Hummingbirds in Utah: 10 Beautiful Tiny Bird Species To Look For

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Utah is one of the leading birding meccas in America. The Beehive State boasts more than 460 bird species out of the estimated 1125 species found across the United States. While the American Robin is the most common bird in Utah, you’ll be just as likely to spot a Black-Chinned Hummingbird.

There are five common species of hummingbirds in Utah. Sightings of the usual hummingbirds include the Black-chinned, Costa’s, Calliope, Rufous, and Broad-tailed hummingbirds. There have been reported sightings of an additional five hummingbird species, but they do not frequent the area.

Apart from hosting a variety of avian wildlife, the state of Utah is packed with soul-soothing journeys, exhilarating sports, and fun festivals. Take a trip to any of the five national parks or risk life and limb on a thrilling bike ride on the famous Slickrock Trail. But, let’s get to why you are really here, the hummingbird breeds of Utah.

The Five Hummingbirds Of Utah

An interesting fact about these beautiful birds is that they consume around half their body weight in nectar and small insects every day.  So, get a snack and your birding diary ready, clean the binocular lenses, and let’s find the five forever-hungry hummingbirds across this gorgeous mountainous state of Utah.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Length: 3.5 inches (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounces (2.3-4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

The top part of the male’s body is emerald green (can also be dull green) with a black gorget (throat feathers), white breast, and a splash of purple at the base of his neck. The female is pale to golden green with a white-tipped green or black tail.

Find this medium-sized hummingbird in open woodlands across Utah during the breeding season, between April and August; however, they have gone south by September. Look for nests in urban areas near a stocked hummingbird feeder full of sugar water or tree branches in the forests near a blooming Desert Holly.

Considered the chihuahua of hummingbirds, these aggressive hummingbirds are very territorial. When looking for a mate, the male bird becomes a bit of a daredevil, diving from 66 to 100 feet in acrobatic moves.

The Black-chinned hummingbird is not on any conservation watchlist and will be your easiest find as they are common throughout the state.

Costa’s Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Calypte costae
  • Length: 3–3.5 inches (7.6–8.9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 ounce (2-3 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

Both males and females have dull greenish bodies, and the female’s underparts are primarily white. They also have green tail feathers with white tips. Males have a shimmery purple (violet) head and gorget that extends outward to their chest on both sides of their throat.

You’ll find this desert hummingbird in dry habitats, most commonly located across the north-eastern side of the Mohave Desert. They leave the area by May, and the best time to spot them is during March and April.

When trying to impress a female, males like to add some flare to their dives, forming U shapes upon descent and ascent – all the while whistling like the motion isn’t terrifying at all.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbirds

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 3.1-3.5 inches (8-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 ounce (2.3-3.4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.1-4.3 inches (10.5-11 cm)

Males have a magenta ray-like gorget with a shimmering blue-green head and back feathers and a white chest and belly. Females have a peach-colored underpart and a shimmery green/bronze back. 

Find them in open woodlands in the northern parts of Utah during the late summer months. These hummingbirds usually arrive in Utah between August and September. Look for them in pine-oak forests if you want to follow them to Mexico during their winter migration season.

The Calliope hummingbird is the smallest migratory bird in the world. The males’ unique gorget sets them apart from other hummingbirds – gorgets are usually a solid patch or line of coloring below the chin.

While they are not under watch, the Calliope (the smallest breeding bird in the United States) might be the hardest of the five common hummers to spot in Utah; they are not as regular as the Black-chinned hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Length: 2.8-3.5 inches (7-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounces (2-5 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

The male has a gorgeous rusty rufous (cinnamon-colored) body with a white patch below his iridescent orange gorget. Females have cinnamon tones at their flanks, a white underside, and a green/rufous spotted back.

Find them in open woodlands during the summer; your birding window for the Rufous starts to close in June as they begin to migrate south. They also travel further than most hummingbirds; their migration pattern takes them as far as Alaska.

The Rufous Hummingbird is on watch as their numbers are declining by 2% per annum. This small bird with a big personality is frequently seen picking fights with the larger species of hummingbirds and other even larger birds (hopefully, this is not why their numbers are diminishing by the year).

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus platycercus
  • Length: 3.1-3.5 inches (8-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounces (2.8-4.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.25 inches (13.3 cm)

Males have shimmering magenta-colored gorgets on their speckled throat above a white upper breast, and their backs are covered in green/blueish spots, with brownish tails and wing feathers. The female Broad-tailed hummingbird has a gleaming green metallic back, brownish wings, and a white underside with pale peach tones.

You can find them in open woodlands as early as April – males arrive a little later when the female has nearly finished the nest. Popular nesting spots are in the Bryce Canyon National Park or Boulder Mountain in Utah.

Broad-tailed females are strong and very independent, from DIY nest building that can shield against cold temperatures to raising the hatchlings on their own.

Males make up for their lack of domestic care with fantastic wing-trilling capabilities and soaring acrobatics. Even so, they are a mild-mannered hummingbird easily bullied by other aggressive birds.

The Five Unexpected Hummingbirds In Utah

We hope you succeeded in spotting all the local hummingbirds in the state – even the more elusive Calliope. Now, on to the less frequent flyers. You can consider yourself the “Hummingbird Lottery of Utah” winner if you spot one of these popular birds on our rare list below.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Calypte anna
  • Length: 3.9 inches (10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounces (3-6 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.7 inches (12 cm)

Males are a conspicuous bunch with vibrant blue-green backs, splashes of rose-red, feathers around their heads, and an iridescent pinkish/orange gorget. The female hummingbird has a metallic green back and a light brown/greyish chest and belly.

While sporadic sightings have been recorded of Anna’s hummingbird in Utah, they have been spotted in only two BCRs in Nevada. You’ll most likely spot one in open woodlands, urban jungles, or in the sleepy suburbs.

They are the largest hummingbirds fluttering over the West coast and are native to the Golden State and a year-round Californian resident, especially in northern Baja.

Contrary to the belief that females (of all species – including humans) are the vocal sex, the males in this species like to announce their presence to all who’ll listen.  

Blue-Throated Hummingbird

Blue-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Lampornis clemenciae
  • Length: 4.3-4.7 inches (11-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 ounces (8.1-8.6 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.25 inches (13.3 cm)

The males have a stunning blue gorget – as their name suggests – a white streak running behind his eyes and a grey/brownish body. Females also have a brown/greyish body but tinged with green along their flanks.

The Blue-Throated Hummingbird is commonly found in California along with Anna’s hummingbird. This hummer is not a common sight in Utah, but you can watch for them in open woodlands.

Also referred to as the Blue-throated Mountain-gem, this hummingbird is another large species found in the US. Females and males sometimes perform duets for anyone who’ll listen.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 2.8-3.5 inches (7-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounces (2-6 g)
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 inches (8-11 cm)

Males have green crowns, black masks, and iridescent ruby throat feathers with a green/blue metallic back and white chest. Females have the same coloring on their backs, with white-tipped black tails.

Find this magnificent hummingbird in open woodland areas or close to bird feeders in the suburbs. If you are privileged enough to spot one, you’ll be amazed by their near drone-like flying ability. Zipping past, coming to complete stops, and hovering in every direction.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is generally found in the central and the eastern parts of the United States and southern Canada.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
  • Length: 3.5 inches (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 ounces (2-4 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)

Males have dark yellow/red throat feathers akin to a ray of sunshine; their bodies have the rufous coloring, spotted with green dots and white splotches under their gorget and narrower outer tail feathers. The female very closely resembles the Rufous hummingbird.

You can find this type of hummingbird in open woodland areas. They are not very common in urban settings because they prefer their coastline habitat. Their numbers are dwindling severely (dropping an average of 1.9% per annum) due to the constant development of their native territory.

As a tribute to the sun-colored feathers, they are commonly found across the Golden State and southern parts of Oregon. They are a species that is “on watch” by conservationists.

Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Broad-Billed Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Cynanthus latirostris
  • Length: 3.1–3.9 inches (8–10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 ounce (3-4 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.1 inches (13 cm)

Males have black-tipped red bills and iridescent blue/green bodies. The female would be dull compared to the male if it weren’t for her blue-washed tail; she has a black bill, a green spotted body, and a greyish underside.

While your chances of spotting one of these hummingbirds in Utah are pretty slim, you can still keep an eye open in woodland terrains or a garden full of colorful tubular flowers, their favorite source of nectar.

The Broad-billed hummingbird is commonly found in Arizona and Mexico. If you ever plan to travel to Arizona on a bird-watching excursion, be sure to look out for Rivoli’s Hummingbird as well.

Females are pretty self-sufficient and don’t need the male for more than mating. Male Broad-billed hummingbirds show off their gorgeous coloring by flying in wide arcs to attract a female.

Conclusion

While there is no assurance you’ll be able to experience all ten species on this list of hummingbirds spotted in the Beehive State, you still stand an excellent chance to see the regulars around the area. The best places are near bodies of water, in lower valleys, and in gardens.

Suppose you were fortunate enough to have seen the five most common hummingbirds during your trip to Utah. In that case, you can broaden your birding expedition and see if you can spot any of the eleven species of woodpeckers found in Utah.

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