7 Hummingbirds You Might See in California
Birders in the "golden state" can see plenty of gorgeous hummingbirds! Find out where each of the seven hummingbird species in California resides.
Of the California hummingbirds, the black-chinned hummingbird might be the most widespread. Its range stretches from the southern end of the state all the way to the top (with the exception of a small chunk of northern California). Along the state’s eastern border, it’s mostly spotted during migration. In the interior, it’s a breeding-season resident.
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These too-cute fliers stay in California year-round! You can find Anna’s hummingbirds along the Pacific coast and in the southern half of the state any time of year. On the other hand, in the northern half, they’re largely breeding-season residents. They’re at home in suburbs, so if you put out a sugar-water feeder, you just might spot one. They also call forests, streams and parks home.
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To spot a Costa’s hummingbird, you’ll need to head down to southern California. There, these shimmery purple fliers are year-round California residents—but you won’t find them in the rest of the state. Costa’s enjoy the heat, and they flourish in deserts.
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California residents looking to spot a rufous hummingbird are in luck. This delightful copper-colored bird migrates through the state in spring. Unfortunately, it doesn’t remain for long—a week or two at most, for many backyard birders. In addition, hummingbird fans should note that these feisty fliers are known for aggressively defending their territories. A rufous will chase other hummingbird species away.
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To find an Allen’s hummingbird in California, your best bet is to head to the coast. They migrate up from Mexico through most of the southern half of the state, but they settle along the Pacific coast for breeding season. Territorial (but not as territorial as the rufous), they’ll often return to yards with feeders or flowers they enjoyed in previous years. Allen’s linger year-round in a few places in the state, including the islands off the coast of Los Angeles.
These adorable little California hummingbirds are the smallest bird in the United States. They visit California during their breeding season. Their range occurs from the top quarter of the state down part of the right side, with assorted small pockets of Calliope hummingbirds farther south. You’re likely to find them in mountain meadows or forest glades.
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If you live in the golden state and want to see a broad-tailed hummingbird, you might have to make a special trip. Broad-taileds aren’t a common sight among California hummingbirds, but you can find them in a few specific places. They only visit California during breeding season, and even then, they’re only found in a few strips of land along the eastern border.
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