North America Hummingbird Identification Chart

Quick Reference Chart for Hummingbird Identification

Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Use the chart below to correctly identify this hummingbird!. Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

There are 20 hummingbird species that regularly visit the United States and Canada, and while only a few of them regularly breed north of Mexico, vagrant sightings are always possible and knowing how to distinguish between similar species is always useful. While some of these hummingbirds are unique and distinctive, others are very similar and can only be told apart by one or two definitive clues, clues that may not always be easy to see.

The hummingbird identification chart below can help even novice birders narrow down the clues that separate each species, helping improve hummingbird identification skills so every birder feels more confident about the hummers they see.

To use this chart, compare the most noticeable characteristics of hummingbirds you see with the listed notes. This will help you eliminate species from the identification possibilities, and with just a few clues - throat color, bill color and shape, tail color and shape, range and some other distinct features - you will be able to accurately and confidently identify each hummingbird.

Note: The characteristics used below are simplifications for the purpose of easy identification. Male (M) and female (F) distinctions are used where applicable. For more detail, see the complete species profiles for each hummingbird.


Hummingbird Identification Chart

Species Throat Bill Tail Range Other Ruby-Throated
M - Red
F - PlainBlack,
StraightM - Slight Fork
F - White TipsEastOnly hummingbird widely seen in the east Broad-Tailed HummingbirdM - Red
F - StreakedBlack,
StraightRufous patches on sidesInterior WestWhite chin, females show buff flanks, wings make loud metallic trill in flight Rufous
M - Orange-Red
F - Splotched or SpottedBlack,
StraightM - Forked
F - White TipsWest, Southeast in WinterFaint wing trill, very aggressive at feeders, most males have orange upperparts Allen's HummingbirdM - Orange
F - SplotchedBlack,
StraightOrangePacific CoastGenerally shows a green back and orange flanks Costa's
M - Pink
F - PlainBlack,
StraightBroad, Straight AcrossSouthwest, Pacific CoastMales show purple-pink on the forehead and crown Black-Chinned
M - Black and Purple
F - Plain or Faintly StreakedBlack,
StraightSlightly ForkedWidespread in WestActive tail movement while feeding, white collar contrasts with  male's throatViolet-Crowned
HummingbirdPlain WhiteRed with Black Tip,
StraightSlightly curved when spreadSouthwest / RareGenders are similar, both show a blue-purple crownBlue-Throated
HummingbirdM - Blue
F - GrayBlack,
StraightBroad white cornersSouthwest / RareExceptionally large size, white stripe noticeable on face Calliope HummingbirdM - Pink-Magenta Streaks
F - Faintly StreakedBlack,
StraightM - Black
F - White TipsPacific Northwest, Interior WestSmallest of the North American hummingbirdsLucifer
HummingbirdM - Pink-Purple
F - PlainBlack,
DecurvedForkedSouthwest / RareFemales show buff underparts Anna's
M - Pink-Red
F - Streaked or SplotchedBlack,
StraightM - ForkedYear-Round Pacific Coast, SouthwestTail held still while feeding, males show pink-red forehead and crownPlain-Capped
Exceptionally LongSlightly RidgedSouthern Arizona / RareWhite rump patch, white malar streak Magnificent
M - Green-Black or Turquoise
F - Slightly StreakedBlack,
Exceptionally LongStraightSouthwest / RareMales show a purple crown Broad-Billed HummingbirdM - Blue-Green
F - GrayRed Base, Black Tip,
Thick Base,
StraightSlightly ForkedSouthern ArizonaFlips and wags tail when hoveringBerylline
HummingbirdApple GreenBlack above, Reddish below,
StraightRusty RedSouthwestern Arizona / RareRust color prominent in tail and wings Buff-Bellied HummingbirdGreen-BlackRed with Black Tip,
Slightly DecurvedRufous,
RoundedSouth TexasGenders are similar, both show pale buff underparts White-Eared HummingbirdM - Blue-Green
F - Streaked or SpottedRed Base,
Black Tip,
M - Forked
F - StraightSouthwest / RareBroad white ear stripeXantus's
HummingbirdM - Black-Green
F - BuffRed with Black Tip,
StraightRufous-BrownSouthern California / RareBroad bill base, white ear stripe, rich buff underpartsGreen
Violet-EarBright GreenBlack,
StraightBlue-Green with Dark Subterminal BandTexas / RareGenders are similar, both show a blue-purple auricular patchGreen-Breasted
MangoM - Green
F - White with Black Central StripeBlack,
DecurvedM - Reddish Purple
F - White TipsSouth Texas / RareLarge size and overall dark coloration

Want to learn more about each of these hummingbird species? See the complete photo gallery of North American hummingbirds!

Photo – Broad-Billed Hummingbird © Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren