Hummingbirds Texas: Everything You Need to Know

Ruby throated hummingbirds

These tiny jeweled birds never fail to impress with a dash of speed and magnificent hovering skills and Texas is a great place if Hummingbirds is what you want to see. Many Hummingbirds are migratory and spend winter in Mexico or further south and so have to pass through the border states such as Texas to reach their breeding grounds.

Great if you live in Texas as not only do you get the migrating birds stopping to breed or passing through to more northerly states, you also get some extra species that mainly live south of the border but may occasionally pop over to visit.

The best locations to see these rare hummingbirds in Texas are Big Bend National Park or the Davis Mountains as many of them prefer the mountain regions.

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

Resident Species of Hummingbirds of Texas:

There are no species of hummingbird classed as residents in Texas. However, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, and Rufous Hummingbirds have all been recorded as remaining all year (ebird.org)

Seasonal Species of Hummingbirds of Texas:

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Lucifer Hummingbirds, Calliope Hummingbirds, Rivoli’s Hummingbirds, and Blue-throated Mountain-gems are all seasonal species of Humminbird in Texas.

Rare/Accidental Species of Hummingbirds of Texas:

The Allen’s Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Mexican Violetear, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, and Green-breasted Mango are all considered to be rare or accidental visitors to Texas.

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

17 Species of Hummingbirds in Texas:

  1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  2. Black-chinned Hummingbird
  3. Buff-bellied Hummingbird
  4. Rufous Hummingbird
  5. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  6. Anna’s Hummingbird
  7. Lucifer Hummingbird
  8. Calliope Hummingbird
  9. Allen’s Hummingbird
  10. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
  11. Blue-throated Mountain-gem
  12. Broad-billed Hummingbird
  13. Mexican Violetear
  14. Violet-crowned Hummingbird
  15. White-eared Hummingbird
  16. Costa’s Hummingbird
  17. Green-breasted Mango

17 Species of Hummingbirds Texas

1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby throated hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are seen during migration in Texas.  In Spring males usually arrive first up to one or two weeks before the females. First arrivals are usually in Texas from late February to mid-March. In the fall Ruby-throated Hummingbirds gather in September along the Gulf Coast of Texas before making the final push south for winter.

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. Some migrate over the Gulf of Mexico or some migrate through Texas around the coast. They start arriving in the far south in February and may not arrive in northern states and Canada until May for breeding. They migrate south in August and September.

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.

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

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be aggressive in their defense of flowers and feeders.  They 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)

2. Black-chinned Hummingbird

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

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.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed in Texas and some may remain all year on the Gulf Coast.

  • 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 them together and they lay 2 white tiny 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 on the Gulf Coast.

3. Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Buff bellied Hummingbird

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird (credit: ALAN SCHMIERER)

The Buff-bellied Hummingbird is medium-sized the bill of the male is red with a darker tip but the females are darker.

  • Length: 3.9-4.3 in (10-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.18 oz (2-5 g)

Buff-bellied Hummingbirds breed in southern Texas and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, through to Central America. In winter the Buff-bellied Hummingbird will migrate short distances along the Gulf Coast along to Louisiana and Florida.

Nesting occurs in Texas from April to August in large shrubs or small trees, quite low to the ground.  They lay 2 white eggs and may have 2 broods per year.

Semi-open habitats or woodland edges provide the ideal habitat for Buff-bellied Hummingbirds and they will also visit backyards for flowers or nectar feeders. Small insects also make up some of their diets.

You can attract more Buff-bellied Hummingbirds with nectar feeders and red tubular flowers such as Turk’s cap and red salvia.

4. Rufous Hummingbird

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

Rufous Hummingbirds in Texas are more common during fall migration but some will overwinter along the Gulf Coast and they also can be found in spring migration. Rufous Hummingbirds are in Texas between mid-July and April, spending the summer in Canada and Alaska.

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 northwest 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.

5. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

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

Broad-tailed hummingbirds breed in the far west Texas and can be seen during migration in the west and up to the north of the state.

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 nectar 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.

6. Anna’s Hummingbird

annas hummingbird male
Male
annas hummingbird female
Female

Anna’s Hummingbirds can be found in winter in Texas.

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.

7. Lucifer Hummingbird

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

Lucifer hummingbirds breed in Texas in Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains.

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 so 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 small areas of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas between March and September. 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.

8. Calliope Hummingbird

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

Calliope Hummingbirds can be spotted in Texas for most of the year except not usually in June. They are more frequently seen in fall migration between mid-July and mid-September.

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.

9. Allen’s Hummingbird

Allens hummingbird male

Allen’s Hummingbirds can be seen during migration in Texas more frequently in January or February.

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.

10. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

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

Rivoli’s Hummingbirds although rare in Texas can be found in Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains.

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.

11. Blue-throated Mountain-gem

A Male Blue-throated mountain gem

Although rare Blue-throated Mountain gems can be found in the Chisos Mountains in Texas during spring and summer for breeding. 

The Blue-throated Mountain-gem is the largest hummingbird that nest 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 the heat of midday.

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.

12. Broad-billed Hummingbird

broad billed hummingbird male
Male
broad billed hummingbird female
Female

Broad-billed Hummingbirds in Texas are rare but they may be found near the southern border and the southern Gulf Coast.

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.

13. Mexican Violetear

mexican violetear

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 and through Central America to Nicaragua but can be found as far south as the mountains in Bolivia and Venezuela. Some non-breeding Mexican Violetears may fly north into the United States especially in Central and Southern Texas.

14. Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are sometimes seen in Texas around El Paso but they are rare.

Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are medium-sized and have a violet cap as the name would suggest. They are dark olive-green on the back and white underneath. their beaks are red with a black tip. Females are less colorful than males. They have 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.

Habitat is tropical deciduous forests and semiarid scrub and nests are often in sycamore or oak trees.

15. White-eared Hummingbird

White-eared Hummingbird male

White-eared Hummingbird male (credit:Francesco Veronesi )

Although rare the White-eared Hummingbird has been seen in Texas in summer between July and Mid-October in the Big Bend and Guadalupe mountains.

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 the face.

  • 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 3 broods in a year. However, they may arrive in Arizona from 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.

16. Costa’s Hummingbird

costas hummingbird

Although rare Costa’s Hummingbirds may be seen in southern Texas in Big Bend National Park or in the southwest of Texas along the Mexican border

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.

17. Green-breasted Mango

Green-breasted Mango male and female pair

The Green-breasted Mango is very rare in Texas but a few have been sighted on the southeastern border with Mexico.

Green-breasted mangoes are glossy bright green on the back and the males have a blackish throat bordered with blue on the chest. Females are white underneath with a black stripe in the middle with a few bluish-green metallic feathers.

  • Length: 4.3 – 4.7 in ( 11 – 12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.24-0.25 oz (6.8 – 7.2 g)

Green-breasted Mangos are found near the coasts of Mexico and Central America and some down to northern South America. Their habitat is tropical deciduous forests, gardens, and some open or lightly wooded areas.

Best Nectar Feeders to Attract Hummingbirds in Texas

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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 Texas to Your Backyard

If you would like to attract more hummingbirds to your yard in Texas 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 Texas

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

  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