mexican Violetear hummingbirds, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Mexican Violetear hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

0.01% of all Kentucky hummingbird sightings will be Mexican Violetear hummingbirds.
On average, out of 20,000 hummingbird sightings in Kentucky, only 1 will be of the Mexican Violetear hummingbird.

From Mexico to Nicaragua, these hummingbird species are found on the outskirts of cloud forests, where they thrive in an environment with high levels of tropical humidity. It is common to see this dark hummingbird at forest margins and clearings.

Mexican Violetear hummingbirds are semi-nomadic. Since they have not been thoroughly examined, scientists know very little about their migration patterns. However, based on available data, the Mexican Violetear is primarily distributed in northern South America, middle Mexico, and middle America.  

Although Mexican Violetear hummingbirds are typically permanent residents of their natural habitat, a few individuals have strayed and ventured as far north as Wisconsin, Michigan, and even Canada. 

Much like a lot of other hummingbird species, the Mexican Violetear hummingbird nests alone. Although they do not feed in flocks, these hummingbirds are observed in groups around flowering trees, such as the coffee-shading Inga tree, where they scavenge for nectar and insects.

In terms of social behavior, Mexican Violetear hummingbirds are generally solitary, especially outside of the breeding season. They can be territorial, with males often defending prime feeding territories from other hummingbirds.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

The oldest known Mexican Violetear hummingbird was documented to be at least 11 years and 2 months old. 

This information is based on banding records, where birds are captured, banded with a unique identification ring, and then potentially recaptured or found in the future. 

The age of this particular Mexican Violetear was determined by the length of time between its initial banding and its last documented recapture or sighting.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Broad-Billed Hummingbirds:

BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD – (Cynanthus latirostris)

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

The Broad-billed hummingbird, scientifically named Cynanthus latirostris, is known for its distinctive broad bill, which is the origin of its common name.
Their broad bills are particularly adapted for feeding on a variety of flowers.

Although most of the population of Broad-billed hummingbirds remains in Mexico and Central America throughout the year, they are a Mexican species that regularly visits the United States close to the southern Mexican border.

Male Broad-billed hummingbirds:
The brilliant blue-green gorget of male Broad-billed hummingbirds stretches back towards their shoulders. They have a long, brilliant orange-red beak with a distinctive black tip.
Their length varies from 3.25 to 4 inches, and they weigh between 3 and 4 grams.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. 

This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

Male Broad billed 3 Anthony Lujan
Male Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Photo by: Anthony Lujan
Broad billed hummingbirdsbysuprise AZ
Male Broad-billed Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise

Female Broad-billed hummingbirds:
Generally speaking, female Broad-billed hummingbirds lack iridescent feathers and have a duller appearance than males. Their bill is entirely black, with a larger white accent over their eyes. They are recognized by their mainly metallic green upperparts and white undersides. Their tails are forked and have a black tint.

Juvenile Broad-billed hummingbirds:
Male and female juvenile Broad-billed hummingbirds initially resemble adult females until the male starts to develop the iridescent feathers that are characteristic of this species of hummingbird.

Male juveniles display a full charcoal dark gray body, a light green neck and backside with flecks of metallic blue on their throat.

Juv male Broad billed 1 Anthony Lujan
Juvenile Male Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Photo by: Anthony Lujan
Broad Billed 2 Madera Canyon AZ arron cropped
Juvenile Male Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Photo by: Aaron Gomperts

Baby Broad-billed hummingbirds:
Baby Broad-billed hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Baby Broad billed 1 hummingbirdsbysuprise AZ
Baby Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise

To see the current sighting map of Kentucky’s Broad-billed hummingbirds, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Broad-billed hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

Top Google-ranked websites recognize the Broad-billed as a Kentucky hummingbird, despite the fact there are just six species recorded as being seen in Kentucky on a national hummingbird sighting map.

Broad-billed hummingbirds are native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and down into Central America. They prefer habitats such as canyons, riverine woodlands, and sometimes gardens or urban areas with suitable flowering plants.

Nests made by Broad-billed hummingbirds are identified by their lack of lichen decoration on the exterior.

Instead, the birds prefer to build their nests utilizing outside grass fibers, leaf fragments, and bark, and then utilize spider webs to secure and maintain the structure of the nest. The female constructs a nest that is suspended from a single, long, thin branch.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

Particularly while defending “their” feeders, Broad-billed hummingbirds come across as the meanest sheriff in the community due to their intense territoriality. They will engage in territorial conflicts to defend nectar sources that are home to blooming plants that attract hummingbirds.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

Two Broad billed 1 Anthony Lujan
2 Male Broad-Billed Hummingbirds
Photo by: Anthony Lujan

Surprisingly, the Broad-billed hummingbird has demonstrated a real overall population growth in recent years, in contrast to other hummingbird population surveys.

The future of the Broad-billed hummingbird, like many wildlife species, depends on the preservation of their habitats and understanding the impacts of environmental changes. Conservation efforts and responsible practices in gardening and feeder maintenance can aid in their survival.

When the oldest male Broad-billed hummingbird was caught and released in Arizona during a banding operation, he was 9 years and 1 month old.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds:

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD – (Selsaphoris platycercus)

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

The scientific name of the Broad-tailed hummingbird is Selasphorus platycercus. This species got its common name from the notably broad tail of the males, which is a distinguishing feature among hummingbirds.

