Hummingbirds in Minnesota  [the Complete List with Pictures]

hummingbird in Minnesota

Hummingbirds are some of the smallest birds in the world and are found only in the western hemisphere.

Although more than half of the 368 species of hummingbirds are found around the equatorial belt, few species are known to venture north into the United States and Canada.

Of these, 15 species of Hummingbird are commonly found in the USA, with an additional 9 vagrant species.

There are no resident hummingbird species in Minnesota, and only a single seasonal migratory species, however, 6 other vagrants have been reported to be seen at least once in the North American state.

Here’s a complete list of the possible hummingbirds that can be spotted in Minnesota, how to spot them, and a few interesting things you may want to know.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-Throated hummingbird is a small hummingbird and the only seasonal migratory species commonly found in the state of Minnesota.

These Hummingbirds are bright/ emerald green with a black head and gray-white underside.

Their name comes from the bright red throat that’s present only in mature males.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds appear less green, although the emerald colors are still present. Their crowns are also more brown-gray than black.

These birds are common in Minnesota during the summer months and begin arriving as soon as April.

Males often arrive up to 2 weeks before females and will begin their migration south between September and Mid-October.

To spot these small red-throated hummingbirds, keep a lookout in flowering gardens, woodland edges, grasslands, and in towns full of nectar feeders and parks.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds can be seen feeding on nectar from red and orange tubular flowers such as trumpet creepers and honeysuckle.

They are also known to eat insects and snatch spiders from their webs in order to obtain their required protein intake.

Interesting Facts

  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds beat their wings approximately 53 times per second.
  • The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in the eastern provinces of North America.
  • The oldest known Ruby-throated hummingbird was a female of 9 years and 2 months old when she was found in West Virginia.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Although they aren’t as commonly spotted in Minnesota as the Ruby-throated hummingbird, the Rufous hummingbird can be spotted in small numbers each year.

The Rufous hummingbird breeds in northwest Alaska and migrates south towards Mexico during the winter months and back along the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountains during spring and late summer.

The bird is approximately 8cm in length and has short wings that don’t reach the end of its tails when perched.

Male Rufous hummingbirds are bright orange on the back and belly, with a white patch below their red, incandescent throat.

During migration, Rufous hummingbirds pass through mountain meadows which are nectar-rich.

These are the most likely times to spot this magnificent orange hummingbird in Minnesota.

During migration, Rufous hummingbirds can be spotted in mountain meadows with elevations up to 12,600 feet.

That said, during winter months, the bird makes its way to lower elevations of 7,500 to 10,000 feet in Mexico.

Interesting Facts

  • The Rufous hummingbird is one the most aggressive hummingbird species and incredibly territorial, often chasing away larger birds and mammals such as chipmunks from nests, and flowers.
  • The Rufous has one of the longest migratory patterns in the bird kingdom, for its body size. Their 3,900-mile journey is equivalent to 78,470,000 times their body lengths.
  • These hummingbirds have an excellent memory and have been spotted returning to locations that previously hosted feeders and other flowering plants.

Mexican Violetear

Mexican Violetear

The Mexican Violetear is an accidental species of hummingbird in Minnesota, which makes them extremely rare. 

That said, the Mexican Violetear is considered a casual species in the area thanks to their tendency to wonder.

Most commonly found in the highlands ranging from Mexico to Nicaragua, this tiny bird can be spotted along forest edges, however, are well known to roam out of its natural habitat.

Mexican Violetears are bright metallic green on top with a shimmering green body. 

Their tails are blue-green with bronze central feathers and a black band at the end of the structure.

The females look similar to the males, however, females are slightly smaller and have duller colors.

Interesting Facts

  • This species can be found breeding at elevations as high as 13,000 feet.
  • A group of hummingbirds is known as a “bouquet”, “glittering”, “shimmer”, and “ tune”, among others.
  • Mexican Violetears, when feeding, can lick up nectar up to 13 times per second.
  • Small insects and spiders are captured while in flight. A nesting female can capture up to 2,000 insects per day.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbirds are another accidental species in Minnesota and have only been spotted alive four times, which makes them incredibly rare.

As these birds don’t commonly migrate, they have only been spotted in the state a few times.

Male Anna’s hummingbirds are small and stocky, boasting iridescent red-pink feathers on their head and neck.

Both males and females are covered in bright green and gray feathers, however, as with most of the bird world, it’s the males that shine the brightest.

Anna’s hummingbirds are one of the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast.

