Hummingbirds Oregon: Everything You Need to Know

rufous-hummingbird

These tiny jeweled birds never fail to impress with a dash of speed and magnificent hovering skills and Oregon is a great place if Hummingbirds is what you want to see. Many Hummingbirds are migratory and spend winter in Mexico or further south but then migrate north into states such as Oregon for breeding.

Not only is there a hummingbird that remains here all year, there are 3 species of hummingbird in Oregon that can be seen fairly commonly during summer and a further 4 species of hummingbird in Oregon that, although rare, can be spotted in the state.

The best locations to see the less common species of hummingbird in Oregon are around Malheur, South Beach, or Winchuck.

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Species of hummingbirds are classed as resident, seasonal or rare in each state and according to avibase and the Oregon Birding Association, these are the types of hummingbird in Oregon in each group:

Resident Species of Hummingbirds of Oregon:

Anna’s Hummingbirds are resident all year in Oregon and do not migrate.

Seasonal Species of Hummingbirds of Oregon:

Rufous Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

Rare/Accidental Species of Hummingbirds of Oregon:

Costa’s Hummingbird and Broad-billed Hummingbird are considered to be rare or accidental visitors to Oregon.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about hummingbirds in Oregon.

8 Species of Hummingbirds in Oregon:

  1. Anna’s Hummingbird
  2. Rufous Hummingbird
  3. Calliope Hummingbird
  4. Black-chinned Hummingbird
  5. Allen’s Hummingbird
  6. Costa’s Hummingbird
  7. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  8. Broad-billed Hummingbird

8 Species of Hummingbirds Oregon

1. Anna’s Hummingbird

annas hummingbird male
Male
annas hummingbird female
Female

Anna’s Hummingbirds are the most common hummingbird in Oregon and they can be found all year in the west of Oregon. They are occasionally spotted in the east of Oregon but not very often.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are tiny birds that are mostly 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)

Unusually Anna’s Hummingbirds do not migrate and are the most common hummingbird along the Pacific Coast. They make a dramatic dive display during courtship 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.

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.

Anna’s Hummingbirds’ nests are high in trees, around 6 – 20 ft and they often have 2-3 broods a year.

2. Rufous Hummingbird

rufous-hummingbird male
Rufous Hummingbird Male
Rufous Hummingbird female
Rufous Hummingbird female

Rufous Hummingbirds breed in Oregon across the whole state but more commonly in the west of the state. They start arriving in Oregon in late February. They travel along the Pacific Coast to either breed in Oregon or migrate further north to other breeding grounds. Rufous hummingbirds migrate south and most have left by 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. They breed in the northwest and Alaska and migrate down to Mexico and the Gulf Coast for winter. 

They migrate north along the Pacific Coast in spring and by the Rocky Mountains in late summer and fall.

Rufous Hummingbirds feed mostly on nectar from colorful tubular flowers and from insects such as gnats, midges, and flies. They build a nest high up in trees using soft plant down and spider webs to hold it together.  They lay 2-3 tiny white eggs that are about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) long.

They are very aggressive and chase off any other hummingbirds that may appear, even larger hummingbirds or resident ones during migration.  During migration, they won’t hang around long and will chase off most other hummingbirds even a chance. They can be found in mountain meadows and in winter, they live in woods and forests.

3. Calliope Hummingbird

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

Calliope Hummingbirds breed in Oregon and they can be spotted throughout the state between March and October, but they are more common from mid-April until mid-August.

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)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (2.3-3.4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.1-4.3 in (10.5-11 cm)

Spring migration to the Rocky Mountains is along the Pacific Coast to breeding areas in California, Colorado, and up to northwestern states and Canada. They start migration relatively early to arrive from Mid-April to early May.

Nests are usually on evergreen trees and they may reuse them or build on top of an old nest. Fall migration is by the Rocky Mountains to wintering grounds in southwestern Mexico.

4. Black-chinnedHummingbird

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

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed in Oregon and can be spotted in the state between May and October, but a few arrive as early as March. They breed predominantly in the east of Oregon.

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)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states and migrate to western Mexico and the Gulf Coast in the winter.

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 it together and they lay 2 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 in the Southwest or by shady oaks in the Gulf Coast.

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5. Allen’s Hummingbird

Allens hummingbird male

Although not common in Oregon, Allen’s Hummingbirds breed in the southwest corner of Oregon and can be spotted between March and August. They have been spotted around Winchuck and Harris beach state park in recent years.

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. They build nests at no fixed height near shady streams and have up to 3 broods a year.

Allen’s Hummingbirds spend winter in Mexico and migrate as early as January up to the Pacific Coast in California and Oregon. Some remain resident in central Mexico and around Los Angeles.

6. Costa’s Hummingbird

costas hummingbird

Although rare Costa’s Hummingbirds may be seen in western Oregon, only a few a year may appear, so you need to be quick if this bird is to be spotted in Oregon. They have been spotted at Winchuck and at South Beach and around Medford.

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 in Baja California and 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.

7. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird male (Selasphorus platycercus)
Male
Broad tailed Hummingbird female 2
Female

Broad-tailed hummingbirds are very rare in Oregon, but not considered as accidental on state checklists. They have been spotted in the southeast of the state, during summer, including at Steens Mountain.

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, before migrating to southern Mexico for the winter.

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 feeders.  They supplement their diet with small insects and will feed their young on insects too.

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.

8. Broad-billed Hummingbird

broad billed hummingbird male
Male
broad billed hummingbird female
Female

Broad-billed Hummingbirds have only been spotted a few times in Oregon mostly at Malheur in 2019 and they are considered an accidental species in Oregon.

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 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 near streams.

Best Nectar Feeders to Attract Hummingbirds in Oregon

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The more the merrier with Hummingbirds is what I think and they can be territorial so getting a few hummingbird feeders around your backyard is best.  We have picked the best hummingbird feeders for you to get hummingbirds buzzing all over your yard.

How to Attract the Hummingbirds of Oregon to Your Backyard

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

  1. Provide more hummingbird feeders and spread them around your yard to create more territories.
  2. Ensure you clean and change the hummingbird nectar regularly.  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.

How to Identify Birds in Oregon

Here are some tips to help you identify birds whether you are out birding or backyard bird watching in Oregon:

  1. Size – Size is the easiest thing to notice about a bird.  Birds are often measured in inches or centimeters in guide books.  It’s best to take a note of the bird in terms of small, medium, or large to be able to look for it later. A small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is about the size of a pigeon and a large bird is the size of a goose.
  2. Shape – Take note of the silhouette of the bird and jot it down or draw the outline.  Look at tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape.
  3. Color pattern – Take a note of the main color of the head, back, belly, and wings, and tail for the main color and then any secondary colors or patterns. Also take note of any patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights.
  4. Behavior – Are they on the ground or high up in the trees. Are they in flocks or on their own?  Can you spot what they are eating?
  5. Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
  6. Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon