The Mississippi River borders Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the north, Texas to the west, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.
Louisiana formed from the Mississippi River’s sediment, leaving vast swamp and coastal marsh areas and enormous deltas. Louisiana contains a rich southern biota.
Louisiana has a subtropical climate, humid, hot summers tempered by frequent thundershowers in the afternoons, alternate with their mild winters. Average temperatures range from 64 °F to 71°F at the Mississippi River mouth. July has the highest monthly average at 82°F, and January has the lowest at 50°F.
Approximately 244 bird species are known to regularly winter or migrate to Louisiana, and another 160 bird species are year-round residents in the state. The majority of the species are either songbirds or shorebirds.
Hummingbirds You Can Find In Louisiana
Louisiana has twelve hummingbird species recorded in the state. Three are regular seasonal visitors, five are accidental vagrants, and three are rare visitors.
- Scientific Name: Archilochus colubris
- Length: 8 – 3.5 inches
- Weight: 0.212 — 0.71 ounces
- Wingspan: 1 – 4.3 inches
Overall the Ruby-throated Hummingbird has a metallic green back and grayish-white on its underbellies. Their wings are almost black. They have slender straight, long bills which they use to extract nectar from tubular flowers.
The males have a ruby-red throat patch, which gives the species its name. On the other hand, females have speckled throats that can either be plain or lightly marked with stipples or dusty streaks.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a typical visitor to Louisiana in the summer, arriving in mid-April and leaving around mid-October.
These migratory hummingbirds accomplish the feat of making a non-stop migratory journey of 500 miles to their wintering grounds in Central America, Florida, and Mexico and usually return there around July.
- Scientific Name: Selasphorus Rufus
- Length: 1 inch
- Weight: 0.176 — 0.71 ounces
- Wingspan: 3 inches
Males have a reddish (rufous) face, tail, and flanks, a white breast, and a beautiful reddish-orange iridescent throat gorget, with green feathers on their backs.
The feathers in the center of the females’ throats are white, orange, and green, and they have rufous, white-tipped tail feathers. The biggest difference between males and females is that the males are somewhat smaller.
Another seasonal visitor to Louisiana, Rufous Hummingbirds are known to be fearless, aggressive birds, often chasing other hummingbirds, larger birds, or rodents away from their favorite flowers and nectar feeders.
This vocal hummingbird species has exceptional flying skills, flying around 2,000 miles during their migrations through the Rocky Mountain forests during May – September to take advantage of wildflower season. They like to winter in the Mexican state of Guerrero.
- Scientific Name: Amazilia yucatanensis
- Length: 4.3 – 9 inches
- Weight: 0.18 – 14 ounces
- Wingspan: 6 inches
Adult Buff-bellied hummers sport a metallic olive green upper plumage. Their lower chests range in color from green, grey, yellowish-brown to whitish. Primarily they have a rufous tail and wing feathers with a white underwing.
The male has a flashy throat patch of metallic golden green and a slender, straight red bill, black at the tip. The upper beaks on the female are dark and overall less colorful than the male.
An accidental visitor to Louisiana, some Buff-bellied Hummingbirds will spend their winters in Louisiana.
Its preferred habitats include suburban gardens, river corridors, pine-oak forests, mesquite bushlands, and semi-arid scrub. They feed on nectar for energy from native nectar-filled flowers and eat the occasional spider and insect.
- Scientific Name: Archilochus alexandri
- Length: 2.5 inches
- Weight: 0.2 — 1 ounce
- Wingspan: 3 inches
The adult male and female Black-chinned Hummingbirds are similar in coloration, with metallic green plumage above and pale feathers below. They have a straight, long, slender bill and are relatively small in size.
Males have black faces and chins, a dark forked tail, and a glossy purple gorget with a band around their throats; they are the only hummingbirds to sport this coloration. Females have dark rounded tails with white tips, and they do not have a throat patch.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird is an accidental visitor to Louisiana, making its appearance during the winter months. These hummingbirds occupy an extensive range of habitats and are found from Canada, in British Columbia and Alberta, as far south as Mexico and east to Oklahoma.
