17 Species of Hummingbirds in New Mexico – Picture and ID Guide

Lucifer Hummingbird female

Tiny bursts of color and speed coupled with magnificent hovering skills make the hummingbird one of my favorite bird species with good reason.

Hummingbirds are the only species of bird that can fly backward, and their closest relative are swifts!

Hummingbirds can travel over 4000 miles in a year, fly at 98 km/h, have a wingbeat of an average of 58 beats per second, and lay an egg the size of a jelly bean!

Many Hummingbirds are migratory and spend the winter in Mexico or further south and the summer in the United States and Canada for breeding.

There are 17 species of hummingbirds in New Mexico that have been spotted. Of these, 11 species are recognized on state checklists as regularly occurring, 6 additional species are considered rare or accidental, and one of these is also regarded as near-threatened.

This guide will help you identify the hummingbird species spotted in New Mexico according to avibase. The hummingbirds in this list are ordered how frequently they are spotted in the state, from most frequent to least frequent, according to bird watchers’ checklists for the state submitted to ebird.

In New Mexico, some of the hummingbirds considered as regularly occurring are Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, Calliope Hummingbirds.

In summer, the most common species are Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

You can print out a free bird identification photo guide for New Mexico to help you identify many of the birds that visit your backyard.

17 Species of Hummingbirds in New Mexico

1. Black-chinned Hummingbird

black chinned hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird male
Black chinned hummingbird female
Black-chinned Hummingbird Female (credit: Gary Leavens)

In summer, Black-chinned Hummingbirds are the most frequently spotted hummingbirds in New Mexico and appear in 34% of checklists. They can be seen in the state mostly during the breeding season, from March to November. Then they fly south for winter, but a few hang around in winter.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on the back and grayish-white underneath. The males have a black throat with a thin iridescent purple base, and the females have a pale throat and white tips on the tail feathers.

  • Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

In summer, black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states from British Columbia to Baja California.

After breeding, they may move to higher mountain areas with abundant flowers before migrating to western Mexico, southern California, and the Gulf Coast in the winter. Migration of Black-chinned Hummingbirds usually occurs in March and September.

Black-chinned Hummingbird calls and wingbeat:

Thomas G. Graves, XC495007. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/495007.

They eat nectar, small insects, and spiders, and their tongues can lick 13-17 times per second when feeding on nectar. Nests of Black-chinned Hummingbirds are made of plant down and spider silk to hold them together, and they lay two tiny white eggs that are only 0.6 in (1.3 cm)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds can often be seen sitting at the top of dead trees on tiny bare branches and often return to a favorite perch. They can be found along canyons and rivers or by shady oaks.

2. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird male (Selasphorus platycercus)
Broad tailed Hummingbird female

In summer, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are the second most frequently spotted hummingbirds in New Mexico and appear in 19% of checklists. They can be spotted in the state during the breeding season, mostly from March to November, but a few hang around for longer.

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds live in higher elevations and are iridescent green on the back, brownish in the wings, and white on the chest and into the belly. Males have an iridescent rose throat, females and juveniles have green spots on their throats and cheeks.

  • Length: 3.1-3.5 in (8-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.8-4.5 g)

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed in high meadows and open woodlands between 5,000 – 10,000 feet elevation in the mountainous west, between late May and August between central Idaho, southern Montana, northern Wyoming, and south to California.

Migration south is to southern Mexico for winter, but some Broad-tailed Hummingbirds may stay on the Gulf Coast. Migration of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds occurs in April and again in late August and September.

Due to the cold at higher elevations, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird can slow their heart rate and drop their body temperature to enter a state of torpor.

Nectar from flowers is the usual food of hummingbirds, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds drink from larkspur, red columbine, sage, scarlet gilia, and they will also come to hummingbird nectar feeders. They supplement their diet with small insects and feed their young on insects.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird nests are usually on evergreen or aspen branches and are made with spider webs and gossamer under overhanging branches for added insulation during cold nights.

3. Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird Male
Rufous Hummingbird female
Rufous Hummingbird Female

Although considered near-threatened species, Rufous Hummingbirds are the third most frequently spotted hummingbirds in New Mexico during summer and appear in 5% of checklists.

They can be seen in the state during migration and have been spotted all year, but they are more commonly seen from June to October.

Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange on the back and belly, a white patch below the throat, and an iridescent red throat in the males. The females are greenish-brown on the back, and rusty colored on the sides with a whitish belly.

  • Length: 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2-5 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

Rufous Hummingbirds are one of the longest migrating birds relative to their size, traveling up to 4000 miles each way. In the summer, they breed in northwest Alaska and northwest Canada and migrate down to Mexico and the Gulf Coast for winter. 

Migration of Rufous Hummingbirds is north along the Pacific Coast in spring and the Rocky Mountains in late summer and fall. Migration in the spring of Rufous Hummingbirds starts in February, and they usually reach Alaska by mid-April. Migration in the fall is in July and August and ends by October.

A study has shown that Rufous Hummingbirds start their migration earlier and travel north more inland than before.

Rufous Hummingbird numbers have declined by around 60% since the 1970s

Rufous Hummingbirds feed primarily on nectar from colorful tubular flowers and insects such as gnats, midges, and flies. They build a nest high up in trees using soft down from plants and spider webs to hold it together. They lay 2-3 tiny white eggs about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) long. Their habitat is mountain meadows and coniferous forests.

They are very aggressive and chase off any other hummingbirds that may appear, even larger hummingbirds or resident ones during migration. They won’t hang around long during migration but will still chase off most other hummingbirds given a chance.

4. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope hummingbird male
Calliope Hummingbirds male (credit: Rocky Raybell)
Calliope hummingbird female
Calliope Hummingbird female (credit: Rocky Raybell)

Although not very common in New Mexico, Calliope Hummingbirds are recognized as regularly occurring in the state and appear in 1% of summer checklists. They are spotted in the state from April to November.

The tiny ping ball-sized Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the United States but still manages to fly more than 5000 miles each year all the way from Mexico up as far as Canada and back.

They also punch above their weight when it comes to defending their territory and even chase Red-tailed Hawks.

Male Calliope Hummingbirds have bright magenta throats (known as the gorget), glossy green backs and flanks, and a dark tail. Females lack the iridescent throats and are more pinkish-white underneath rather than white in the males.

  • Length: 3.1-3.5 in (8-9 cm)3
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (2.3-3.4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.1-4.3 in (10.5-11 cm)

Calliope Hummingbirds’ spring migration is to the Rocky Mountains along the Pacific Coast to breeding areas in California, Colorado, and up to northwestern states, Alberta, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island. They start migration relatively early in February to arrive from Mid-April to early May as far north as Canada.

Fall migration is by the Rocky Mountains to wintering grounds in southwestern Mexico, but also more recently to the Gulf Coast in late August and September.

Nests are usually on evergreen trees, and they may reuse them or build on top of an old nest.

5. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird male
annas hummingbird female

Anna’s Hummingbirds are rarely spotted in New Mexico, but they are recognized as regularly occurring in the state.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are tiny birds that are primarily green and gray. The male’s head and throat are iridescent reddish-pink. The female’s throat is grayish with bits of red spotting.

  • Length: 3.9 in (10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (3-6 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.7 in (12 cm)

Anna’s Hummingbirds are the most common hummingbird along the Pacific Coast and they do not migrate, which is unusual for hummingbirds.

Their range is from British Columbia to Baja California in both summer and winter. However, some birds may move from the far north of their range for winter.

Habitats of Anna’s hummingbirds are often backyards and parks with large colorful blooms and nectar feeders, but they are also found in scrub and savannah.

The diet of Anna’s Hummingbirds includes nectar, tree sap, and small insects and spiders. Nectar sources are Eucalyptus, Nicotiana, Agave, Castilleja, Diplaucus, Ribes, Silena, Arctostaphylos, and nectar feeders.

Anna’s Hummingbird call sounds:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC679336. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/679336.

Anna’s Hummingbirds’ nests are high up in trees at around 6 – 20 ft, and they often have 2-3 broods a year, and female hummingbirds do all of the work!

During courtship, they make dramatic dive displays as the males climb up to 130 feet into the air before diving back to the ground with a burst of noise from their tail feathers.

6. Broad-billed Hummingbird

broad billed hummingbird male
broad billed hummingbird female

Although rarely spotted in New Mexico, Broad-billed Hummingbirds are recognized as regularly occurring in the state, and they were spotted in Las Cruces Dam in 2021.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are brilliantly colored, even among hummingbirds. The males are rich metallic green all over with a blue throat that extends down the breast. Females have a pale belly, and both males and females have red beaks that are black-tipped and wide near their heads.

