5 Hummingbirds in Massachusetts (With Pictures)

5 Hummingbirds in Massachusetts (With Pictures)

Massachusetts, with its diverse landscapes and temperate climate, is home to several bird species, but none capture the imagination quite like hummingbirds. These remarkable creatures, known for their agility and vibrant plumage, make occasional appearances in the Bay State. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the hummingbirds of Massachusetts, focusing on their behavior, diet, and conservation.

Hummingbirds are small, agile birds that are famous for their ability to hover in mid-air and their rapid wingbeats. Despite their diminutive size, they leave a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to observe them.

Nesting behavior is a crucial aspect of hummingbird life. We’ll explore where these birds choose to build their nests and the materials they use. Additionally, we’ll delve into their dietary habits, which primarily consist of nectar from flowers but also include insects for essential protein.

Conservation is a key concern, as changing habitats and climate affect these delicate creatures. We’ll discuss the ongoing efforts to protect their habitats and ensure their survival in Massachusetts.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird that you will find with certainty. The rest of the birds on this list are rare and only arrive in the state by accident but have however all been seen there!

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
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a captivating avian species found in the eastern regions of North America. Its presence is characterized by the mesmerizing iridescence of its plumage, with males sporting emerald green upperparts and a vibrant ruby-red throat.

In contrast, females exhibit a more understated greenish-gray appearance. These birds are celebrated for their exceptional agility in flight, often hovering like miniature helicopters as they visit a variety of blossoms for sustenance.

A Ruby-Throated hummingbird taking a well-earned rest on a stick

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird constructs its intricate nests with meticulous care. These dainty birds prefer to build their nests in deciduous trees or shrubs, often selecting well-hidden, sheltered locations to protect their precious offspring.

They employ soft materials like plant down, moss, and spider silk, weaving them into a snug cup-shaped nest. The mother fiercely guards her precious eggs and feeds her chicks a diet of nectar and tiny insects until they fledge.

These vibrant emerald and ruby gems primarily sustain themselves on nectar, flitting from one flower to another with astonishing agility. Their specialized, elongated bills and unique hovering ability enable them to extract nectar from flowers with ease. To supplement their sugar-rich diet, they also catch small insects and spiders in mid-air, providing a protein boost essential for their high-energy lifestyle.

While the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is not currently endangered, it still faces threats from habitat loss and climate change. Conservation efforts involve creating and preserving suitable nesting and foraging habitats, as well as raising awareness about the importance of native plants to support their nectar-rich diet.

Bird enthusiasts and researchers work tirelessly to monitor their populations and ensure these dazzling creatures continue to grace our gardens and woodlands.

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
  • State status: Migratory and rare       

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a captivating species found in the western regions of North America. With iridescent green upperparts and an elegant black throat patch in males, they are visually striking.

Their females, in contrast, display a more modest greenish-gray appearance. These birds are agile flyers, often seen darting among flowers, where they feed on nectar.

A Black-Chinned Hummingbird in flight

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a masterful nest builder, crafting tiny cups of woven plant material and spider silk. They often select shrubs or trees as nesting sites, concealed amidst leaves and branches. These meticulous parents incubate their eggs with devotion and feed their young a diet rich in nectar and insects.

This elegant, iridescent bird is primarily a nectar aficionado, favouring a diverse array of flowers. Their striking black throat patch, which gives them their name, is a distinguishing feature as they sip nectar from vibrant blooms. To supplement their diet, they capture tiny insects and spiders mid-air, showcasing their agility and precision.

While the Black-chinned Hummingbird is currently not a threatened species, their populations can be affected by habitat loss. Conservationists work to protect their breeding and foraging habitats, and bird enthusiasts often put up hummingbird feeders to provide additional food sources.

3. 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
  • State status: Migratory and rare       

The Calliope Hummingbird is a tiny, charming bird inhabiting western North America. Their striking iridescent green plumage and vibrant magenta-red throat patch in males make them visually captivating.

Females, on the other hand, exhibit a more understated greenish-gray appearance. These diminutive birds are known for their energetic and acrobatic flight patterns, often performing impressive aerial displays.

A Calliope Hummingbird drinking nectar in flight

The Calliope Hummingbird, the smallest bird in North America, is known for its intricate nest-building skills. They often select coniferous trees, especially spruces and firs, as nesting sites. These nests, delicately constructed with moss, plant fibers, and spider silk, are miniature marvels of avian architecture. Calliope Hummingbird parents tend to their young with tender care, ensuring their survival.

These petite wonders primarily subsist on nectar, preferring small flowers with tubular shapes. Their iridescent green and rose-pink plumage makes them a charming sight as they hover and sip nectar with their specialized bills. Additionally, they capture tiny insects in mid-air, adding protein to their diet.

