Taxonomy Helper

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)


    Kingdom: Animalia
    Division: Chordata
    Subdivision: Vertebrata
    Class: Aves
    Order: Apodiformes
    Family: Trochilidae

Word Helper

New World: refers collectively to the western hemisphere, specifically North and South America.

Ornithophily: pollination by birds.

Ornithophilous: plants that are pollinated by birds.

North American Hummingbirds

There are about seventeen species of hummingbirds in North America.  North American hummingbirds all have a medium-length bill and are more generalized feeders than their South American counterparts that have developed specialized bills to feed on one particular flower.  Specific species known in North America are the:

  • Allen's hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
  • Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)
  • berylline hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina)
  • black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
  • blue-throated hummingbird (Lampornis clemenciae)
  • broad-billed hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris)
  • broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)
  • buff-bellied hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis)
  • calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope)
  • Costa's hummingbird (Calypte costae)
  • lucifer hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer)
  • magnificent hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)
  • ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
  • rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
  • violet-crowned hummingbird (Amazilia violiceps)
  • white-eared hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)
  • Xantus' hummingbird (Hylocharis xantusii)

Hummingbirds: Hearty Eaters, Hefty Pollinators

Female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). Photo copyright Joe Schneid 2006 Louisville, KY,
Female ruby-throated hummingbird
(Archilochus colubris). Photo
copyright Joe Schneid 2006
Louisville, KY,

The hummingbird, or Trochilidae, family provides vital pollination services to thousands of plant species. Hummingbirds are considered nectarivorous, meaning they feed mostly on plant nectar, although they do eat insects as well. While hummingbirds feed, pollen from flowers stick to the birds' bills and is transferred to the pistils of other flowers. Because of the hummingbird's unique means of flight, it must consume almost twice its body weight in nectar daily and can visit up to 1,500 flowers per day. 

There are over 300 different hummingbird species and hummingbirds are native only to the New World. Of these, 68 are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List due to degradation and loss of habitat. There are 16 breeding species of hummingbirds in the United States, although only the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) breeds in the eastern United States.

Hummingbirds are small birds weighing less than 20 grams. They have long, slender beaks and large sternums. Their wings beat about 55 times per second during feeding and up to 200 beats per second during maneuvers and courtship displays.

Please browse this section to learn more about hummingbird identification, hummingbird-plant associations, the ruby-throated hummingbird, and the rufous hummingbird.

Hummingbird (Trochilidae) Conservation and Management Resources
Showing 12 Results
CollapseCanadian Atlas of Bird Banding - Volume 1: Doves, Cuckoos, and Hummingbirds through Passerines, 1921-1995
Description: This volume is part of a series intended to summarize, for the first time, bird banding results for Canada. The series will include data on birds banded in Canada or encountered in Canada. Although limited in geographic scope, the data depict movement patterns that are typical for North America as a whole. The current volume deals with small landbirds (passerines and near passerines). Raptors and water birds such as rails and herons are excluded.
Resource Type: Datasets
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Canadian Wildlife Service
ExpandEffect of Floral Abundance on Feeder Censuses of Hummingbird Populations Journal Article
ExpandGap Analysis of Pollinator (bats, bees, hummingbirds) Species Richness in Arizona: Implications for Conservation Biology
ExpandGardening for Hummingbirds (in Texas)
ExpandHummingbird Lessons, Activities, and Information
ExpandHummingbird Monitoring Network ( HMN )
ExpandHummingbirds Overview
ExpandMigratory Pollinators Program Description
ExpandMigratory Pollinators Program: Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) Species Account
ExpandTexas Hummingbird Roundup
ExpandTiming of Hummingbird Migration in Southeastern Arizona: Implications for Conservation Journal Article
ExpandTucson Hummingbird Project
Hummingbird (Trochilidate) Monitoring Resources
Showing 9 Results
CollapseGardening for Hummingbirds (in Texas)
Description: Information and links for Texas hummingbird gardening resources and tips.
Resource Type: Issue Overviews, Recommended Practices
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Texas Parks and Wildlife
ExpandHummingbird Banding Info and Summary
ExpandHummingbird Monitoring Network ( HMN )
ExpandMultiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Protocol Region 3 Study Plan: Implementation of the Point Count Survey Method
ExpandNorth American Bird Monitoring Projects Database Hummingbird Monitoring Network Project Description
ExpandOperation of Two Monitoring Avian Production and Survivorship (MAPS) Stations on the Lower Colorado River, 2005 Breeding Season Final Report
ExpandTexas Hummingbird Roundup
ExpandTown of Marana, Arizona Bat and Hummingbird Feeder Study
ExpandTucson Hummingbird Project

How to Attract Hummingbirds
to Your Yard

  • Hummingbirds are attracted to red, orange, or yellow tubular flowers.  Plant flowers that produce nectar, grow well in your area, and are in bloom when hummingbirds are passing through your region.
  • There are several families of plants that attract hummingbirds.  Some examples include bee balm and giant hyssop from the mint family (Family: Lamiaceae), trumpet creeper and yellow bells from the bignonia family (Family: Bignoniaceae), hollyhock, flowering maple, and rose of sharon from the mallow family (Family: Malvaceae), fuchsias from the evening primrose family (Family: Onagraceae), and desert honeysuckle from the acanthus family (Family: Acanthaceae).
  • Hang hummingbird feeders near the flowers and prepare a clear sugar water solution of one part table sugar to four parts water.  Do not use honey, artificial sweeteners, or red food coloring.
    Clean feeders regularly (every three days during hot weather) with hot water and a bottle brush.  Do not use soap.
  • Keep feeders up and clean in the fall for two weeks after you see the last hummingbird. 
  • Hummingbirds are territorial, so try putting up several feeders that are out of sight from each other.

References and Resources:

Extension Service Garden Hints: Attract hummingbirds to your garden (Peg Herring, Oregon State University Extension Service)

Hummingbirds in North America (

Attracting Hummingbirds (Lanny Chambers,

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