There are fifteen resident and nine vagrant hummingbird species in the US and eight of them are found in the state of Ohio. Woo-hoo!
Finding one of these Ohio hummingbirds is a challenge because they are small and swift. Distinguishing them...well...😓
We can appreciate these birds more if we can properly identify them; hence, we prepared a list of all the types of hummingbirds in Ohio!
Read on, bird fans!
Seasonal Hummingbird Species
Unfortunately, there are no resident hummingbirds in Ohio. Down below are two species that appear only in a specific season.
If you want to see them in the state, you better be prepared, or you'll have to wait another year!
1. Ruby Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
The Ruby Throated Hummingbird is a medium-sized species with iridescent green upperparts, crown, and flank. Its wings are brown with a green wash on the shoulders.
Meanwhile, the underparts and belly are a pale gray, with a green tint on the sides and belly.
Both genders share these characteristics, but the females are duller than the males. Additionally, only the males have a ruby-colored throat (hence the name) and a black streak over the face.
Subadult males look the same as adult females, except they have a small ruby spot on the throat.
Compared to the other Ohio hummingbirds, this species is the most common in eastern North America.
However, they are only present in Ohio during the summer. They usually arrive in late April to early May, with most leaving in late September for migration.
Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are found throughout the state, usually in woodland edges and gardens with flowering plants.
Specific locations are in the Cuyahoga Valley National park in northeast Ohio and Lake Hope State Park in the south.
Additionally, they are bold enough to visit backyard feeders without getting bothered by humans.
Fun Fact: This hummingbird has strong wings that allow it to fly fast forward and backward and even hover mid-air.
2. Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
The term "rufous" refers to a brown-red color, similar to rust. However, only the male Rufous Hummingbird reflects this name, as it is primarily rufous in color except for its white breast.
Meanwhile, the female has a greenish-brown back, a white belly, and pale-rufous sides.
However, immature and juvenile males look more similar to a female Rufous Hummingbird.
In contrast to Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds are distributed towards western North America.
However, they visit Ohio during late fall and winter. Although they aren't widespread, most sightings occur in central Ohio.
Rufous Hummingbirds are usually found in forests, streamsides, and high-mountain meadows. They may also visit backyard feeders, especially during winter.
Fun Fact: Out of all the North American species, Rufous hummingbirds have the longest hummingbird migration, about 4,000 miles each way. Additionally, this species is one of the popular hummingbirds of California that people come to see!
Accidental / Rare Hummingbird Species
These species aren't expected to visit Ohio because the state isn't a part of their respective range. However, there have been a few sightings, hence the term "accidental."
Since they're pretty rare, you'll earn yourself some bragging rights if you see one in action!
1. Allens Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
The Allens Hummingbird is a small species with a green crown and back, white breast, and rufous sides. The males also have an iridescent copper-red throat.
Meanwhile, the females are duller overall and lack an iridescent throat.
This bird is a close relative to the Rufous Hummingbird, so it might take a closer examination to differentiate the females and immatures of both species.
Allens Hummingbirds are usually found breeding from southern Oregon to southern California. Some are even permanent residents in extreme southern California.
However, they may go to central Mexico and the Gulf Coast states during winter.
They are usually found in coastal forests, brushy canyons, and well-wooded suburbs, gardens, and parks.
Fun Fact: This accidental species has been found a few times in Ohio during winter. However, the last recorded sighting was in 2009!
2. Annas Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Annas Hummingbirds have green upperparts, dark gray underparts, and a white streak over their eyes.
Male hummingbirds have an iridescent scarlet throat and crown, which may appear dark purple or black in dim light.
Meanwhile, these aren't present in the females, except for the small dark spot on their throats.
Annas Hummingbirds are common in the western United States, especially in California.
In fact, the development of California over the years, which increased the use of ornamental flowering plants, allowed this species to expand its range.
Sometimes, they stray from their range, as states in eastern and central America have spotted them at least once. In Ohio, specifically, the last sighting was recorded in 2017.
They are found in various habitats in their range, from open woodlands and coastal scrub to city parks and backyards.
Fun Fact: The Annas Hummingbird consumes the most insects out of all North American hummingbirds.
3. Black Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
The Black Chinned Hummingbird has dull, metallic green upperparts, pale gray underparts, a white breast, and a tint of green on the sides.
As you may have guessed, it has a black chin paired with an iridescent purple base. However, this is only present for males.
However, females and juvenile males are duller and have a pale gray throat instead.
Black Chinned Hummingbirds are widespread, commonly found during the summer from the western USA to central Texas and northern Mexico.
During winter, they go further down into Mexico and may even visit the Gulf Coast states.
However, this bird has been spotted in Columbus, Ohio, recently in 2020!
Their preferred habitats are in lowlands, from canyons with thickets, brushy areas, towns, and suburban gardens.
After breeding, however, they may move to higher elevations in mountains that have abundant flowers.
Fun Fact: During the cold, Black Chinned Hummingbirds may consume three times their weight in nectar in one day. This particular species can also be found flocking around the different birds of Arizona, as well!
4. Broad Tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)
Broad Tailed Hummingbirds are a medium-sized species with green upperparts, pale gray underparts, and some rufous spots on their dark green tail.
Males have a rose-red throat and green sides, while females have a pale gray throat and rufous sides and stomach.
Meanwhile, juvenile males look similar to regular males, except they only have some red spots on the throat.
During summer and spring, Broad Tailed Hummingbirds are distributed in the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin states, including Arizona, western Texas, and Mexico.
However, you may find them in Ohio during late November as part of their migration.
They are most often found in semi-open mountains where they breed. However, they can also be pinyon-juniper or pine-oak woodlands.
Fun Fact: One female Broad Tailed Hummingbird lived until 12 years old, the highest age recorded for North American hummingbirds.
5. Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)
Calliope Hummingbirds are often confused with Rufous or Broad Tailed Hummingbirds. These species are closely related and have almost the same color scheme.
The primary identifier for Calliope Hummingbirds is that the males' throat is somewhat flared out, which looks like they have whiskers.
Females, however, do not have this throat, so distinguishing them from similar species won't be easy at first glance.
Subadult males have similar colors to regular males, except their throat feathers aren't as prominent.
The Calliope Hummingbird is distributed in the western parts of both North and South America. It is relatively common in its range but prone to habitat loss.
Around October or November, however, this bird can be accidentally seen in Ohio, especially in the central regions of the state.
There have been some encounters of Calliope Hummingbirds in Ohio, the latest being in Columbus in 2017.
Calliope Hummingbirds prefer living in forests or canyons in mountainous areas. However, they may also be found in meadows and shrubby areas near streams.
Fun Fact: The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in North America and the smallest long-distance avian migrant in the entire world.
6. Mexican Violetear (Colibri thalassinus)
Out of all the birds on this list, this hummingbird in Ohio has the most unique appearance!
The Mexican Violetear's upperparts and underparts are a dark metallic green, which may appear black in dim light. Additionally, it has a blue-violet breast and cheeks.
Both genders have these colors, but juveniles have pale gray underparts instead.
Mexican Violetears are common from (you guessed it) Mexico to Nicaragua. They may even go far south into Bolivia and Venezuela.
During summer in the USA, most sightings occur in Texas. Still, they may scatter to northern states like Ohio and Michigan, but this is pretty rare.
Their nomadic nature has even led them as far north as Alberta and Ontario in Canada!
Mexican Violetears are usually found in forests, particularly forest clearings and edges.
Fun Fact: The blue-violet patterns of this species look somewhat like ears, hence the name "Violetear."
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do hummingbirds have shiny throats?
A hummingbird's throat is called "gorget" (pronounced gor-jit), which was a term that originally referred to a knight's metallic collar.
How do I attract hummingbirds to my backyard?
The hummingbirds of Ohio have one thing in common - their diet primarily consists of insects and flower nectar. Thus, it's a great idea to put native plants in your backyard. They provide that sweet nectar, plus they can promote insects in your yard.
Hummingbirds particularly favor bright and warm-colored flowers and elongated, tubular-shaped flowers.
You can also install a hummingbird feeder in your backyard and load it with sugar water. You can make it at home by combining four parts boiling water with one part sugar, then letting the solution cool. Just make sure to clean the feeder regularly!
Are hummingbirds aggressive?
Despite their small size, hummingbirds pack quite a punch! They aggressively defend flowers and feeders, even from larger species. If your backyard has various bird feeders, then we recommend putting your hummingbird feeder at a distance to avoid conflict between them and other backyard birds.
We can all agree that hummingbirds are a fantastic sight because of their various colors - especially those shiny throats!
Unfortunately, we can't appreciate these Ohio hummingbirds all year because none of them are permanent residents.
However, that just makes the experience extra fulfilling, especially if we can successfully identify all of them!
With that being said, we hope this guide helped your birding journey. What's your favorite hummingbird in Ohio? We'd love to know about it!