Female Hummingbirds (Facts and Pictures)

annas hummingbird female

Female Hummingbirds work very hard, but we usually hear all about the showy males. Well, it’s time for the tenacious female hummingbird to shine.

If you want to find out more about all the hummingbirds in North America, or if you want to watch hummingbirds, then check these out:

Female Hummingbird Behaviour

Although male hummingbirds are known to be aggressive and territorial, female hummingbirds will chase other hummingbirds away from their nesting territory.

Sometimes it will look like you have more female hummingbirds than males, but juvenile hummingbirds look very similar to females and so you are probably seeing these as well.

Female hummingbirds migrate later than males, as the male will set up a breeding territory before the females arrive.

Females often double their weight before migrating up to 2700 miles from Central America up as far north as Canada.

Female Hummingbirds and Nest Building

Costas hummingbird nest

When it comes to nest building, female hummingbirds do ALL the work! Male hummingbirds only stick around for courtship and mating and then leave the female to do all the work.

Female Hummingbirds build their tiny nests on top of a branch. They use thistle, dandelion or feathers stamped down to stiffen the bottom and held together with spider web silk or pine resin. She will shape and mold the nest with her neck and use bits of lichen and moss to camouflage it.

Nests take 6 – 10 days and measure 1 – 2 inches across and 1 inch deep.

Female Hummingbirds Role in Raising Young

Female hummingbirds also do all the work incubating and rearing the young. She will spend around 12 – 16 days incubating 2 eggs and then around 20 days rearing the young.

Female Hummingbirds will sit on the eggs and once the young are born, they will sit on the nest to keep them warm.

As the nest is tiny, once the babies grow feathers and can keep warm themselves, the female will then sleep away from the nest at night.

The baby hummingbirds eat a mixture of bugs and nectar ‘slurry’ fed by the female around every 20 minutes.

Once the babies fledge, the female hummingbird will feed her young for a few days and show them where to find food before chasing them off to live alone.

Female Hummingbird Size

hummingbird-in hand

Female Hummingbirds are tiny and are only 3 – 5 inches long and weigh 0.1 – 0.2 oz.

They are often slightly larger than the males as they do all the feeding of the young and then still have to migrate, so this little extra weight really helps.

Female Hummingbird Color

Female Hummingbirds are much harder to tell apart than the males as they do not have the iridescent colored throat patches like the males.

Male and female hummingbirds often look very different as the males are very bright with shimmery iridescent throats, known as gorgets. Females are usually duller in color all over and lack the bright throat color.

Instead, they are generally a green or greenish-brown color on the back and paler underneath.

As you can see from the photos below, female hummingbirds look very similar.

Find out more about all the hummingbirds in North America to know which female hummingbirds may be visiting your yard.

Female Hummingbird Identification

Anna’s Hummingbird Female

annas hummingbird female
Female Anna’s Hummingbirds have gray throats with a bit of red spotting.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Female

Ruby throated hummingbird female
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are less bright than the males and they have white throats and belly and their green backs are duller and the crown is more brown than green.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Female

Black chinned hummingbird female
Female Black-chinned Hummingbirds have a pale throat and white tips on their tail feathers.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird Female

Broad tailed Hummingbird female 2
Female Broad-tailed Hummingbirds have green spots on their throats and cheeks.

Rufous Hummingbird Female

Rufous Hummingbird female
Female Rufous Hummingbirds are greenish-brown on the back and pale rusty-colored on the sides with a whitish belly.

Costa’s Hummingbird Female

Costa's hummingbird female
Female Costa’s Hummingbirds lack the purple color and are more white on the belly.

Calliope Hummingbird Female

Calliope hummingbird female
Female Calliope Hummingbirds lack iridescent throats and are more pinkish-white underneath rather than white in the males.


I hope you enjoyed learning more about female hummingbirds and all the hard work they do to raise their tiny young.