Louisiana Hummingbirds Migration: 14 Documented Blissful Aviators

Nine common questions about the migration of Louisiana hummingbirds are discussed in this article.

When Do Louisiana Hummingbirds Arrive?

The earliest arrivals of Louisiana hummingbirds are seen in late February, and new arrivals continue through June.

Louisiana hummingbirds begin their spring migration north from as far away as Panama or as close as Mexico.
Louisiana hummingbirds arrive in Louisiana as early as late February to mid-March, while some late migrators may arrive as late as June.  but by the end of June, all hummingbirds that are migrating further than Louisiana are gone from Louisiana.

The first migrating hummingbirds will be males, followed by females about a week later. The males arrive first to stake out the territory that they will defend as they try to attract a female.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are by far the most commonly seen Louisiana hummingbirds, and will probably be the first migrating hummingbirds to be seen in Louisiana.

Watch for the male’s vividly colored gorget; a week or so later, the females will begin to appear at your feeders.
Read my article: How to Identify a Hummingbird’s Gender in 4 Easy Steps

According to the Missouri Department Of Conservation, if Louisiana hummingbird enthusiasts start feeding them when they arrive, there is less chance they will move on and will decide to spend the summer in Louisiana.

Are There Louisiana Hummingbirds That Live in the State Year-round?

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only Louisiana hummingbirds documented as year-round residents.
Lousianian hummingbirds that are documented as winter residents are Rufous, Black-chinned, Buff-bellied, Calliope, Allen’s, Broad-tailed, Anna’s, and Broad-billed.

The above are listed in order of abundance seen in the winter.

These documentations were made by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, established by Congress in 1987.
These specific references are found on pages 21–29 of this PDF.

Louisiana’s Only Year-Round Resident

Male Ruby throated 3 WI 1
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo By: Andy Raupp Photography

Louisiana Hummingbirds That Are Seen During Winter Months
Shown In Order Of Abundance Seen In Winter

Male Rufous 4 OR
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
Male Black Chinned ID
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Male Buff bellied 2 Anthony Lujan
Buff-Bellied Hummingbird
Photo By: Anthony Lujan
Calliope Male ID
Male Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
DSC00745 Male Allens WATERMARK 1
Male Allen’s Hummingbird
Broad tailed bird.whisperer UT
Male Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer
Male Annas 7
Adult Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
Adult Male Broad Billed AZ
Male Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Photo by: Aaron Gomperts

These Louisiana hummingbirds that over-winter in the state will appreciate feeders as a supplement to the scarcity of natural nectar during the winter months.
Read my article: How to Help Hummingbirds in Cold Weather

Interestingly, the Louisiana hummingbirds seen in the winter months are noticeably absent during the hot summer months.
After over-wintering in Louisiana, they migrate north to breed and nest in the areas near their own birthplace.

The general public is unaware of how cold-tolerant hummingbirds actually are.
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.

The primary summer Louisiana hummingbirds are almost all Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Read my article: How To Help Hummingbirds in  Hot Weather

Which Louisiana hummingbirds Breed and Nest in the State?

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird that breeds and nests in Louisiana.

Ruby-throated – The Ruby-throated hummingbird has an extensive breeding area that covers the entire eastern half of the United States and extends into Canada as far west as Alberta.

Female Ruby throated 1 AL Annatownsend
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Anna Townsend
Taken: Etowah County, AL
Ruby throated Breeding Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Ruby-Throated Breeding Map

The entire reason for northern migration, much like salmon swimming upstream to their place of birth to lay eggs, is for female hummingbirds to return to the area where they were born to build a nest, mate, and raise a family.

When a female hummingbird arrives at the breeding grounds, her attention shifts to building a nest and then looking for a mate.

Hummingbird females prefer to build their nests in deciduous trees, 10 to 20 feet above the ground.