  • Length: 3.1 – 3.9 in (8-10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (3-4 g)

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are resident all year in central Mexico and the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Some birds migrate north into mountain canyons in southern Arizona and New Mexico for breeding between March and September, and a few remain all year near the Mexican border.

Canyon streams and mountain meadows provide the ideal foraging areas for Broad-billed Hummingbirds, but they will also visit backyard feeders. Nests are built quite low to the ground, at about 3 feet up, near streams.

7. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivolis hummingbird male
Rivoli’s Hummingbird male (credit: Nate Steiner)
Rivoli’s Hummingbird female (credit: Nate Steiner)

Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are very rare to spot in New Mexico, but they are recognized as regularly occurring in the state. They were spotted in the Gila National Forest in recent years.

Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are large hummingbirds with more striking coloring than most hummingbirds as they have an iridescent purple crown as well as the more usual iridescent throat in the males, which is emerald green. Males are dark green, and the females are green on the back and grayish underneath.

  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 oz (7-8 g)

Rivoli’s Hummingbirds are resident in Mexico and Central America, but some do migrate north into southern Arizona and New Mexico, and southwestern Texas. They can be found in pine-oak forests in mountainous regions but will visit feeders in their range. They build nests relatively high up.

8. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby throated hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are considered accidental species in New Mexico but there were a couple of sightings in the east of the state in recent years.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are bright green on the back and crown, with a gray-white underside and the males have an iridescent red throat.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are green on the back and white underneath with brownish crowns and sides.

  • Length: 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g)
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in (8-11 cm)

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. They then migrate further south to Central America for winter. Some migrate over the Gulf of Mexico, or some migrate through Texas around the coast.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds start arriving in the United States in February and may not arrive in northern states and Canada until May for breeding. In spring, males usually arrive first up to one or two weeks before the females.

In the fall, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate south in August and September and gather in September along the Gulf Coast of Texas before making the final push south for winter. 

These tiny birds zip from one nectar source to the next or catch insects in midair or from spider webs. They occasionally stop on a small twig, but their legs are so short they cannot walk, only shuffle along a perch.

In summer, flowering gardens or woodland edges are the best places to find them. They are also common in towns, especially at nectar feeders.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird calls and wingbeat:

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be aggressive in their defense of flowers and feeders. Males do not stick around long after mating and may migrate by early August.

Ruby-throated females build nests on thin branches and make them out of thistle or dandelion down held together with spider silk. They lay 1-3 tiny eggs measuring only 0.6 in (1.3 cm)

9. Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are very rarely spotted in New Mexico, but they are recognized as regularly occurring in the state. In fact, they were spotted in the Guadalupe Canyon in 2021.

As the name would suggest, Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are medium-sized and have a violet cap. They are dark olive-green on the back, white underneath, and have black tips on their red bills.

Females are less colorful than males, with metallic bluish-green tails and a blue-black band across the tail near the end.

  • Length: 4 in (10 cm)
  • Weight:  0.18 oz (5 g)

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds range from the mountains in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico and down southwestern Mexico. They arrive in the United States in February or March and nest in Arizona and New Mexico between April and September.

They generally move south for winter, but some may remain at backyard feeders through the winter. Their habitat is tropical deciduous forests, and semiarid scrub and nests are often in sycamore or oak trees.

10. Costa’s Hummingbird

costas hummingbird
Costa's hummingbird female

Although very rarely spotted in New Mexico, Costa’s Hummingbirds are recognized as regularly occurring in the state and they were spotted around Whitmire Canyon Wilderness Study Area and Silver City in 2021.

Costa’s Hummingbirds are predominantly desert hummingbirds with striking iridescent purple throat patches that flare out and a purple crown. Their backs are green, and their bellies are white with green coloring on the sides. Female Costa’s Hummingbirds lack the purple color and are more white on the belly.

  • Length: 3.5 in ( 7.6 – 8.8 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (2-3 g)

Costa’s Hummingbirds are residents of Baja California, Southern California, and southwestern Arizona. They also migrate between the Pacific Coast of Mexico in winter and up into Arizona, the southern edges of Nevada and Utah, and California for breeding.

