Hummingbirds have been observed in the United States from as many as 27 distinct species. Some are common year-round, while others are rare or accidental visitors. We have identified two common or semi-common species and three uncommon species of hummingbirds in Delaware. Hummingbirds have visited Delaware in five different species.
5 HUMMINGBIRDS IN DELAWARE
We’ve compiled a list of hummingbirds that may be seen in the state of Delaware based on range maps from official sources such as allaboutbirds.org and ebird.org. The species name, pictures of what it looks like, characteristics about appearance, and where and when you may see them are all included for each species listed in this list. The most frequent species will be listed first, followed by the least frequent.
Check back later in the article for information on drawing hummingbirds to your yard, and check this one out to see when hummingbirds will be returning to your area.
1. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
In the eastern part of the United States, ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common type of hummingbird. Their underparts are white and they have a green back. In certain lighting, males have a crimson red throat that appears black. They come in droves every spring from their Central American wintering grounds. Several of them take off and land in a single nonstop flight over the Gulf of Mexico! With nectar feeders and flowers, ruby-throated hummingbirds are simple to entice to gardens.
Throughout the spring and summer, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds may be seen throughout Delaware. They will come in April and May, and depart in late September.
2. RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
When it comes to sharing feeders and driving away other hummers, Rufous hummingbirds are known for being quite “feisty.” Males have a white patch on their upper breast and an orange-red throat. They are orange all over. Green females with speckled throats and rusty patches. They go up through California in the spring, then spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, before returning to the Rockies in the fall.
Although Rufous Hummingbirds are most often seen on the west coast, they are likely second only to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in terms of abundance on the east coast. They have been observed a dozen or more times in recent years, despite the fact that they are not particularly common in Delaware. They are also frequently seen in the nearby towns of Cape May, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., indicating that they are native to the region and wander into Delaware from time to time. The late autumn or winter is the most common time for sightings.
3. CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
The calliope hummingbird breeds in the Pacific Northwest and portions of western Canada during the winter, then migrates to Central America. Even considering the calliope is the smallest bird in the United States, that’s an impressively long migration! Males have a special magenta stripe throat design that forks down on each side of their neck. The throat and underparts of females are plain, with some green on the neck.
On the east coast, Calliope Hummingbirds are uncommon, although they have been seen three times in Delaware. All of the sightings took place in the same general region of far northern Delaware, near Wilmington and New Castle, and were all seen in November.
4. ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Selasphorus sasin
Each year, these little guys fly all the way from Central America to California’s Pacific Coast to breed. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them because they have a lot in common with the Rufous hummingbird. The males of Allen are orange with a green back and neck and an orangey-red throat. The back and flanks of females are dull green, with a speckled throat. In comparison to other hummingbirds, they migrate a little younger, arriving in California in January.
For Delaware, Allen’s is a one-of-a-kind restaurant. During November and December of 2021, Newark had only one confirmed sighting on eBird. Allen’s have been spotted in surrounding Philadelphia and along the southern New Jersey coast, thus I included them on this list. As a result, it seems that from time to time, a stray Allen arrives in the area and passes through Delaware on his way.
5. BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
Each year, black-chinned hummingbirds fly north from Mexico and Central America to breed in the western United States. In most light, males have a small strip of purple feathers along the bottom that is occasionally visible, however their throat color appears plain black. Females have a plain throat and are green on top with a pale bottom. They resemble other hummingbird females. They like to perch on bare branches and may be found in a variety of environments, from deserts to mountain woodlands.
While they are a western bird, several lucky birders saw one in Sussex during November 2020. They have been seen in most states along the east coast at least once, including Delaware. They are very uncommon in the state, however I included them since a few were spotted just across the bay in Cape May, so I assume they may occasionally cross into coastal Delaware.
ATTRACTING HUMMINGBIRDS TO YOUR YARD
1. HANG HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS
Hanging a nectar feeder in your yard is perhaps the most effective method to attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds must consume at all times, and finding a dependable source of nectar is critical. Pick a feeder with a red finish and that is simple to disassemble and clean. Cleaning and refilling must be done more often in hot weather. For most people, we recommend a saucer-shaped feeder. They’re simple to clean, operate well, and don’t hold too much nectar.
2. MAKE YOUR OWN NECTAR
Make your own nectar to avoid unnecessary (and occasionally dangerous) additives and red dyes. It’s inexpensive, simple to make, and quick to prepare. To 1:4 proportion (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water), simply add plain white sugar to water. Without having to boil the water, we have an simple how-to guide on creating your own nectar.
3. PLANT NATIVE FLOWERS
plant a few flowers in your yard that hummingbirds will visit, aside from a feeder. They’re especially drawn to red blossoms (as well as orange, pink, and purple blossoms), as well as trumpet or tubular-shaped blooms. Vertical planting may help you get the most out of your space. Long cascading vines of flowers can be grown on an obelisk trellis or a flat trellis attached to the side of your house. Hummingbirds will like these 20 plants and flowers.
4. PROVIDE WATER
Hummingbirds need water for both drinking and bathing. They will utilize baths with the proper “specifications,” despite the fact that they may find conventional bird baths too deep. You can purchase or make some fantastic hummingbird baths, or you may find some great yard ideas on the internet.
5. PROMOTE INSECTS
Sugar isn’t enough for most hummingbirds; they also need protein to survive. Little insects make up a third of their diet. Mosquitoes, fruit flies, spiders, and gnats are just a few of the insects. By avoiding pesticides, you can help your hummers. Our 5 simple tips page has more ideas on bug feeders and ways you can assist bugs to humbirds.