It will take her between 5 and 7 days to construct the nest of materials such as plant down, moss, and fine plant fibers, decorated with lichens and held together by spider webs.
Read my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)
Read my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Humm parents Mate to Nest
Female Allen’s on Nest
Photo by: Aaron Gomperts

Each species of male hummingbird has its own unique mating dance ritual of courtship to attract a female. They do perfectly choreographed dives and dance maneuvers to attract a flirty female.
Read my article: Hummingbird Dance: 5 Interpretive Explanations

During the mating ritual, there is no penetration since male hummingbirds lack external sexual organs.

The “Cloacal Kiss” occurs when the cloacae, (pronounced “kloh-ay-see”), of both hummingbirds are brought together during the brief mating procedure, which lasts only three to five seconds.

After the Cloacal kiss, the female must begin building the nest immediately.

Each brood of hummingbirds typically produces two eggs, laid on consecutive days.

The majority of hummingbirds have two broods annually, although some may have more depending on the timing of their migration and the duration of the days they spend in their breeding areas.

Louisiana nesting hummingbirds usually have 2 broods per year, but some may have time to work in a third brood.

When Should I Put Up My Feeders For Louisiana Hummingbirds?

Louisiana hummingbird enthusiasts should put out hummingbird feeders in February to attract the very earliest arriving spring Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
The majority of Louisiana-bound migrating hummingbirds will arrive in May.

The Ruby-throated will be Louisiana’s spring inbound migrators, even though many Ruby-throated hummingbirds stay in Louisiana all year.
All other Louisiana hummingbirds will migrate out of Louisiana in the spring and will be essentially absent in the summer months.

If migrating hummingbirds are fed when they start to arrive, there is less chance of them moving on.

Hummingbird aficionados will reduce the likelihood of hummingbirds leaving and electing to spend the summer in that state by providing food for them as soon as they arrive, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Approximately one week after the arrival of the male hummingbirds, the females will follow.

Louisiana hummingbirds will continue to arrive until about mid-June.
Hummingbirds seen in Louisiana after mid-June will be hummingbirds that will spend their entire summer in Louisiana.

Make sure to use high-quality nectar solutions in your hummingbird feeders; homemade nectar works best.
Read my article: Forget Commercial Hummingbird Food, Try Making Homemade Nectar
Read my article: The One Thing You Need to Eliminate From a Hummingbird’s Diet

How Long Do Louisiana Hummingbirds Stay in the State?

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are year-round residents in Louisiana.
The Rufous, Black-chinned, Buff-bellied, Calliope, Allen’s, Broad-tailed, Anna’s, and Broad-billed over-winter in Louisiana and are present in Louisiana from September through early May.

The general public is unaware of how tolerant hummingbirds actually are.
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.

The Rufous, Black-chinned, and Buff-bellied hummingbirds are the most probable hummingbirds that will be seen in the winter in Louisiana, along with Louisiana’s year-round resident, the Ruby-throated hummingbird.

In Pennsylvania, a state known for its cold, harsh winters, the Valley Forge Audubon Society reports winter sightings of the Allen’s, Calliope, Rufous, and Black-chinned hummingbirds.

Because hummingbirds have such long memories, they will revisit the flowers and feeders they frequented during their spring migration and will remember them when they migrate back to the south in the fall.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

The most common Louisiana hummingbird seen during the hot summer months is the Ruby-throated.

Finding strategies to provide your hummingbirds with cool nectar might be crucial when the summer heat becomes unpleasant and tough to handle.
Read my article: How to Help Hummingbirds in Hot Weather

When Do Louisiana Hummingbirds Leave the State?

Ruby-throated hummingbirds that migrate south of Louisiana for the winter will start migration in early September and be gone by the end of October, but many Ruby-throated hummers are permanent residents.
The multiple hummingbirds that over-winter in Louisiana start migrating north in March and are gone by the end of May.

A few older Ruby-throated hummingbirds will be the first to start the fall migration, maybe as early as late August, depending on their strength and energy, with the youngest hummingbirds finishing the fall migration by mid-November.

An article from the University of Southern Mississippi states that the hummingbirds that are the oldest will begin their migration earlier than the others.

