6 Species of Hummingbirds in Indiana (ID with Pictures)

You know a hummingbird when you see it. They’re incredibly unique birds. Not just because of their bright feathers, but their unique method of zipping around in the air and feeding as they hover like little helicopters at flowers.

Most hummingbirds are hardy travelers who will fly across multiple states in search of food. Some even fly across the ocean without stopping, fueled by the nectar that they’ve stored up. Hummingbirds mostly breed and nest in warmer climates but they’ll head to northern areas now and then during the summer as they migrate across North America.

While the ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common in Indiana, you can also see many other beautiful species, known as vagrant or accidental species, that will rarely visit. 

Hummingbirds are a New World group of birds, meaning they only live in South, Central, and North America. Within North America, there are 16 native species of hummingbirds and a few visiting species. Of those, just one is common in Indiana, while five others will pop by.

Here is the list of species of hummingbirds in Indiana:

  1. Ruby Throated Hummingbird
  2. Black-Chinned Hummingbird
  3. Mexican Violetear
  4. Rufous Hummingbird
  5. Anna’s Hummingbird
  6. Calliope Hummingbird

6 Types of Hummingbirds in Indiana

Hummingbirds visit every part of North America, but Indiana is lucky enough to have five vagrant species that pop in once in a while. Here are the six species you might see:

1. Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
  • Size: 2.8-3.5 inches long
  • Weight: 0.1-.02 ounces 
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 inches

Say “hello” to the most common – by far – hummingbird in all of Indiana. In fact, this is the only breeding hummingbird in the eastern part of North America, and the only non-migratory hummingbird in the state.

The male birds are easy to identify by their bright red throats. If you notice a bird that looks somewhat like a ruby-throated, but the throat looks dark red, it’s likely just because the feathers aren’t in good light. Wait until the sunlight hits them, and you’ll see that shining bright throat.

Otherwise, these birds are emerald or golden-green on their backs and grayish-white on the underside. The beaks are black.

These bold birds are frequent visitors to feeders and if you have the chance to watch their antics, take it. They are incredibly agile. They can stop instantly in the air, hover up, down, side-to-side, and backward. Not only do they feed at feeders and in tubular flowers, but they’ll snatch insects out of the air or from webs, as well.

These generalists live in parks, gardens, backyards, meadows, fields, forests, and woodlands.

They fly away in the fall to winter in Central America and they actually fly across the Gulf of Mexico in one single flight without stopping. Very impressive! 

When Do They Arrive In and Leave Indiana?

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only non-migratory hummingbirds in Indiana. They prefer warmer regions, but they aren’t scared to hang out even in the colder months.

You can see them most often during the breeding season throughout Indiana, which takes place from March to July, but they might be found any time of year.

2. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Black-Chinned Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Size: 3.5 inches long
  • Weight: 0.1-.02 ounces 
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

Black-chinned hummingbirds get their name from the black throat with an iridescent purple base that males have. Females, on the other hand, have pale throats, along with white tips on their outer tail feathers.

Some hummingbirds stand out because of their brilliant coloring, but black-chinned are just a bit more subdued. They only have a thin strip of iridescent purple on the chin, but otherwise, they’re dull metallic Creek with a dull grayish-white best. Females have pale throats and males have black throats. Both have black bills.

These petite birds are frequent visitors to hummingbird feeders, where they dart in and out taking deep sips. They also sit on top of telephone wires and treetops to survey their territory. If a wandering hummingbird tries to enter their territory, the original bird will chase them off. Males can even dive up to 100 feet at a time to defend their territory and show off to females during the breeding time.

They live anywhere they can find a safe spot to nest, which makes them generalists. They might live in a forest, a desert, or in urban shrubs. Recent surveys show that their range has been shrinking, with populations in Louisiana and Wyoming becoming threatened.

Breeding season starts in the early spring and they build their nests in April and May, with a second nesting period in July. The males court the females with dramatic diving displays and they breed throughout western North America. They’ll also visit the Gulf Coast during the winter. They nest in the spring and are one of the more common hummingbirds to find in their native range.

These are frequent visitors to feeders and they’ll snag any insects they find nearby, including ants that hang out on your feeder. They also eat the sap from flowers.

Hang a feeder in your yard to increase your chances of seeing them, and plant their favorite foods, including ​​tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca), scarlet larkspur (Delphinium cardinale), and desert ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens).

When Do They Arrive In and Leave Indiana?

Black-chinned hummingbirds only visit Indiana during the summer and fall as they migrate.

3. Mexican Violetear

Mexican Violetear
  • Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus
  • Size: 5.25 inches long
  • Weight: 0.21 ounces 
  • Wingspan: 4.25 inches

Formerly known as the green violet-eared hummingbird, these are large for hummingbirds and can be nearly five-and-a-half inches long. Combined with their bright green bodies and violet streaks on the chest and cheeks, it’s easy to spot them as they flit about pine forests and roadsides.

