Within the Trochilidae (Hummingbird Family), there are currently (as of 14 July 2021) 361 species and 113 genera recognized by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC), subject to change as new species are discovered or DNA work reveals new relationships among existing species. (NOTE: "Genera" is the plural of "genus"; the word "species" is both singular and plural.) Hummingbirds occur ONLY in the Western Hemisphere, with almost half the species (163) living in the "equatorial belt" between 10 degrees north and south of the equator.

Within the continental United States, there are 16 species of breeding hummingbirds, with another half-dozen or so Mexican or Caribbean species that have been spotted in the U.S. There are no hummingbirds in Hawaii, of course, but four--perhaps five--species have been reported from Alaska.

There are occasional reports of hummingbirds in Europe, but these would have to be cage birds that have escaped captivity; it is physically impossible for a hummingbird to make it across the Atlantic Ocean under its own power. It's likely many out-of-range sightings are actually Hummingbird Moths--diurnal insects that mimic hummingbird behavior so convincingly that many people think they are "baby hummingbirds." (Note that hummingbirds are fully grown when they leave the nest; in other words, baby hummingbirds can't fly.)

Photo © Bill Hilton Jr.

Adult male Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
panting in the heat of the Arizona desert.

Not all hummingbirds have the word "hummingbird" in their names; there are sabrewings, jacobins, woodnymphs, and many others with poetic or historical epithets. Some hummers are named for a dominant color, as in Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, or Green-breasted Mango. The Bee Hummingbird is the tiniest of all birds and among the smallest of warm-blooded vertebrates; an adult male weighs about 1.95g--less than the weight of two paper clips!--and its nest is only 3cm across. By comparison, a typical adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird weighs 3-5g and her nest is twice as broad as that of the Bee Hummingbird.

Listed below are all the hummingbirds that regularly appear in North America and/or Mexico; many of these also occur in parts of Central America and into South America either as breeding birds or migrants. (A few other hummingbird species may show up as rare vagrants.)

We have Hummingbird Checklists by Country for all countries and islands of the Western Hemisphere in which hummingbirds occur. Locations NOT listed do not have hummingbirds, even in migration. there are also lists Hummingbird Checklists by State (U.S.)

Hummingbirds listed below in RED breed in the continental U.S.; those in GREEN may appear in the U.S.--some only rarely--as non-breeding birds. Based on Johnsgard 1997, in part; taxonomy is after Clements 5th edition, updated 2004.

  • RED = 16 hummingbird species that breed in the continental United States
  • GREEN = 5 hummingbird species that have appeared in the continental United States but do not breed there
  • BLACK = 27 hummingbird species that may occur in Mexico but not in the continental United States

Click on the word "PHOTOS" below for illustrations of
selected hummingbird species.

(NOTE: If you have a clear photo of any of the species below and would like to submit it for posting on this Operation RubyThroat Web site, please send it via E-mail to PROJECTS with photographer's name, date & location of photo, and anecdotal info about the bird.)