This broad tail, when combined with the hummingbird’s flight patterns, creates a distinctive trilling sound that is also a characteristic of the species. The combination of visual and auditory traits played a significant role in the naming of this bird.

Male Broad-tailed hummingbirds:
An iridescent ruby-red gorget is seen on male Broad-tailed hummingbirds. Males and females alike, the Broad-tailed hummingbird is characterized by its green upperparts, light underbelly, vivid white eye rings, and widely rounded tails.
They have a medium build, measure from 3.3 and 3.8 inches in length, and weigh 3.6 grams.

The metal plate that shields the wearer’s throat during combat to prevent injuries is the inspiration behind the name of the gorget on a male hummingbird. This name is acceptable and fitting to characterize the physical characteristics of male hummingbirds, since they fight fiercely for their own territory.
Read my article: Hummingbird Gorgets Explained

Broad tailed bird.whisperer UT
Male Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer

Female Broad-tailed hummingbirds:
The female Broad-tailed hummingbird is less colorful than the male and lacks a gorget and iridescent feathers. Their underbellies are pale to beige, with vivid white eye rings and broadly rounded tails. Their topsides are green, extending from the head to the tail.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)

Female Broad tailed 1 hummingbirdsbysuprise AZ
Female Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise

Juvenile Broad-tailed hummingbirds:
Male and female juvenile Broad-tailed hummingbirds initially resemble adult females until the male starts to develop the iridescent feathers that are characteristic of this species of hummingbird.

Baby Broad-tailed hummingbirds:
Baby Broad-tailed hummingbirds are easily identified by their undertail coverts, which are white fluffy feathers near their bottom that will disappear as they age.
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

To see the current sighting map of Kentucky’s Broad-tailed hummingbirds, click the link.

Hear the sounds of the Broad-tailed hummingbird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology link).

Top Google-ranked websites recognize the Broad-tailed as a Kentucky hummingbird, despite the fact there are just six species recorded as being seen in Kentucky on a national hummingbird sighting map.

The Broad-tailed hummingbird travels frequently to the United States near the southern Mexican border.

They have a migrant and non-migrant population that begins in the south of Mexico. The ones that migrate north to breed will do so during spring migration and will pass through Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and reach as far north as Montana. 

Once the breeding season is complete, Broad-tailed hummingbirds will depart and begin their southbound fall migration to winter in Mexico and meet up with their non-migrant population.

The Broad-tailed hummingbird favors habitats in the understory of mature forest woodlands such as pine and oak groves. They chose to nest on the branches of trees and have been known to return to the same nesting ground each year, roughly 70% of the time.

Their breeding time coincides with the peak time of flowering native plants for maximum food resource availability. Their favorite nectar-producing flower plants include Red Columbine, Indian Paintbrush, Sage varieties, Currants, and Scarlet Mint.

Broad-tailed hummingbirds hybridize and readily crossbreed with other hummingbird species, such as the Costa’s hummingbird.

In terms of social behavior, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are generally solitary, especially outside of the breeding season. They can be territorial, with males often defending prime feeding territories from other hummingbirds.
See my article: Why Hummingbirds Chase Each Other: Is it Friend or Foe?

The Broad-tailed hummingbird has suffered a decline in population since the 1990s, but presently, its population is stable, and it has been shown to have adapted to human habitat encroachment.

The oldest living Broad-tailed hummingbird, a female, was 12 years and 2 months, recorded during a capture and release banding operation in Colorado.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

The most frequently seen Kentucky Hummingbirds are Ruby-throated hummingbirds followed by the very, very distant second most common hummingbird, the Rufous hummingbird.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird: 98% of all hummingbirds seen in Kentucky are the Ruby-throated hummingbird. Out of 10,000 Kentucky hummingbirds seen, 9,888 will be a Ruby-throated hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird: 0.73% of all hummingbirds seen in Kentucky are Rufous hummingbirds. Out of 10,000 Kentucky hummingbirds seen, only 73 will be a Rufous hummingbird.

Allen’s Hummingbird: 0.18% of all hummingbirds seen in Kentucky are the Allen’s hummingbirds. Out of 10,000 Kentucky hummingbirds seen, only 17 will be an Allen’s hummingbird.

Anna’s Hummingbird: 0.16% of all hummingbirds seen in Kentucky are Anna’s hummingbirds. Out of 10,000 Kentucky hummingbirds seen, only 15 will be Anna’s hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbird: 0.05% of all hummingbirds seen in Kentucky are Black-chinned hummingbirds. Out of 10,000 Kentucky hummingbirds seen, only 5 will be a Black-chinned hummingbird.

Mexican Violetear Hummingbird: 0.01% of all hummingbirds seen in Kentucky are Mexican Violetear hummingbirds. Out of 20,000 Kentucky hummingbirds seen, only 1 will be a Mexican Violetear hummingbird.

Broad-billed Hummingbird: There are no Kentucky sightings of the Broad-billed hummingbird on eBird sighting map; however, a top-ranked Google site lists the Broad-billed hummingbird as a Kentucky hummingbird.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: There are no Kentucky sightings of the Broad-tailed hummingbird on eBird sighting map; however, a top-ranked Google site lists the Broad-tailed hummingbird as a Kentucky hummingbird.

Hummingbirds are seen in Kentucky throughout the state.
Some are seen throughout the entirety of the state while others are only seen in specific limited areas of Kentucky.

Read my article Kentucky Hummingbird Migration

For more information about hummingbirds, read my other hummingbird articles.

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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