There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds, along with 115 genera, primarily in South America. These birds are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere, and nearly fifty percent of them live inbetween the equator’s northern and southern sides. Less than twenty-four species enter Canada and the US, and just a handful of species stay throughout the year. There are fifty-one rare hummingbird species, which are classed as endangered or threatened. It is difficult to choose the best ones, but the following eight are certainly worth a mention:
Male Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange, while the female birds are orange and green. These birds are fairly small, compared to other species of hummingbirds, however they are quite feisty and frequently scare bigger hummingbirds off from feeders. The Rufous Hummingbird spends winter in Mexico, and commonly migrates to Ohio during the late fall and early spring.
In all likelihood, if you live on North America’s west coast, you will be familiar with Anna’s Hummingbirds. Pacific Coast residents often report sightings of these creatures. They use a courtship ritual that is truly unique. The males shoot up into the air at over 100 feet, then fly back down to the ground at great velocity, chirping as they do so, prior to launching themselves into the air once more.
Male Glittering Starfrontlets are big hummingbirds, with black heads adorned with iridescent emerald patches. Also, they have glistening greenish gold bellies and deep blue throat patches. Formerly called Dusky Starfrontlets, these hummingbirds from the western Andes of Colombia were only known from one specimen retrieved in the early 1950’s. However, they were rediscovered in 2004, close to Urrao city in Colombia. Subsequently, a few extra subpopulations have been discovered, one of which is located in the Tatamá National Park. Nonetheless, the entire population of Glittering Starfrontlets is thought to be less than 250, and the species only inhabits small areas.
The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest species found in America. Like Rufous Hummingbirds, these creatures migrate to Mexico during the winter. They are the world’s smallest long distance avian migrants. The females have dull, pale throats and the males have throats with white and red streaks.
These wonderful birds have long wings, and are named after the light brown color on the underside of their bodies. They live in the area between north west Costa Rica and west Mexico, and particularly enjoy dry forest environments. Occasionally, they are found further north in Texas and south west America.
Male Colorful Pufflegs are awash with color, with mainly green emerald upper bodies complementing their blue bellies, reddish feathers beneath their tails, white feather puffs over their feet, and tails with a golden green underside. This rare hummingbird species was discovered in 1967, with four collected museum specimens. In 1997, it was reconfirmed close to where it was first found, which is currently the Munchique National Park in Colombia. It is thought that just 250 to 999 birds are left.
Green Crowned Brilliant Hummingbirds
These emerald birds are among the biggest hummingbirds species. They inhabit the highlands from western Ecuador to Costa Rica. In contrast to most types of hummingbirds, which hover at flowers, green crowned brilliant hummingbirds perch while they feed.
White Necked Jacobin Hummingbirds
Finally, this hummingbird species is pretty unmissable, with the male’s dark blue head and pale white tail and belly. Similar to other types of hummingbirds, Jacobins feed on the protein of small insects, as well as nectar. They catch insects by grabbing or ‘hawking’ them from the air.