Hummingbirds in Alabama (With Pictures)

Hummingbirds in Alabama (With Pictures)

Nestled within the enchanting landscapes of Alabama lies a world of miniature marvels – the hummingbirds. These diminutive creatures, renowned for their iridescent plumage and astonishing aerial acrobatics, paint the skies with flashes of color and energy.

From the verdant forests to the lush gardens, Alabama serves as a vital habitat for a diverse array of hummingbird species, each with its own unique traits and behaviors.

In this captivating article, we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of these feathered jewels that grace the southern skies. Delving into their migratory patterns, feeding habits, and intricate nesting rituals, we’ll reveal the ecological significance of these tiniest birds and their role in pollination.

With an abundance of nectar-rich blooms and a climate that welcomes these agile fliers year-round, Alabama offers an exceptional opportunity for both seasoned ornithologists and budding birdwatchers to witness these aerial wonders up close. Join us as we peer into the fascinating lives of hummingbirds, where natural beauty meets extraordinary adaptation in the heart of Alabama’s lush landscapes.

1. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 3-3.75 in
  • Weight: 2-6 g
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in
  • Status: Least Concern           

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a captivating jewel of the avian world, native to North America. Found primarily in eastern regions of the United States, from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Canada, these tiny birds are a sight to behold.

Distinguished by their vibrant emerald and ruby plumage, the males boast a resplendent iridescent ruby-red throat that shimmers like a precious gem when caught in sunlight. Females, on the other hand, exhibit a more subdued green coloring, allowing them to blend seamlessly into their lush habitats.

With their remarkable aerial agility and iridescent beauty, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds stand as a testament to the wonders of nature.

A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird eating by a bird feeder

The nesting behavior of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a delicate process that showcases their remarkable adaptability. These diminutive birds meticulously construct their nests, weaving together a combination of natural materials such as lichen, moss, and spider silk.

This blend results in a cup-shaped structure that is often cleverly hidden amidst foliage or nestled within forked branches. The female takes the lead in nest-building, a testament to her instinctual understanding of creating a shelter that harmonizes with her surroundings. This showcases their pragmatic approach to nesting, ensuring both protection and camouflage for their vulnerable offspring.

The diet of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a dynamic blend of floral species and skilled insect hunting. With their slender, specialized bills, these hummingbirds extract nectar from a variety of flowering plants.

This nectar serves as their primary source of energy. However, these agile creatures don’t stop at nectar consumption. They display their aerial prowess by capturing insects and spiders mid-flight, thereby adding a much needed protein-rich component to their diet. This dual approach to feeding highlights their adaptability and the crucial role they play in balancing ecosystem dynamics.

Throughout history, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird has captured the admiration of bird enthusiasts and conservationists alike. Their iridescent plumage and mesmerizing flight patterns have spurred efforts to protect their habitats and ensure their continued presence in our ecosystem.

Conservation initiatives have focused on preserving natural habitats, advocating for bird-friendly gardens, and raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity. The historical fascination with these tiny wonders has galvanized collaborative endeavours to safeguard their future, underscoring the interconnectedness of all living beings in our environment.

2. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Life span: 3-6 years
  • Size: 3-4 in
  • Weight: 2.5-4.5 g
  • Wingspan: 4.3-5.1 in
  • Status: Least Concern           

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a captivating resident of the western regions of North America, spanning from the southwestern United States to Mexico. As its name suggests, the males feature a dark, iridescent black chin that contrasts strikingly against their vibrant emerald-green plumage.

Their subtle yet stunning appearance makes them an elusive yet rewarding sight for birdwatchers. Females possess a more muted palette, showcasing grayish-green feathers that provide excellent camouflage in their natural habitat.

With their graceful flight and iridescent allure, Black-chinned Hummingbirds bring an air of enchantment to the landscapes they call home.

