Idaho’s ecology undoubtedly contributes to its bird diversity. The state’s mountains, forests, and deserts offer unique environments for birds, and if you look close enough, you can find 432 types of them hopping around your very backyard!
Arguably, the most interesting of them all is the hummingbird population. There are five types of hummingbirds you can find in Idaho, each with a unique appearance, migration pattern, and behavioral characteristics!
This article will give you a full list and identification guide to the hummingbirds of Idaho. Let’s get started…
- Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
- Length: 1 inch
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Wingspan: 4 inches
The male Rufous Hummingbird has bright copper-orange on its back and sides of its belly, though some males have a green back. He also has a beautiful reddish-orange iridescent throat and a white breast.
Female Rufous Hummingbirds have green crowns, necks, and backs, as well as copper-colored sides. Like their male counterparts, they have a white chest and belly, with some spots of orange or red on their throats.
Rufous Hummingbirds are infamous for being the most aggressive hummingbird in Idaho. If one of these aggressive feathered creatures finds your hummingbird feeders or garden, be cautious since they will attack and chase away other hummingbirds.
The migratory pattern of Rufous Hummingbirds is fascinating. In the spring, they migrate north up the Pacific Coast to their summer mating habitats and fly an entirely different path via the Rocky Mountains to return to their southern winter quarters!
There are many ways to attract these beautiful winged creatures to your yard including placing nectar feeders, filling them with sugar water, or planting bright-colored flowers.
These birds are especially drawn to long or tubular flowers.
- Scientific Name: Archilochus alexandri
- Length: 25 inches
- Weight: 10 ounces
- Wingspan: 9 inches
The male Black-chinned Hummingbird is a medium-sized bird with a metallic green body and a white breast. He sports greenish flanks, and his head appears black but is dark green and vibrant violet.
The female Black-chinned Hummingbird has a greenish-grey cap on her head and a green back. Her distinguishing features are the white spots behind her eyes and the dark-spotted grey throat.
This species of hummingbird is a breathtakingly beautiful purple color; catching a glimpse of one of these birds is certainly an experience to remember!
During the summer, these hummingbirds breed in Idaho. They then move to the west coastlines of Mexico in the winter, making them the most versatile of all hummingbird species.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird can live in a variety of settings. Mountain meadows, canyons with thickets, orchards, urban areas, and newly disturbed landscapes are all good places to look for them.
If there are any Black-chinned Hummingbirds in the area, you will likely hear them flying. This is due to their wings emitting a characteristic buzz resembling a bee.
- Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
- Length: 3 inches
- Weight: 09 ounces
- Wingspan: 3 inches
Male Calliope Hummingbirds have long, magenta throat feathers that are in a banded pattern along the neck. Their head and flanks are metallic green, and their breast is white.
Female Calliope Hummingbirds have dark spots on their white throats, and their heads and backs are covered in a metallic green color. Like males, they have white, buffy breasts.
The Calliope Hummingbird is Idaho’s tiniest bird! It’s under four inches long and weighs between two and three grams, almost the same as a ping-pong ball!
This hummingbird species has a long migratory journey, especially considering its small size. The Calliope spends Winters in Mexico, however, they make the long journey up the Pacific coast to their summer mating habitats each spring.
Male Calliope Hummingbirds are famed for their spectacular U-shaped dives that they utilize to lure females. They will soar up to 100 feet in the air throughout their mating shows, drop until they are practically touching the ground, and then rise back up to resume the procedure.
- Scientific Name: Selasphorus platycercus
- Length: 3 inches
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Wingspan: 5.25 inches
The male Broad-tailed Hummingbird has a white breast, buffy flanks, and an iridescent red throat. His other defining features include a green head, back, and tail feathers.
The female Broad-tailed Hummingbird is significantly larger than the male and has a lightly spotted throat. She has a white breast, brown belly, and green head and back.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds like open forests and highland meadows. They usually breed between the heights of 5,000 and 10,000 feet and only reside in Idaho from late May to early August.
To attract females, males perform stunning aerial displays. He begins by rising high into the sky, then flies towards the ground, landing just in front of the bird he is attempting to attract.
- Scientific Name: Calypte anna
- Length: 4 inches
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Wingspan: 7 inches
The male Anna’s Hummingbird has an iridescent pinkish-red head, while its underparts are greyish green in color. His tail and back are dark green, and he sports a flashy white eye-ring.
Female Anna’s Hummingbirds are generally a duller color than the males. They have a green cap and body, a white-tipped tail, and a metallic red or purple patch on their throat.
These tiny jewel-encrusted birds are approximately the size of a ping pong ball and weigh roughly the same as a nickel.
They are tiny but beautiful birds, and although they are not native to Idaho, they have recently been spotted around Boise, where they spend winter.
Listen for a lengthy song that lasts 10 seconds or longer to locate these hummingbirds. It begins with a succession of buzzes, followed by a pleasant-sounding whistle, and ends with some chip notes.
It’s difficult to believe that these noises are coming from a cute tiny hummingbird!
Hummingbirds are one of Idaho’s most popular species, and they have long piqued people’s interest and attention.
The most common types of hummingbirds that can be found in Idaho are all relatively small; however, what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty and elegance!
Now you know which hummingbirds to look out for, why not have a look at other species of birds that can be found in Idaho. You may have even seen a few of these easy-to-spot birds fluttering around your garden.