They feed on nectar from plants, hovering next to flowers to use their long extendable tongues, and happily eat insects while flying. They also assist in native plant pollination while they are collecting nectar, traveling from flower to flower.
- Scientific Name: Selasphorus platycercus
- Length: 4 inches
- Weight: 13 ounces
- Wingspan: 5.25 inches
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird has a long body and a rounded black tail that projects beyond their wingtips; this tail is the inspiration for their name. Both male and female adults have iridescent green backs and a white eye ring.
The males of this medium-sized hummingbird species have a white breast, a bright rose-red throat, and buffy green flanks. The female broad-tailed hummingbird is paler in comparison, with spotted cheeks and cinnamon flanks.
This beautiful hummingbird is an accidental vagrant in Louisiana, seen during the winter months. They will fly through highland meadows to lowlands in the winter, making sure they move in areas abundant with flowers.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed at elevations up to 10,500 feet. To make it through the cold nights at such altitude, the breeding bird will drop their body temperature and slow their heart rate, entering a state of torpor.
- Scientific Name: Calypte anna
- Length: 4.3 — 9 inches
- Weight: 0.2 — 1 ounce
- Wingspan: 7 inches
Males are the only North American hummingbirds with a red crown, accompanied by a reddish-pink throat, green backside, and an underside of a primarily grey color.
Females have a dull green crown, a grey belly and chest, a grey throat specked with some red, and a rounded tail with the outer tail feathers having white tips. They are also much more petite than the male.
Anna’s Hummingbirds are accidental visitors to Louisiana. They used to be California natives but have managed to spread eastward and northward due to their adaptability, chasing after the perfect nectar from exotic flowers.
Anna’s Hummingbirds are one of the larger hummingbird species in the United States, and they are also the most vocal. They are also highly territorial, with the males making elaborate dives at other species of birds and sometimes passing humans.
- Scientific Name: Cynanthus latirostris
- Length: 1 – 3.9 inches
- Weight: 0.14 — 1 ounce
- Wingspan: 1 inch
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females have distinct differences. The adults’ similarities include metallic green backs and a dull coloring on their foreheads and grey crown, long bright reddish-colored bills with black tips, although the males’ beaks are brighter and shorter than the females’.
Males have a blue throat patch and white under-tail coverts. They have a broad blue-tinted tail and flight feathers that are brownish-grey. Females have brownish-grey feathers, pales bellies, and white eye-stripes behind her eyes, with white-tipped tail feathers.
A few accidental vagrants will arrive in Louisiana, and seeing one of these in your backyard hummingbird garden or bird bath is a rare treat. Sometimes a few vagrants will travel north into Wisconsin, Idaho, Illinois, and even as far as Canada.
They feed primarily on nectar from scented, brightly colored small flowers of herbs, trees, epiphytes, and shrubs. They seek flowers with the highest sugar water content, mainly tubular-shaped, red-colored flowers, protecting them aggressively.
- Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
- Length: 3.9 — 8 inches
- Weight: 0.106 — 0.71ounces
- Wingspan: 3 inches
Adult Calliope Hummingbirds have glossy green backs and crowns and creamy white underparts, with relatively short tails and beaks. On average, females are typically larger than males.
Adult males’ throat feathers are white with magenta streaks, and they have dark tails and green flanks. Females and immature hummingbirds have white throats with dark lines, a pinkish wash on their sides, and white tips on their dark tails.
Spotted in late early spring, late fall, and winter, these colorful birds are accidental vagrants to Louisiana.
It is the smallest bird in North America, and when it comes to long-distance travel, it is the smallest migrant bird in the world. It will travel over 5000 miles during its migratory flight, from Canada and the western United States’ high elevations during the breeding months, down to southern Mexico in the winter.
