Lucifer Hummingbird

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

Lucifer Hummingbirds, or Lucifer sheartails as they were formerly known, are tiny hummingbirds with vivid, iridescent purple throats in the males, long and curved bills, and deeply forked narrow tails.

Male Lucifer Hummingbirds also have iridescent green crowns, backs, and wings. They have a white streak behind the eye. They have dingy and whitish bellies. Their forked tails are dark and long, extending beyond the wings when perched.

Female Lucifer Hummingbirds are larger with the same iridescent green on their upperparts. Their underparts are white with cinnamon wash on the breast, throat, and flanks and a cinnamon patch on the upper tail feathers. Females have shorter tails compared to males.   

  • Calothorax lucifer
  • Length: 3.9 in (10cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 oz (3 – 4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4 in (10 cm)


Lucifer hummingbirds breed in northern and central Mexico and a few small areas of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas between March and September. Then, they migrate to central Mexico for winter.

Habitat And Diet

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

They also eat spiders and insects which they feed to their young.

Lucifer Hummingbird Call:


Nests of Lucifer Hummingbirds are usually built on cholla, ocotillo, or lechuguilla plants that are on steep, dry, or rocky slopes. Normally, they build the nests on the horizontal branch of a cholla or they may use the dead fruiting stalks of the lechuguilla.

The female builds the nest out of plant fibers, dried grass, and twigs. She also uses lichens and small leaves to strengthen the nest. She will lay two eggs and have one to two broods. The incubation period for the eggs is up to fifteen days which she does on her own.

Fun Facts:

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

When Lucifer Hummingbirds feast on nectar from the agave plant, they don’t do any pollination in return since they are too small to pick up pollen from it.