These hummingbirds can be found in chaparral, coastal scrub, oak savannas, and open woodland.

That said, they have become accustomed to urban and suburban areas, where they can often be spotted.

A favorite among Anna’s hummingbirds is the eucalyptus tree, where you are most likely to spot one.

Interesting Facts

  • The iridescent throat patch of the males is known as a gorget. Females have a small gorget which is rare with hummingbird species, as most females have none.
  • Originally, Anna’s hummingbirds breed only in Baja California, and southern California, but thanks to the planting of exotic trees and flowering plants, they have been able to expand.
  • During courtship, the male flies as high as 131 feet and performs a near-vertical dive with a burst of noise produced through its tail feathers.
  • Bees and wasps have been found impaled on the beaks of Anna’s hummingbirds, causing the birds to starve to death.
  • Anna’s hummingbirds have a normal temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A female Anna’s hummingbird was once found with 32 leaf-hoppers in her stomach.

Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli’s Hummingbird

The Rivoli’s hummingbird is one of the most striking of the hummingbird species, thanks to its array of green, blue, and purple iridescent colors.

Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that you’ll come across a Rivoli hummingbird in Minnesota. There have only been three sightings of the bird, the last being in 1994.

Although the chances of seeing one are slim, they can be recognized by their purple crown and emerald gorget that flashes in the light.

Females are mostly gray on the underside, and as with the males, have a white mark behind their eyes.

The Rivoli is most commonly spotted nesting in cool mountain canyons near streams or foraging in forests and meadows at elevations between 5,000 and 9,000 feet.

Interesting Facts

  • The Rivoli’s hummingbird was named after the second Duke of Rivoli, who was an amateur ornithologist.
  • In 1983 the bird’s name was changed to Magnificent Hummingbird. In 2017 the species was split into two and the name Rivoli was bought back.
  • The Rivoli is the second largest hummingbird in the US, second only to the Blue-throated Mountain-gem.
  • Rivoli hummingbirds are known to interbreed with other species such as the Broad-billed Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, and Berylline Hummingbird.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

The Calliope is a tiny bird and appears even smaller thanks to this hummingbird’s short beak and hunched-over posture.

Although they don’t grow much longer than 3.5 inches, the bright magenta rays on the male’s throat stand out and make them easily identifiable.

Both the males and females wear greenish feathers above, but only the mature males display green on their undersides.

Calliope Hummingbirds can be found breeding in mountainous meadows, in bush thickets near streams, and open forests.

They tend to favor forested areas that are recovering from forest fires or logging.

These hummingbirds fly south for winter months as they move down to Mexico where they spend their time in oak forests and among shrubs.

Interesting Facts

  • The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the USA.
  • Calliope’s hummingbirds migrate approximately 5,000 miles a year, making them the smallest long-distance migrants in the world.
  • Although tiny, these hummingbirds are known to be territorial and aggressive, chasing away birds as large as Red-tailed hawks.
  • The Calliope hummingbird’s metabolic rate increases by over 16 times more than its resting rate while the bird’s flying.

Costa’s Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

Predominantly found in the desert, Costa’s Hummingbirds are not common in Minnesota, and although considered an accidental bird, only a single individual has been spotted in 2003.

That said, if you are in the USA, these birds are residents of California and southwest Arizona, and can be easily spotted during summer months.

Adult males boast a brightly iridescent purple crown and gorget that contrasts with their green best and back.

Immature males and female Costa hummingbirds are greenish above and white below with a white stripe on their eyebrows.

They can be found among desert scrub in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts.

These hummingbirds also commonly make their homes among chaparral and sage scrub along the coast of California.

When showing off to a subject (whether it be a human or a female Costa), the males dive in a U-shaped pattern while producing a high-pitched whistle.

These birds prefer lowland areas and tend to stick to elevations of 3,000 to 4,000 feet.

In the USA, specifically California, these hummingbirds feed on sage, tree tobacco, and bush monkeyflower.

In the desert, they visit more than 22 different plant species, although they favor chuparosa and ocotillo.

Interesting Facts

  • The Costa’s hummingbird needs to visit approximately 1,840 flowers per day to meet its energy requirements.
  • Costa’s hummingbirds can slow their heart rates while sleeping. While asleep their hearts beat about 50 times per minute. While awake they can beat between 500 and 900 times a minute.
  • Costa’s hummingbirds feed on desert plants such as agave, chuparosa, desert honeysuckle, and fairy-duster, as well as from nectar feeders.

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