Hummingbirds in Delaware: 5 Species To Get A Glimpse Of

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Delaware, the first state, is 2,489 square feet, including the bodies of water, and is well known for being the home of the Bellevue State Park and the Delaware Art Museum. The state is also home to about 420 different species of wild birds, including several hawks and hummingbirds.

Some of the hummingbird species on this list are considered rare in Delaware, but there is always the possibility of seeing them during their migratory season.   

If you stay in Delaware and have a passion for hummingbirds, this list is perfect for you! Keep reading to find out which hummingbird you might see in your state.

List Of Hummingbirds In Delaware

There are five different wild hummingbird species that you can find in Delaware; one is a regular to the state, while the other species are a rarer sight.

 Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus Rufus
  • Length: 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.071 – 0.176 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

Description:

Rufous hummingbirds are some of the prettiest hummingbird species you can find in Delaware, as both the males and the females have bright-colored feathers.

Male rufous hummingbirds have white feathered chests with reddish-brown, or rufous, faces. The male’s tail and flanks are iridescent reddish-orange, and this color is carried through to his throat gorget. The males will also have a bit of green on their crowns and backs.

The biggest difference between female rufous hummingbirds and the males is that the females have green, white, and some iridescent orange feathers in the middle of their throats. The females also have a darker, rufous-colored tail garnished with white tips.

Additional Information:

Rufous hummingbirds are known for their distance flying skills, as they fly around 2,000 miles in their yearly migrations.

Rufous hummingbirds will not lay their eggs in Delaware, as they prefer to lay their eggs in a shallow nest located on high mountainsides or in forests with tall trees available to them.

The Rufous Hummingbird migrates through lower-lying lands like Delaware between May and September to take advantage of the beautiful native flowers that grow during the summer.

Mature male Rufous Hummingbirds tend to migrate before the females and young Hummingbirds, so keep an eye out for them first!

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 2.8 – 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.071 – 0.212 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.1 – 4.3 inches

Description:

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird has a metallic green color on its back and grayish-white colored feathers on its belly, boasting wings near-black in color. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s bill is thin, long, and straight, growing to about 0.79 inches in length. 

Red-throated Hummingbirds are sexually dimorphic, meaning each sex of this hummingbird species exhibits different characteristics. The adult male has a ruby-red gorget bordered with a thin black line on top. They have a black forked tail with a faint violet sheen when it catches the sun.

The females of this medium-sized hummingbird species have a notched tail, with the outer feathers banded in black, green, and white. They also have a white throat which can have light markings with dusty stipples or streaks.

Additional Information:

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most common hummingbird in Delaware, but you will not see these common birds year-round as they migrate to different states for the winter.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds generally migrate to Canada, Central America, Mexico, Florida, and a few other states where they can reliably find nectar after the warm summer months have passed.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird breeds in the most extensive range compared to other usual hummingbirds in America. Rather than forming pairs, the breeding bird will seek out a partner, and the males will immediately depart, leaving the females to parent the juveniles. 

Ruby-Throats also enjoy eating the nectar from plants, trees, and flowers, but they will eat small spiders and insects. These tiny creatures can be a valuable food source for hummingbirds, offering proteins, minerals, and vitamins the adult hummingbird needs.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
  • Length: 3 — 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.071 – 0.176 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

Description:

Allen’s Hummingbirds are popular birds, largely due to their wide array of colors. 

The males have green feathers on their foreheads and backs and rufous-colored (rust-colored) rumps, flanks, and tails. Males also have iridescent reddish-orange throats.

The females are similar in color to immature Allen’s Hummingbirds. However, the females lack the iridescent patch on the throat, and instead, they have a series of green speckles on their throats.

The females of the species are primarily green, and they have some features in a rufous color on their tails, with white tips.

Additional Information:

While they breed and spend most of their time in the Western United States, Allen’s Hummingbirds migrate for the winter. These agile birds are similar in appearance to Rufous hummingbirds, which can often confuse unknowing birdwatchers. 

The most notable difference between Allen’s and Rufous hummingbirds is the notch in the second rectrix of the Allen’s Hummingbird. 

Additionally, Allen’s Hummingbirds have bred with Anna’s Hummingbirds to create a hybrid known as the Floresi’s Hummingbird, which is equally gorgeous. 

Allen’s Hummingbirds prefer to stay in habitats such as gardens, bushy woods, and meadows. In addition to their usual food source of nectar from plants, some tree species, tubular flowers, and other native nectar-filled flowers, Allen’s hummingbird is a common guest among hummingbird feeders and will eat homemade nectar as well as small spiders and insects.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 2.8 – 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.071 – 0.106 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

Description:

Calliope Hummingbirds have bright, glossy green feathers on their backs and crowns that stand out sharply against their stark white bellies. 

Males have lovely, deep wine-red colored streaks on their gorget, accentuated by bright green flanks and a dark tail. 

Females have much the same coloring as the juveniles, boasting a lovely pinkish color on their flanks, with a few dark streaks on their throats and delicate white-tipped tails.

Additional Information:

Calliope Hummingbirds are the smallest native bird in the United States and Canada. This tiny hummingbird species will migrate from their summer breeding grounds to other states such as Delaware during the winter.

When these beautiful birds are in Delaware, they stay in lowland, bushy areas that can hide them well from larger birds and predators. 

While in the area, they will enjoy feeding on nectar feeders or another reliable nectar source such as flowers, or on small insects and spiders.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus platycercus
  • Length: 4 inches
  • Weight: 0.13 ounces
  • Wingspan: 5.25 inches

Description:

Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds are sexually dimorphic, though the males and females are highly similar. The most distinguishing feature between the two is that females are larger than males

Both sexes have iridescent green backs, white eye-rings, and rounded black tails projecting beyond the tips of their wing, hence their name. 

Other notable differences include males’ rose-red gorgets and females’ paler colors, cinnamon flanks, and speckled chests.

Additional Information:

This medium-sized hummingbird can generally be spotted in Delaware during its migration and is often found in habitats resembling environments beneath tree canopies of oak and pine woodlands. 

Broad-Tails forage for food in open grasslands among shrubs and tree trunks and in flowers. They breed in subalpine foothills, meadows, montane valleys, and stands of spruce or aspen.

These birds are partial migrators, depending on the northern range of the cold weather during the winter. Males tend to return to their breeding grounds first in the spring, with females following slowly behind.

Conclusion

Delaware isn’t known for its variety of hummingbird species, with Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds being the most commonly found and the rest considered rare sights.

Typically, these rarer hummers are spotted during their migrations, but it’s certainly worth the effort to try and see them. If you equip your yard with a quality hummingbird feeder or plant some native nectar-filled flowers, you might be able to lure some of these magnificent birds to your home. 

And of course, hummers aren’t the only birds in Delaware. If you’re curious as to what others you might be able to find, check out this list.

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