The Calliope Hummingbird’s habitat is vulnerable to climate change and habitat destruction. Conservation efforts involve protecting their breeding and wintering grounds and advocating for sustainable land management practices. Bird enthusiasts often set up hummingbird feeders to support their survival.

4. 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
  • State status: Migratory and rare       

The Rufous Hummingbird is a fiery gem of the western parts of North America. Known for their fiery rust-coloured plumage, males stand out with their vivid iridescent throat patch, while females exhibit more muted greenish-gray hues.

These hummingbirds are celebrated for their long-distance migrations and remarkable aerial feats. Close up photo of a Rufous Hummingbird sitting on a stick.

Rufous Hummingbird in flight

They prefer to nest in coniferous trees, often perched high above the forest floor. Their nests, constructed with soft plant materials, lichen, and spider silk, provide a cozy haven for their young. These dedicated parents fiercely protect their offspring, ensuring their survival in the wild.

Rufous Hummingbirds are true nectar connoisseurs, visiting a variety of brightly coloured tubular flowers to feed. Their rufous plumage is a testament to their love for fiery-hued blooms. Besides nectar, they actively hunt for tiny insects and spiders, which contribute vital protein to their diet, especially during the breeding season when they need extra energy.

Rufous Hummingbirds are known for their remarkable long-distance migrations, but they face challenges due to habitat destruction along their migration routes. Conservation efforts involve preserving their breeding and wintering habitats, as well as educating the public about the importance of planting native flowers to provide essential nectar sources.

5. Allen’s Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus sasin
  • Life span: 5-8 years
  • Size: 3-3.75 in
  • Weight: 2-4 g
  • Wingspan: 3.5-4 in
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Allen’s Hummingbird is an enchanting coastal bird along the western coast of North America. Males showcase iridescent green upperparts and a dazzling orange-red throat patch, while females maintain a more modest greenish-gray plumage. Known for their territorial behaviour and agile flight, they frequently visit flowers in their habitat.

This Allen’s Hummingbird is about to drink some nectar

Allen’s Hummingbird, with its vibrant green plumage and striking red throat, constructs its nests with precision. They prefer to nest in trees and shrubs, using materials like plant down, lichen, and spider silk to create a cozy cup-shaped nest. These dedicated parents carefully incubate their eggs and feed their chicks a diet of nectar and tiny insects.

Allen’s Hummingbirds are nectar lovers, visiting a variety of flowers to feed. Their dazzling iridescent colors make them a spectacle as they dart between blooms, sipping nectar with their specialized bills. To meet their protein needs, they also capture small insects and spiders in mid-air, showcasing their agility and adaptability.

While Allen’s Hummingbirds are not currently threatened, they face challenges from habitat loss and climate change. Conservation efforts involve preserving their breeding and foraging habitats, as well as educating the public about the importance of planting native flowers to provide essential nectar sources for these magnificent birds.

Where to look for Hummingbirds in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, hummingbirds, particularly the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, can be observed in various locations. To maximize your chances of spotting these fascinating birds, consider visiting areas with a range of habitats or those near the Atlantic Ocean. Key locations include:

  • Flowering Gardens or Woodland Edges: During summer, hummingbirds are commonly found in flowering gardens and along woodland edges. These environments provide ample nectar sources, attracting hummingbirds for feeding.
  • Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary offers diverse habitats, making it an ideal spot for bird watching, including hummingbirds. The varied environments support a range of bird species throughout the year.
  • Long Beach and Manomet Point: These coastal locations are excellent for observing a variety of bird species, including hummingbirds. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean creates a unique ecological niche that supports diverse avian life.
  • Parker River and Sandy Point on Plum Island: Known for their birding opportunities, these locations are good choices for hummingbird enthusiasts. The island’s natural setting provides a habitat conducive to many bird species.
  • Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston: Hummingbirds have been spotted in this central part of Massachusetts. The botanic garden’s diverse plant life is attractive to hummingbirds, making it a favourable spot for observation.

For the best hummingbird watching experience, visit these locations during the summer months when hummingbirds are most active in Massachusetts. Remember to approach quietly and patiently, as hummingbirds are sensitive to disturbance.

Carrying binoculars and a bird guide can enhance your bird watching experience, helping you identify different species and understand their behaviours.


Massachusetts offers a splendid opportunity to observe hummingbirds, particularly the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. From the flowering gardens and woodland edges to the varied habitats of Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary and the coastal regions of Long Beach and Manomet Point, enthusiasts have multiple venues to enjoy these vibrant creatures.

Whether in suburban Boston, Parker River on Plum Island, or the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, the state’s diverse landscapes provide ideal settings for these fascinating birds, highlighting the importance of preserving natural habitats for wildlife and birdwatchers alike.

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