Hummingbirds In New Hampshire: The Few Species That Live Here

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Situated in the New England region of the United States, New Hampshire is the 5th smallest state by area. It is made up of heavily forested and mountainous terrain, with its growing tourism sector focused on outdoor recreation.

More than four-fifths of this state is under cover of forests teeming with wildlife. There are plenty of sights for the animal lover, from numerous white-tailed deer and moose to beavers, black bears, mink, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and foxes.

Among this wildlife is 420 different species of birds making New Hampshire a bird lover’s paradise.

Hummingbirds You Can Find in New Hampshire

There are only three kinds of hummingbirds on record in New Hampshire; one is native to the state, and the other two are rare visitors.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 2.8 – 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.1 – 0.2 ounces
  • Wingspan: 3.1 – 4.3 inches

Description:

The male Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s most notable feature is his ruby-red throat patch. He has a metallic green back and a white belly. His chin is grey, his sides are green, and he has a slightly forked tail which is a dark color.

The female adult Ruby-throated Hummingbird is typically larger than the male and has a longer bill. She has a metallic green back with brownish sides and has a white throat and chest with a rounded tail.

Additional Information:

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a native of New Hampshire, typically arriving at the beginning of May and departing towards the end of September.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only native breeding hummingbird in the whole of the eastern United States. They are also the species that occupy the most extensive breeding range of any other North American Hummingbird.

This hummingbird species is a migratory bird accomplishing a flying feat every year when they fly straight for around 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico. To achieve this, the Ruby-throated hummingbird will double its fat mass preparing for this crossing.

Both the adult males and females show aggression towards other hummingbirds and defend their territories, chasing away unwanted guests.

Rufous Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Length: 2.8 – 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.07 – 0.18 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.0 – 4.5 inches

Description:

The adult male Rufous Hummingbird’s primary identifier is his iridescent red-orange throat patch. He has a reddish-brown back, face, and sides; a black-tipped tail; and a creamy white abdomen, chest, and throat. Some males might have some green coloration on their crown or back.

The female hummingbird of this species has a bronzy-green back and crown, with iridescent orange streaks on her throat. She has a whitish chest, reddish-brown sides, and white tips on her dark tail.

Additional Information:

The Rufous Hummingbird is a rare migrant to New Hampshire, even though it is one of North America’s most widespread hummingbirds.

Traveling around 2,000 miles on its migratory route, the Rufous Hummingbird completes one of the longest migratory journeys of any other bird on earth. This hummingbird crosses mountain ranges as high as 12,600 feet in elevation during its journey.

Records show that the Rufous Hummingbird has one of the most northern breeding ranges of any other hummingbird in the world, breeding as far north as southeastern Alaska.

The Rufous Hummingbird can get very territorial, attacking other hummingbirds and even larger bird species. Records show they are even willing to chase chipmunks out of their nests.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 2.8 – 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.07 – 0.11 ounces
  • Wingspan: 4.1 – 4.3 inches

Description:

The adult male and female Calliope Hummingbird have glossy green-backs and creamy white bellies. The adult male has iridescent wine-red or purple-streaked throat feathers that are elongated, with a whiskered effect when erect. He also has green flanks and a dark tail.

The adult females of this hummingbird species have dull whitish throats that have dark streaks. Their flanks are pinkish-white, and they have dark, white-tipped tails. Their abdomens and chests are cinnamon-buff colored.

Additional Information:

This beautiful bird is another rare vagrant hummingbird to New Hampshire, with only one or two sightings on record. These hummingbirds’ usual breeding range is from British Columbia to California, heading to Mexico, Central America, and the Southwestern United States for the winter.

The Calliope Hummingbird is the world’s smallest long-distance migrant, traveling around 5,000 miles every year from where they spend the winter to their breeding grounds. In the spring, they take the Pacific Coast route to breed and return via an inland route through the Rocky Mountains.

The Calliope Hummingbird is the United States and Canada’s smallest breeding bird. Even though these birds are tiny, they are a highly territorial, sometimes aggressive species,  and can chase birds as big as Red-tailed Hawks during their breeding season.

Calliope Hummingbirds feed on nectar from brightly colored flowers or a hummingbird feeder; they will also drink sap from the holes made by sapsuckers, and they will eat spiders and insects for protein.

Conclusion

New Hampshire has an abundance of wildlife that you can view while in the state. Of the birdlife you can see in New Hampshire, hummingbirds aren’t a wide variety: only three species, with only one hummingbird species being a native breeder, and the other two rare visitors.

There are still many other birds to be seen while wandering in the outdoors of New Hampshire. Take a look at this list to read about 25 different species of birds that you should look out for while visiting this state.

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