This elongated migration time frame ensures late straggling migrants have enough food available to fuel their bodies before making the long, taxing migration south for the winter.

Some migrating Louisiana hummingbirds that will possibly be seen during the winter are hummingbirds that are too old or injured to migrate.

The circannual (annual internal clock) and circadian (day internal clock) rhythms cause hummingbird migration.

The inclination of a single hummingbird to migrate is triggered by a variety of circumstances, including variations in temperature, time of year, and weather; other causes include a loss in food supplies and a reduction in sunshine due to shortened days.

Similar to spring migration, male hummingbirds are the first to leave and head south for the winter during fall migration. As soon as the female hummingbirds have finished raising their young and can travel independently, they will set out on their southern fall migration.

When Should I Take Down My Feeders For Louisiana Hummingbirds?

Louisianans should not take down hummingbird feeders in the fall or winter.
Louisiana hummingbirds, including the permanent resident, the Ruby-throated hummingbird, along with the Rufous, Black-chinned, Buff-bellied, Calliope, Allen’s, Broad-tailed, Anna’s, and Broad-billed that over-winter in Louisiana depend on feeders for the nectar they need.

The dilemma hummingbird enthusiasts struggle with every year is whether to leave the hummingbird feeders up all year or take them down during the winter.

Annas in SNOW 2 Andrea Varju
Anna’s hummingbird
Photo by: Andrea Varju

The challenge then becomes preventing the nectar from hummingbirds from freezing.
Read my article: 11 DIY Ways To Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

Investing in a hummingbird feeder warmer, like the Hummer Health feeder heater (Amazon link), is one approach to preventing hummingbird nectar from freezing.
Unfortunately, it is only compatible with a select few types of hummingbird feeders, like the Aspect’s HummZinger feeder (Amazon link).

Keeping hummingbird feeders up during the winter is a noble gesture that helps other migrating species that are injured or too old to migrate by providing them with nectar.
Read my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing
Read my article: Should I Keep My Hummingbird Feeder Out During the Winter?

Hummingbird enthusiasts who leave hummingbird feeders up all winter provide much-welcome nutrition for late migrators and hummingbirds too old or injured to migrate.

The general public is unaware of how tolerant hummingbirds actually are.
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.
Read my article: 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Hummingbirds that depend on these wintertime feeders may die if hummingbird feeders are taken down in the middle of winter during periods of below-freezing temperatures.
Read my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

How Long Does It Take a Louisiana Hummingbird to Migrate?

Louisiana hummingbirds require 16 hours of flying at its average migrating flight speed of 30mph to fly from Alexandria to the most distant USA/Mexican border 483 miles away.
Hummingbirds migrating to Panama, 1,747 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, or 3,079 miles over land, will need to fly 58 or 103 hours respectively.

Some fly at a relaxed distance as slow as 1 hour per day, others fly up to 500 miles non-stop in about 20 hours as some do while migrating across the Gulf of Mexico.

Unlike other migrating birds, hummingbirds do not travel in flocks.
Individual hummingbirds travel according to their own internal clock.

This staggered migration pattern ensures resources are not consumed and depleted all at once.

Hummingbirds regularly acquire between 25% and 50% of their body weight as migration draws near by eating more nectar from feeders and blooming plants and by collecting more insects in midair for protein.

This rise in body fat provides the hummingbird with energy for its protracted migration flight.

Expect to see an increased volume of southern migrating hummingbird visitors to your feeders in Louisiana during this fall migration from August through October.

Hummingbirds that stopped by your feeders in the spring will remember exactly where it is, and they will probably stop by again en route to their overwintering grounds in Mexico and Central America.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

Where Do Louisiana Hummingbirds Go in the Winter?

Louisiana hummingbirds Ruby-throated, Rufous, Buff-bellied, Black-chinned, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, Allen’s, Blue-throated Mountain-gem, Mexican Violetear, Rivoli’s, Green-breasted Mango, and Lucifer that migrate, travel south to over-winter in Mexico and central America.
Anna’s over-winter in upper Mexico and California.

