Few birds have
been as little studied and as misunderstood as Hummingbirds.
They are the smallest
of all birds with a length ranging
from 2" to 8". Males of most species are identified by their iridescent
feathers. Females and immatures of both sexes are normally plain and nondescript
the immatures of both sexes resembling the adult females.
Hummingbirds are strictly a bird
of the Western Hemisphere. They are found as far north
as Southeastern Alaska and the
Maritimes of Canada and as far south as Southern Chile. The
majority of the approximately 320 species are found in the
Only 15 species have been known to breed in North America
with another 6 being classified as vagrants. Until recently,
for instance, it was thought that Ruby-throated hummingbirds
were essentially the only species of hummingbird found east
of the Mississippi River.
Through winter banding activities in
Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia,
Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, and the District of Columbia, HBSG has documented fourteen
species; Ruby-throated, Rufous, Black-chinned, Allen's,
Anna's, Calliope, Buff-bellied,
Broad-tailed, Costa's, White-eared,
Green Violet-ear, Magnificent, Green-breasted Mango and Broad-billed.
the search for new species will continue!
Immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
(Photo © HBSG, Inc.)
Through our banding
research and countless hours of observation we have developed
the following species accounts and identification