In the United States, there are over two dozen different hummingbird species. Some of them are yearly visitors who come to the nation, while others are only unusual or unplanned visitors. We have identified four common or semi-common species of hummingbirds in Montana, as well as three that have been seen multiple times but are considered uncommon. In Montana, there are seven different hummingbird species that may be seen.
7 HUMMINGBIRDS IN MONTANA
We’ve compiled a list of hummingbirds that may be seen in Montana based on range maps from authoritative sources such as allaboutbirds.org and ebird.org. Rufous hummingbird, Black-chinned hummingbird, Broad-tailed hummingbird, and the Calliope humatgiant are the most common Montana humatgatgs. The species name, photos, and other information about looks, as well as where and when you may see them, are provided for each of the species listed here. We’ll start with the more popular species and work our way down to the less popular.
For advice on bringing hummingbirds to your yard, keep reading at the conclusion of the article.
1. BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
Each year, black-chinned hummingbirds travel from Mexico and Central America to their breeding grounds in the western United States. The throat of males is typically black in color, however they have a little purple strip at the bottom that may be seen under certain lighting.
Females have a plain throat and are green above and light below, like most hummer females. Several habitats, from deserts to alpine forests, have them, and they prefer to perched on exposed limbs.
2. CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
During the breeding season, the calliope hummingbird can be found in many western states, but mostly in the Pacific Northwest and sections of western Canada. The calliope is the smallest bird in the United States, so this is an impressively long migration from its wintering grounds in Mexico.
Males have a distinctive magenta stripe on their neck that forks down on both sides. The throat and underparts of females are plain, with green streaking.
The western Rocky Mountain area of Montana is home to Calliope Hummingbirds, and they can only be found as far east as the middle of the state. They’ll start to emerge in the state around April and depart by September.
3. RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
When it comes to sharing feeders and driving off other hummers, Rufous hummingbirds are well-known for being quite “feisty.” Males have an orange breast with a white patch on the top and a scarlet neck. Green females with brown patches on the neck and a rusty neck.
The majority of people will move north into the United States in general. They make their way south through the Rockies in the autumn after passing through California in early spring and spending their summers in Oregon, Washington, and Canada.
In April, the far northwestern corner of Montana will be flooded with Rufous Hummingbirds. During the month of May and June, they will grow in number in the state’s western mountainous regions. As the Canadian population begins to migrate south again in July and August, the majority of them will have traveled through Montana by September. In the state’s central and eastern regions, they are uncommon.
4. BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Selasphorus platycerus
Hummingbirds of the broad-tailed variety live up to 10,500 feet above sea level and breed there. They may enter a semi-hibernating state called torpor to conserve energy in order to deal with the cold evenings at these altitudes.
The neck of males is a rosey-magenta color. Females have a buffy-colored bottom and sides, as well as some green accent on their neck and cheeks. In the United States, broad-tailed hummingbirds are mostly seen between late spring and late summer.
Western Yellowstone, Red Rock Lakes NWR, Bozeman, and sometimes up around Helena are among the places where they may be seen in Montana. Between May and July, keep an eye out for them.
5. ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Calypte anna
Anna is actually residing in the United States. Although their range is mostly restricted to the west coast of the United States, they are found throughout most of it. In both Canada and the United States, Their feathers are speckled with emerald feathers, and their green is somewhat more vivid and iridescent than that of most others.
Males have crimson-pink throats and the gorgeous feathers extend up over their foreheads. Backyards are where they like to be, and gardens and eucalyptus trees are their favorite things.
From time to time, Anna’s have been spotted in Montana. In places such as Missoula and around Flathead Lake, your best bet of seeing one would be in the western part of the state. The majority of reports seem to date from September through December. They are occasionally seen, although they are not a frequent visitor.
6. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
In the eastern part of the United States, ruby-throated hummingbirds are widespread, but not in the west. The back is green, while the underparts are white. The throat of a male is a vibrant red that can appear black in certain light.
They arrive in swarms from their wintering grounds in Central America each spring. On a single flight, many of those heading for the eastern states cross the Gulf of Mexico.
In Montana, ruby-throated hummingbirds are only a rare sight and are thus considered uncommon. They are, however, more likely to be seen in the eastern part of the state than all of the other hummingbirds on this list. Keep an eye out in late summer (early fall) for the majority of the documented sightings.
7. COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Calypte costae
The deep purple faces of male Costa Ricans are well-known. Both their foreheads and their throats are purple, with purple feathers protruding out on both sides like a beard. Green on top, white on the bottom.
Costas have somewhat shorter wings and tail, as well as being compact when compared to other hummingbirds. Baja and southern California are year-round destinations.
Outside of the United States, Costa’s hummingbirds are rare. They may travel as far south as the northern states on occasion. While not impossible, it makes them extremely rare for the area given the existence of two recorded appearances in Montana during the fall. The western coast is more popular for vagrants.
ATTRACTING HUMMINGBIRDS TO YOUR YARD
1. HANG HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS
Hanging a nectar feeder in your yard may be the best way to attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds must eat frequently and depend on a constant supply of nectar. Pick a feeder that’s simple to disassemble and clean, and that has the color red on it. Cleansing and replenishing must be done more than once per week in hot weather. For the majority of people, we recommend a saucer-shaped feeder. They’re very simple to maintain, operate well, and don’t hold a lot of nectar.
For a range of options, check out our top 5 favorite hummingbird feeders.
2. MAKE YOUR OWN NECTAR
By making your own nectar, you can skip (and maybe avoid) unnecessary (and occasionally hazardous) additives. It’s a good deal, and it’s simple to use. Just mix plain white sugar and water in a 1:4 proportion (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water) and you’re done. Making your own nectar without boiling the water is simple, and we have a how-to guide for that.
3. PLANT NATIVE FLOWERS
Plant a few flowers in your yard that will attract passing hummingbirds, other than a feeder. Red (as well as orange, pink, and purple) flowers, as well as plants with trumpet or tubular blossoms, are especially attractive to them. Vertical planting may be used to conserve space. Long cascading vines of flowers may be grown on an obelisk trellis or a flat trellis mounted to the side of your home. Hummingbirds are drawn to the following twenty plants and flowers.
4. PROVIDE WATER
Hummingbirds need water to both drink and bathe. They will utilize baths with the proper “specifications,” even if they prefer natural bird baths to be deep. See the many options for purchasing hummingbird baths, as well as ideas for creating something unique in your garden.
5. PROMOTE INSECTS
Sugar isn’t enough for most hummingbirds, so they need protein too. Little insects make up a third of their diet. Mosquitoes, fruit flies, spiders, and gnats are among the insects. Avoid pesticides and help your hummers out. See our 5 easy tips for more information on insect feeders and ways to help feed insects to hummingbirds.