Desert scrub, chaparral, and deciduous forest provide the habitat of Costa’s Hummingbirds, and they visit many different species of plants. Nests are built quite low at three to seven feet above the ground in shrubs, and they may have up to two broods in a year.

11. Lucifer Hummingbird

Lucifer hummingbird male
Male (credit: ALAN SCHMIERER)
Lucifer Hummingbird female
Female (credit: ALAN SCHMIERER)

Lucifer Hummingbirds are recognized as regularly occurring in New Mexico, although they are rare to spot. There were a couple of sightings around Hidalgo in 2021.

Lucifer Hummingbirds have curved bills, forked tails, a green back, and purple throats in the male.  

  • Length: 3.9 in (10cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (3-4 g)

These hummingbirds are found in desert habitats and dry canyons and feed on flowering agaves, ocotillo, and century plants. Due to their desert habitat, they are not commonly seen and are quite a sought-after species to spot.

During courtship displays, the males will make sudden dives from 100 feet in front of the females.

Lucifer hummingbirds breed in northern Mexico and a few small areas of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas between March and September. Then, they migrate to central Mexico for winter. Nests are usually built on Cacti or succulents, and they will have one or two broods a year.

12. Blue-throated Mountain-gem

A Male Blue-throated mountain gem

Blue-throated Mountain-gems are extremely rare to find in New Mexico, but they are recognized as regularly occurring. They were last spotted in the state back in 2014.

The Blue-throated Mountain-gem is the largest hummingbird that nests in the United States, and as the name suggests, the males have iridescent blue throats. Both male and female Blue-throated Mountain gems are bronzy-green on the back and grayish below, with white tips on the black tail feathers.

  • Length: 4.3-4.7 in (11-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 oz (8.1-8.6 g)

Mostly resident in Mexico, but some Blue-throated Mountain gems move north short distances into southeastern Arizona and southwestern Texas. Mountain woodlands along streams with lots of flowers or backyards with feeders are the best places to spot Blue-throated Mountain gems. They feed more in the morning and late afternoon, out of midday heat.

Nests of Blue-throated Mountain gems are larger than most to accommodate their larger size and can measure 2 inches wide and 3 – 10 inches high.

13. Allen’s Hummingbird

Allens hummingbird male

Allen’s Hummingbirds are considered an accidental species in New Mexico, and according to records, they were last spotted in Lake Roberts back in 2005.

Allen’s Hummingbirds look very similar to Rufous Hummingbirds, so it’s hard to tell them apart in the narrow band of coastal forest and scrub they inhabit between California and Oregon.

Male Allen’s Hummingbirds have iridescent reddish-orange throats and orange bellies, tails, and eye patches. Both males and females have long straight bills and coppery-green backs, but the females lack the bright throat coloring.

  • Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (2-4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

The difference between Allen’s and Rufous Hummingbirds is the narrow outer tail feathers in Allen’s Hummingbird.

Allen’s Hummingbirds build nests near shady streams and have up to 3 broods a year. They spend winter in Mexico and migrate as early as January up to the Pacific Coast in California and Oregon, but they are most common between March and July. Some remain residents all year in central Mexico and around Los Angeles.

14. White-eared Hummingbird

White-eared Hummingbird male
White-eared Hummingbird male (credit: Francesco Veronesi )

White-eared Hummingbirds are considered accidental species in New Mexico and they were last seen in Gila National Forest and Lincoln National Forest back in 2005.

White-eared Hummingbirds are green on their backs and breasts with a black head and a white eyestripe on both males and females. Their beaks are red with a black tip. Males have a metallic turquoise green throat with violet patches on their faces.

  • Length: 3.5 – 4 in (9-10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 – 0.14 oz (3-4 g)

White-eared Hummingbirds range from Nicaragua up to the mountains in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and western Texas, but they are rare in the United States. They usually nest between March to August in northern and central Mexico or later in July in Arizona, and they may have three broods in a year. They migrate to arrive in the southern United States in March and leave by early September.

Scrubby growth and forests or backyards provide the habitat of White-eared Hummingbirds, and they nest in shrubs or low trees.

15. Berylline Hummingbird

Berylline Hummingbird
Berylline Hummingbird (credit: ALAN SCHMIERER)

Berylline Hummingbirds are accidental species in New Mexico and they were last spotted by the New Mexico Historical Records in Mimbres in 2006.