Not all Louisiana hummingbirds migrate.
Some Ruby-throated hummingbirds are year-round residents of Louisiana.
The Ruby-throated, Rufous, Buff-bellied, Black-chinned, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, Allen’s, Blue-throated Mountain-gem, Mexican Violetear, Rivoli’s, Green-breasted Mango, Lucifer and Anna’s are documented as winter residents of Louisiana by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program as winter residents of Louisiana.

Ruby-throated – The Ruby-throated hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA, including New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Male Ruby throated 6 mz13hummingbirds
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: mz13hummingbirds
Ruby throated Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Ruby-Throated Over-Wintering Map

Rufous – The Rufous hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico. Rufous hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA including New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Buff-bellied – The Buff-bellied hummingbirds are not really migratory and live year-round in southern Texas and the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

Male Buff bellied 2 Anthony Lujan
Buff-Bellied Hummingbird
Photo By: Anthony Lujan
Buff bellied Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Buff-bellied Ove-Wintering Map

Black-chinned – The Black-chinned hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico. Black-chinned hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and as far north as Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Male Black chinned AZ
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise
Black chinned Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Black-Chinned Over-Wintering Map

Calliope – The Calliope hummingbird overwinters primarily on the west coast of Mexico. Calliope hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Calliope Male ID
Male Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Calliope Overwintering Map Picture
Louisianna Hummingbirds: Calliope Over-Wintering Map

Broad-tailed – The Broad-tailed hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico and Guatemala. Broad-tailed hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas in Western Texas.

Broad tailed bird.whisperer UT
Male Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer
Broad tailed Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Broad-Tailed Over-Wintering Map

Broad-billed – The Broad-billed hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico. Broad-billed hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA, including Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, and Utah.

Broad billed hummingbirdsbysuprise AZ
Male Broad-billed Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise
Broad billed Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Broad-Billed Over-Wintering Map

Allen’s – The Allen’s hummingbird overwinters primarily in Southern California. The Allen’s hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA, including Texas, Tennessee, and as far north as Maryland, New York, and Wisconsin.

Male Allens 1 inthewildwithrickCA
Male Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick
Allens Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Allen’s Over-Wintering Map

Blue-throated Mountain-gem – The Blue-throated Mountain-gem hummingbirds are not really migratory hummingbirds but reside in Mexico year-round. Some Blue-throated hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas in southern Arizona and Western Texas.

Male Blue Throated MT Gem 1 AZ
Blue-Throated Mountain-Gem
Photo by: Rekha Pawar
Blue throated Mountain Gem Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Blue-Throated Mountain-Gem Over-Wintering Map

Mexican Violetear – The Mexican violetear hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Mexican violetear hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA, including Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana.

Mexican violetear 2 Male Ernesto Perez
Male Mexican Violetear
Photo by: Ernesto Perez
Mexican Violetear Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Mexican Violetear Over-Wintering Map

Rivoli’s – The Rivoli’s hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Some Ravioli’s hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas of Southern Arizona and Western Texas.

Adult Male Rivolis...humm guy
Male Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Photo by: thehummingbirdguy
Rivolis Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Rivoli’s Over-Wintering Map

Green-breasted Mango – The Green-breasted Mango hummingbird overwinters primarily in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Male Green breasted Mango 4 nature.juan
Male Green-Breasted Mango Hummingbird
Photo by: nature.anthony.lujan
Green breasted Mango Overwintering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Green-Breasted Mango Over-Wintering Map

Lucifer – The Lucifer hummingbird overwinters primarily in central Mexico, in the western half of the country.

Lucifer Overwinthering Map Picture
Louisiana Hummingbirds: Lucifer Over-Wintering Map

Every hummingbird has an exceptional memory. Throughout their spring migration, they can recall every flower or feeder they visited, and they will revisit those spots every year.

Hummingbirds have been seen to return to feeders even after they have been removed for a few years.
Read my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

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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