A Black-Chinned Hummingbird in flight

Their nests are strategically positioned on slender branches, subtly blending with the surrounding environment. Crafted using a combination of spider silk, plant down, and feathers, their nests reflect a functional approach to shelter construction. This showcases their ability to create a secure nesting space that complements their surroundings.

Nectar extracted from various flowering plants forms a significant portion of their diet, providing essential energy. However, these birds are also adept at capturing insects and spiders in mid-flight. This dietary diversity ensures that they can fulfill their nutritional needs while adapting to the availability of different food sources.

Conservation efforts for the Black-chinned Hummingbird focus on preserving their habitats in the face of changing landscapes. Initiatives include advocating for the cultivation of native plant species and habitat restoration.

Their role as pollinators and their contributions to ecosystem health have emphasized the importance of protecting their populations. By highlighting their significance within the broader ecosystem, conservationists work to ensure the continued existence of this species and the balance it helps maintain.

3. Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 2.75-3.75 in
  • Weight: 2.5-4.5 g
  • Wingspan: 3.5-4.3 in
  • Status: Least Concern           

The Rufous Hummingbird is a charismatic and spirited bird native to North America. Its range spans from Alaska to Mexico, covering a vast expanse of varied habitats. Renowned for its fiery and striking plumage, this bird exhibits an array of vivid rust and copper tones that are particularly prominent in males.

Their iridescent feathers catchthe light, creating a mesmerizing display as they dart through the air. Rufous Hummingbirds are known for their exceptional migratory journeys, traveling thousands of miles between their breeding grounds and wintering areas. A symbol of resilience and natural beauty, these hummingbirds are a delight for bird enthusiasts across their range.

A Rufous Hummingbird spreading its tail feathers on a stick

The nesting behavior of the Rufous Hummingbird is a testament to their audacious spirit and adaptability. These birds chose untraditional nesting sites, often choosing unconventional locations like pendant branches or even utility wires.

Their nests, constructed with a blend of materials including plant down, spider silk, and feathers, reflect their resilience and resourcefulness. This remarkable adaptation allows them to create secure homes even in challenging environments, showcasing their ability to thrive amidst uncertainty.

While nectar serves as their primary source of sustenance, extracted through their slender bills from a variety of flowering plants, these birds exhibit a second skill set – aerial insect hunting. With impressive precision, they capture insects and spiders while in mid-flight.

This dietary dexterity demonstrates their ability to switch between nutritional sources based on availability, underscoring their adaptability to changing circumstances.

The Rufous Hummingbird’s migratory journey has sparked both admiration and concern, leading to focused conservation initiatives. Efforts have been channeled into understanding their migratory patterns and preserving their breeding and resting habitats.

This emphasis on habitat preservation is essential for ensuring the success of their arduous journeys. Conservationists work to ensure the protection of these critical stopover points, highlighting the importance of cooperation and cross-border efforts to secure the future of this remarkable migratory species.

4. Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus platycercus
  • Life span: 7-12 years
  • Size: 3.5-4.3 in
  • Weight: 3-5 g
  • Wingspan: 4.7-5.5 in
  • Status: Least Concern           

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a charismatic and widespread species found across the western regions of North America, including the United States and Mexico. Known for their distinctive tail feathers that fan out widely during flight, these hummingbirds create a unique visual spectacle as they zip through the air.

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds possess iridescent emerald-green plumage with a dazzling rose-pink throat patch that adds a touch of vibrant elegance to their appearance. Females, while less flamboyant, sport similar green hues with subtle streaks.

Their remarkable aerial displays and striking coloration make them a cherished sight for bird enthusiasts across their range.

A Broad-Tailed Hummingbird drinking nectar in flight

These birds construct their nests within leaves and branches, creating a seamless blend with the natural environment. Crafted from materials such as plant down, lichen, and spider silk, their nests reflect a balanced approach that ensures both shelter and ecological compatibility.