Berylline Hummingbirds are metallic green with a gray lower belly and reddish wings. Females are less colorful than males and are slightly smaller. Their upper bills are black, and the lower bill is reddish-orange.

  • Length: 3 – 4.25 in (8-11 cm)
  • Weight:  0.14 – 0.18 oz (4-5 g)

They range from Mexico to Honduras in open woodlands of oak and pine and shady canyons, and they will also stray up into southeastern Arizona. They are usually solitary birds and can be aggressive in defending their territory, including at hummingbird feeders.

The only place in North America that Berylline Hummingbirds can be found is in southeastern Arizona in the Santa Rita Mountains, Huachuca Mountains, and Chiricahua Mountains during breeding between April and November. 

16. Mexican Violetear

mexican violetear

Mexican Violetears are accidental species in New Mexico, and they are extremely rare to find. In fact, they were only spotted in Santa Fe in 2004.

Mexican Violetears are medium-sized hummingbirds that are metallic green with violet patches on the sides of their heads and breasts.

  • Length: 3.8 – 4.7 in (9.7 – 12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.17 – 0.2 oz (4.8 – 5.6 g)

Mexican Violetears breed in forests in Mexico, Central America, and down to Nicaragua, but they sometimes can be found as far south as the mountains of Bolivia and Venezuela.

Also, some non-breeding Mexican Violetears may fly north into the United States to central and southern Texas.

17. Cinnamon Hummingbird

Cinnamon Hummingbird

Cinnamon Hummingbirds are accidental species in New Mexico. They are extremely rare and in fact, they were only spotted once in the state by the New Mexico Historical Records in Santa Theresa Country Club back in 1993.

Cinnamon Hummingbirds are bronze-green on their backs, and as their name suggests, they are cinnamon-colored underneath from under their chin to their tail. Their tails are reddish, and their beaks have a black tip.

  • Length: 3.9 in (10 cm)
  • Weight:  0.18 oz (5 g)

Usually, Cinnamon Hummingbirds are found from northwestern Mexico down to Costa Rica, but a few have ventured into the Southwestern United States. They inhabit forest edges of pine and oak and open scrubby areas, feeding on nectar and insects.

How Frequently Hummingbirds are Spotted in New Mexico in Summer and Winter

Checklists for the state are a great resource to find out which birds are commonly spotted. These lists show which hummingbirds are most commonly recorded on checklists for New Mexico on ebird in summer and winter.

Hummingbirds in New Mexico in Summer:

Black-chinned Hummingbird 34.9%
Broad-tailed Hummingbird 19.3%
Rufous Hummingbird 5.0%
Calliope Hummingbird 1.4%
Rivoli’s Hummingbird 0.1%
Broad-billed Hummingbird 0.1%
Lucifer Hummingbird <0.1%
Violet-crowned Hummingbird <0.1%
Anna’s Hummingbird <0.1%
Costa’s Hummingbird <0.1%
Ruby-throated Hummingbird <0.1%
Blue-throated Mountain-gem <0.1%
Allen’s Hummingbird <0.1%
White-eared Hummingbird <0.1%
Berylline Hummingbird <0.1%

Hummingbirds in New Mexico in Winter:

Anna’s Hummingbird 0.2%
Rufous Hummingbird <0.1%
Broad-tailed Hummingbird <0.1%
Ruby-throated Hummingbird <0.1%
Black-chinned Hummingbird <0.1%
Broad-billed Hummingbird <0.1%
Costa’s Hummingbird <0.1%
Rivoli’s Hummingbird <0.1%
Violet-crowned Hummingbird <0.1%

How to Attract the Hummingbirds of New Mexico to Your Backyard

If you would like to attract more hummingbirds to your yard, here are some tips:

  1. Provide more hummingbird feeders to fill with homemade nectar and spread them around your yard to create more territories.
  2. Ensure you clean and change the hummingbird nectar regularly to stop diseases spreading.  You can either buy nectar or make your own, but don’t use any with red dye.
  3. Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream.  Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
  4.  Grow native plants that will provide food such as salvias, fuschias, trumpet creeper, lupin, columbine, bee balms, and foxgloves
  5. Don’t use pesticides and herbicides as these may be toxic to birds.
  6. Provide small perches of thin branches, bare of leaves, for hummingbirds to rest.