- Scientific Name: Eugenes fulgens
- Length: 3 – 5.5 inches
- Weight: 0.3 — 2 ounces
- Wingspan: 1 inch
The adult male has a green-bronze chest and metallic green throat, with a greyish underbelly. His crown and forehead are purple with a white spot behind the eye, and his back is dark green/bronze, becoming bronzer on his black-tipped tail.
The female is duller overall, with a pale grey belly, a bronze-green back, and a rounded tail with white-greyish tips. She has a white stripe behind her eyes like the male and faint streaking on her grey throat.
Rivoli’s Hummingbird is an accidental vagrant to Louisiana. In the United States, their highest concentrations are in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. It is one of the two largest hummingbirds north of Mexico.
Rivoli’s Hummingbird had a few name changes, changing from “Rivoli’s” to “Magnificent” in the 1980s and then changing back to “Rivoli’s” in 2017 when the species split in two, with the other species being “Talamanca or Admirable Hummingbird.”
Blue-Throated Mountain-Gem Hummingbird
- Scientific Name: Lampornis clemenciae
- Length: 4.9 — 5 inches
- Weight: 0.35 — 2 ounces
- Wingspan: Males: 1 inch; Females: 2.3 inches
Male and female Blue-throated Mountain-gem Hummingbirds look similar. They share specific characteristics such as dull green backs, white stripes behind their eyes, a narrow line extending back from the corner of their relatively short bills, and a blackish cheek patch.
They have broad, white tails with iridescent bluish-black tail feathers and white tips on their innermost tail feathers. The male Blue-throated Hummingbirds throat patch is an iridescent blue, but the female’s throat is grey.
This hummingbird is a rare visitor to Louisiana. Its usual habitat is in Mexico, but it will visit gardens and flower banks in southwestern Texas and southwestern Arizona.
You might not see these hummingbirds often, but listen out for their song. Males will sing a variable and complex song to protect their territory, warn off other males, and attract a female. Females use vocalizations during their courtship with males.
- Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
- Length: 3 – 3.5 inches
- Weight: 1 ounce
- Wingspan: 3 inches
The adult male has a green forehead and back, with a rust-colored rump, flanks, and tail; the male sports an iridescent red-orange throat.
The adult females and the juveniles are similar in coloration, but they do not have the red-orange throat patch. Adult females are mostly green, with rufous coloring on their tails, which also have white tips.
Allen Hummingbirds are rare vagrants to Louisiana, summering along the pacific coast of the United States from southern California to Oregon. They like to winter in Mexico.
During their breeding season, male and female Allen Hummingbirds will use different habitats.
Males will set up territories overseeing open areas of chaparral or coastal scrub, often perching on exposed or conspicuous branches. The females will visit these areas to mate and then head into forests or thickets to build their nests.
Green-Violet Ear Hummingbirds
- Scientific Name: Colibri thalassinus
- Length: 2.5 – 4.5 inches
- Weight: 0.13 ounces
- Wingspan: 2.7 inches
The adult Green-Violet Ear hummingbird has a shining green back, with a glittering violet ear-patch on the sides of its neck, hence its name. It has a green belly, a glittering green chest, and a metallic blue-green tail, with the central feathers being slightly bronzer.
The tail is slightly notched and square, with a thick dark blue band at the end. Females have somewhat duller plumage, smaller in size, and have a narrower violet chin band.
They are rare, accidental vagrants to Louisiana as they wander north to the United States, sometimes even as far north as Canada.
The Green-Violet Ear is also known as the Mexican Violetear. Green-Violet Ears prefer habitats of borders and canopies of lower and subtropical forests, secondary scrub and woodlands, and gardens and clearings in the subtropical zone.
Although you might not be lucky enough to see all 12 of Louisiana’s hummingbird visitors, you should be able to spot some of the more common hummingbirds on this list!
If you want more information about other kinds of birds you can see in Louisiana, you should check out this list to see what else is out there.