Nectar extracted from flowering plants through their slender bills provides the energy they need. In addition to their nectar-rich diet, these birds are skilled at capturing insects in mid-flight. This dietary equilibrium allows them to fulfill both their energy and protein requirements, reflecting their resourceful adaptation to varying food sources.

Conservation efforts for the Broad-tailed Hummingbird revolve around protecting their habitats, particularly in montane forests and meadows. Strategies focus on sustainable land management and the preservation of native plant species.

Recognizing their role as pollinators and their contribution to maintaining ecosystem health underscores the importance of safeguarding their populations and the intricate web of life they are a part of.

5. Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Life span: 3-7 years
  • Size: 2.75-3.25 in
  • Weight: 2-4 g
  • Wingspan: 3.5-4.3 in
  • Status: Least Concern           

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird found in North America and is aptly named after the Greek muse of eloquence and poetry. These petite wonders are mainly found in the western mountainous regions of North America, particularly in states like Montana, Idaho, and Washington.

The males sport a unique and captivating plumage with vibrant magenta streaks on their throats, creating a distinct and eye-catching appearance. Females, on the other hand, exhibit a more subdued palette, blending effortlessly into the floral landscapes they frequent.

Despite their diminutive size, Calliope Hummingbirds are a testament to nature’s ability to craft exquisite beauty in the tiniest of forms.

A Calliope Hummingbird about to land at a bird feeder

The nesting behavior of the Calliope Hummingbird reflects a delicate balance between elegance and practicality. These birds suspend their nests from slender stems, creating a harmonious blend of fragility and functionality.

Constructed using a combination of plant down, feathers, and spider silk, their nests exemplify their ability to create a secure shelter that complements their environment.

Their elongated bills allow them to expertly extract nectar from flowers, forming a primary energy source. In addition to their nectar-rich diet, these birds are skilled insect hunters, capturing insects while in flight. This dietary versatility ensures that they can obtain essential proteins, highlighting their ability to adapt their feeding habits based on the availability of resources.

Conservation efforts for the Calliope Hummingbird focus on understanding and preserving their migratory routes. Initiatives emphasize creating safe migration corridors and protecting their breeding and resting habitats.

By promoting the planting of native plants and advocating for the preservation of vital stopover points, conservationists work to ensure the success of their annual journeys. This underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in safeguarding these remarkable migratory species.

Where to look for Hummingbirds in Alabama

Alabama offers fantastic opportunities for bird enthusiasts to observe hummingbirds. These mesmerizing creatures can be found throughout the state, especially during their migration periods. To spot these tiny wonders, consider the following tips and some prime locations:

  • Gulf Coast: Coastal areas like Dauphin Island and Gulf Shores are excellent spots due to their proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. The hummingbirds often pause here during their migration, seeking nourishment before continuing their journey.
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens: This lush oasis is a favored stop for hummingbirds. The diverse array of flowering plants provides ample food sources, making it an ideal place to observe these birds up close.
  • Monte Sano State Park: Located near Huntsville, this park offers both natural beauty and chances to glimpse hummingbirds. Trails surrounded by wildflowers and gardens attract these birds, providing wonderful opportunities for sightings.
  • Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge: Situated along the Tennessee River, this refuge is a hub for migratory birds, including hummingbirds. The combination of river access and varied ecosystems creates an inviting environment for these small avian wonders.

To maximize your chances of seeing hummingbirds, set up hummingbird feeders filled with a mixture of sugar water. Place them in your garden or balcony, and make sure to keep them clean and filled regularly.

Keep an eye out for vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers, as these are the hummingbirds’ preferred feeding sources in the wild. Remember to be patient and still, as these creatures are skittish and may take time to approach.


From the coastal breezes to the tranquil gardens, these feathered marvels grace the state with their presence during migration. By exploring the suggested locations and adopting simple strategies, one can unveil the delicate dance of these tiny creatures and forge a deeper connection with the natural world.

The allure of hummingbirds in Alabama serves as a reminder of the intricate balance of ecosystems and the wonders they hold.

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