  1. Long-tailed Hermit, Phaethornis superciliosis --Mexico, Central & South America
  2. Little Hermit, Phaethornis longuemareus --Mexico, Central & South America
  3. Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Campylopterus curvipennis --Mexico & Central America
  4. Violet Sabrewing, Campylopterus hemileucurus --Mexico & Central America--PHOTOS
  5. White-necked Jacobin, Florisuga mellivora --Mexico, Central & South America
  6. Green Violet-ear, Colibri thalassinus --Mexico, Central & South America--PHOTOS
  7. Green-breasted Mango, Anthracothorax prevostii --Mexico & Central America--PHOTOS
  8. Black-throated Mango, Anthracothorax nigricollis
  9. Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Abeillia abeillei --Mexico & Central America
  10. Rufous-crested Coquette, Lophornis delattrei --Mexico, Central & South America
  11. Black-crested Coquette, Lophornis helenae --Mexico & Central America
  12. Fork-Tailed Emerald, including Golden-crowned, Colzumel's, and Canivet's subspecies, Chlorostilbon canivetii --Mexico, Central & South America
  13. Cuban Emerald, Chlorostilbon ricordii --Cuba & Bahamas--PHOTOS
  14. Dusky Hummingbird, Cynanthus sordidus --Mexico
  15. Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris -U.S. (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) & Mexico--PHOTOS
  16. Crowned Woodnymph, Thalurania ridgwayi --Mexico, Central & South America--PHOTOS
  17. Xantus' Hummingbird, Hylocharis xantusii --Mexico--PHOTOS
  18. White-eared Hummingbird, Hylocharis lucotis --U.S. (Arizona), Mexico & Central America--PHOTOS
  19. Blue-throated Goldentail, Hylocharis eliciae --Mexico & Central America
  20. White-bellied Emerald, Amazilia candida --Mexico & Central America
  21. Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Amazilia cyanocephala --Mexico & Central America
  22. Berylline Hummingbird, Amazilia beryllina --U.S. (Arizona), Mexico & Central America
  23. Cinnamon Hummingbird, Amazilia rutila --Mexico & Central America
  24. Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Amazilia yucatanensis --U.S. (Texas), Mexico & Central America (Belize only)--PHOTOS
  25. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Amazilia tzacatl --Mexico, Central & South America
  26. Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Amazilia violiceps --U.S. (Arizona & New Mexico) & Mexico--PHOTOS
  27. Green-fronted Hummingbird, Amazilia viridifrons --Mexico
  28. Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Eupherusa eximia --Mexico & Central America
  29. Blue-throated Mountain-gem, Lampornis clemenciae --U.S. (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) & Mexico--PHOTOS
  30. Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, Lampornis amethystinus --Mexico & Central America
  31. Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Lamprolaima rhami --Mexico & Central America
  32. Magnificent (Rivoli's) Hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens --U.S. (Arizona & New Mexico) & Mexico--PHOTOS
  33. Plain-capped Starthroat, Heliomaster constantii --Mexico & Central America--PHOTOS
  34. Long-billed Starthroat, Heliomaster longirostris --Mexico, Central & South America
  35. Mexican Sheartail, Tilmatura eliza --Mexico
  36. Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, Tilmatura dupontii --Mexico & Central America
  37. Lucifer Hummingbird, Calothorax lucifer --U.S. (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico) & Mexico--PHOTOS
  38. Beautiful Hummingbird, Calothorax pulcher --Mexico
  39. Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris --Eastern U.S. & southern Canada, winters in Mexico & Central America--PHOTOS
  40. Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri --Western U.S. & Mexico--PHOTOS
  41. Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna (formerly Archilochus anna) --Western coastal U.S. & Mexico--PHOTOS
  42. Costa's Hummingbird, Calypte costae --Western coastal U.S. & Mexico--PHOTOS
  43. Bahama Woodstar, Calliphlox evelynae --Bahamas
  44. Calliope Hummingbird, Stellula calliope --Western U.S. & Canada; Mexico--PHOTOS
  45. Bumblebee Hummingbird, Selasphorus heliosa --Mexico & Central America
  46. Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Selasphorus platycercus --Western U.S., Mexico & Central America--PHOTOS
  47. Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus --Western U.S. & Canada; Mexico--PHOTOS
  48. Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin --Western coastal U.S. & Mexico--PHOTOS

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NOTE: Although Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the primary focus of "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project", we are also interested in other hummingbird species--especially vagrants that appear in winter (mid-October through mid-March) in the eastern U.S. If you know of a wintering hummingbird east of the Mississippi, please report it to RESEARCH at Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History. We will contact a local hummingbird bander about capturing the bird, identifying and banding it, and releasing it unharmed. (You can may also directly contact Other Hummingbird Banders.)

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Operation RubyThroat is a registered trademark of Bill Hilton Jr. and Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History in York, South Carolina USA, phone (803) 684-5852. Contents of the overall project and this website--including photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of the author. To obtain permission or for further assistance on accessing this website, contact Webmaster.