Looking at hummingbirds in Texas brings about a chance to look at the geography and climate of Texas and the vast changes in each. Different hummingbird species are found in different areas of Texas depending on the conditions that each species prefers, this will vary from mountains to beaches. For the most part, all species will not be found in one area, so the hummingbirds in one location are more than likely not going to be the same species visiting another area of the state. For example, the East Texas Pineywoods is host to the Green Violet-ear Hummingbird, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Black-chinned Hummingbird, the Anna’s Hummingbird, the Calliope Hummingbird, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird and the Rufous Hummingbird.
The state of Texas has at least 18 species of hummingbirds that have been documented. These are the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Black-chinned Hummingbird, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird, the Anna’s Hummingbird, the Magnificent Hummingbird, the Lucifer Hummingbird the Buff-bellied Hummingbird, the Blue-throated Hummingbird, the Costa’s Hummingbird, the Green Violet-eared Hummingbird, the Allen’s Hummingbird, the Calliope Hummingbird, the Broad-billed Hummingbird, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird, the White-eared Hummingbird, the Green-breasted Mango, the Berylline Hummingbird, and the Antillean Crested Hummingbird.
With this many species of hummingbirds in Texas, how do Texans know what species is visiting their hummingbird feeder or garden? The answer is not always easy, but usually there are distinguishable features that will help achieve the identification. The features to pay attention to are the throat area, the back, the crown, the breast and the tail feathers.
Identifying the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is easy, if the bird in question is the male of the species. This hummingbird has a ruby-red throat, an emerald green back and a forked tail. The female Ruby-throated Hummingbird is identified by its white breast and throat, emerald green back and rounded, white-tipped tail feathers.
Identifying the Black-chinned Hummingbird begins with the male who has a white collar and purple throat band on a black throat along with a green back breast and crown. The female Black-chinned Hummingbird is identified by a white breast, a black and white spotted throat, white-tipped, buff feathers on her sides and a green crown and back.
Identifying the Broad-tailed Hummingbird also begins with the male because he is easier to identify than the female. The male Broad-tailed Hummingbird has a rosy colored throat, a metallic green crown, back, and a round tail. The female Broad-tailed Hummingbird is identified by a green crown and back, white and black spotted throat, rufous sides and tail feathers that are green, rufous and black with white tips.
Identifying the Anna’s Hummingbird is accomplished by looking at the male’s rosy-red crown and throat, gray breast and his metallic green back. The female Anna’s Hummingbird is identified by her light gray breast, a back that is green, a red and white spotted throat and a white-tipped tail.
Identifying the Magnificent Hummingbird is another beautiful hummingbird in Texas that is s easiest to identify the male which has a metallic green gorget or throat, a green back, a forehead that is purple and a breast that is black. The female Magnificent Hummingbird is identified by a gray colored breast, a throat that is gray with some streaking, an olive green crown and back and tail feathers that are pearl gray tipped.
Identifying the Lucifer Hummingbird is easiest by looking at its bill, which is down curving on both sexes. If this is not enough to identify the Lucifer, the male can be identified by the magenta color of its throat, its white breast, metallic green crown and back and sides that are buff in color. The female Lucifer Hummingbird is not as brightly colored as the male, with her dull green crown and back, breast and throat that are white, sides that are buff in color and white-tipped tail feathers.
The Buff-bellied Hummingbird has virtually no difference in appearance between the sexes. Both males and females have white eye rings and their back, crown and throat are metallic green while their sides, belly and tail feathers are either buff or rufous colored.
Identifying the Blue-throated Hummingbird can easily be accomplished by paying attention to the size of the bird, as this species is large, with males weighing 8.4 grams and females weighing 6.8 grams. But, if size is not enough to identify this species, then look at the hummingbirds eyes, both sexes have white stripes located above and below their eyes. They also have gray breasts, green backs and crowns and their tail feathers are white-tipped.
The Costa’s Hummingbird is another species of hummingbirds in Texas where the male is more colorful than the female, with a violet colored crown and throat, a breast that is green, a back that is metallic green and very long feathers on the side of its throat. The female Costa’s Hummingbird is best identified by its white breast, white and black spotted throat, green crown and back, sides that are buff and white-tipped tail feathers.
The Green Violet-ear Hummingbird is identified by the glimmering pale color and blue fringe of its throat and breast; its violet ear patch and its tail that has a black band towards the end and tips that are yellowish-green. This species of hummingbirds also have black bills and feet.
Their throat identifies the Allen’s Hummingbird males, which is an iridescent, coppery-red color and their metallic bronzy green back and head. The female Allen’s Hummingbird is best identified by its white breast, red and white spotted throat and rounded white-tip tail feathers.
The Calliope Hummingbird is identifiable by its size also, which is approximately 2.5 grams and the whiskered look of the male’s white throat. The male Calliope Hummingbird also has a back and crown that are metallic green and the female has a less bright green back and crown as well as a streaked throat and tail feathers that have white-tipped corners.
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is one more species of hummingbirds in Texas where the male is the brighter of the sexes. This hummingbird is identified by its throat that is metallic blue, its bill that is orange-red with a black tip and green that covers its back, crown and breast. The female Broad-billed Hummingbird is not nearly as brightly colored as the male, with her gray breast and throat, green crown and back and white-tipped tail feathers.
The Violet-crowned Hummingbird has a violet colored crown that is brighter on the males than on the females. This species also has an emerald green back and a red bill that has a dark tip.
The White-eared Hummingbird is easily identified by its white ear stripes along with its black tipped, red bill. Distinguishing between the sexes is not very difficult because the male has an emerald green crown and back, a crown that is purple and a chin that is an iridescent blue-green color. The female has a more drab green colored back and crown, a breast that is white and sides that are white streaked with green.
The Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird is one of the species of hummingbirds that is rarely seen in Texas, especially north of the Nueces River. The male Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird has a throat and chest that have a black middle and is bordered by blue and green feathers, he has green flanks and his belly continues the black from his chest. He also has shimmering green colored back and crown. The female Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird has a black stripe down her breast, throat and belly as well as a crown and back that are bronze-green colored and a belly, chest and throat that are white.
The Berylline Hummingbird, although rare, has been documented in Texas. To identify this hummingbird in Texas look for emerald green color all over its tiny body with purple feathers on its rump, tail feathers and its wing feathers. The throat of this hummingbird is a brighter green color than the green that covers its body.
The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is another rarely seen hummingbird in Texas. The male Antillean Crested Hummingbird has a green back and crown, a black tail and belly and its crest is green or green and blue. The female Antillean Crested Hummingbird has a green back and crown, a gray or white belly, breast and throat and white-tipped tail feathers.