They will visit birdfeeders, but they like to stay hidden as they eat, so if your feeder is out in the open they might not hang out much.

Their populations are concentrated in the southwest US and all of Mexico down through parts of Central America, but these birds are wanderers. You’ll find them as far north as Canada and occasionally across the midwest and Atlantic Coast.

When they pop up in states like Indiana, it’s known as an “accidental” visit. It doesn’t mean that the bird didn’t know where it’s going, though. It’s just a term that birders use to describe a species that visits an area where they aren’t normally seen. 

When Do They Arrive In and Leave Indiana?

There’s no telling when you might see a Mexican violetear, but watch for them primarily during the summer.

4. Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Size: 2.8-3.5 inches long
  • Weight: 0.1-.02 ounces 
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

Rufous means “reddish” and that’s what these birds are. When the sunlight hits them, they glow like a lump of burning coal, with a reddish back and a vivid red throat. The females have a little bit of green on their tails and flanks, plus a little spot of orange on their throats.

Even though these birds might just be visiting an area as they migrate, they’re fierce defenders of the area they are in. They will tirelessly chase off any hummingbird that dares come near. They’ll even chase off bigger birds of other species and they’ll dive-bomb humans who come too close to their feeder or nest.

Like ruby-throated hummingbirds, they’re incredibly agile and will feed from feeders and tubular flowers, as well as snatch insects from the air or spider webs. They live in backyards, forests, meadows, and parks. 

In the spring, they leave to their breeding grounds on the west coast where they stay from April to July.

When Do They Arrive In and Leave Indiana?

These hummingbirds aren’t common in Indiana. They usually pass through in the fall as they head from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf Coast.

5. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird perching on a bird feeder
  • Scientific name: Calypte anna 
  • Size: 3.9 inches long
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounces 
  • Wingspan: 4.7 inches

If you live along the Pacific coast, then no doubt you’ve seen the stunning Anna’s hummingbird. They’re one of the most common species in the region and they live there all year long. They’ll also travel inland a bit during the breeding season and some will migrate to Mexico during the non-breeding season.

Look for the greenish-gray birds with iridescent feathers. Males have reddish-pink chins and heads.

When they’re breeding, the males will swoop down up to 130 feet, making a buzzing noise with their tail feathers in an attempt to impress the females.

These birds are bold and curious and will come right up to humans to check them out. They’ll eat at feeders, snatch insects, and suck the sap of tubular flowers.

When Do They Arrive In and Leave Indiana?

If you live in Indiana, summer is when you might be able to spot them. They’re an accidental visitor and have only been seen a few times in Indiana.

6. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope hummingbird on the fuchsia flowers
  • Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Size: 2.8-3.9 inches long
  • Weight: 0.07-0.1 ounces 
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches

Calliope hummingbirds are very rare in Georgia, but you might get lucky and see one of these non-natives to the state. They’re far more common in the Pacific Northwest, California, parts of the west, and Canada.

They breed in western Canada, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Utah and they spend the non-breeding season in Mexico.

The males of these beautiful birds have magenta feathers on their throats and both females and males have iridescent green feathers on their backs. The male courts the female by diving in an acrobatic u-shape while making a buzzing sound with his tail feathers. They breed from April to June.

While they will eat from feeders, they tend to be a bit more timid than some other hummingbirds. They aren’t afraid of other birds, though. They’re even known to chase away red-tailed hawks.

They’ll eat the sap from flowers, but they’re also fond of the sap on trees left by sapsuckers and they’ll also eat insects and spiders.

When Do They Arrive In and Leave Indiana?

These tiny birds, the smallest hummingbirds in North America, might arrive in the summer and stick around through fall.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

To attract hummingbirds to your yard, pick feeders that have a little perch so you can observe them holding still as well as in flight.

Contrary to common belief, the feeder doesn’t have to be red. These birds don’t care about the color, they just want a nice meal. You can grab a beautiful feeder with perches from Bolite. Don’t die the nectar, either. Clear nectar is totally fine.

You can also use pre-made nectar to attract them. Just be sure to change the nectar frequently and wash the feeder out with hot water and soap. When it’s really hot, you should change your feeder daily. During cooler weather, once a week is fine.

Feeders left uncleaned develop a mold that can kill hummingbirds.

Some experts also recommend that you put your feeders away in regions that get cold during the winter so you don’t accidentally entice tropical birds to stick around during the winter.

You should also plant stuff like firebush, fuchsia, honeysuckle, cardinal flowers, fire pink, wild bergamot, columbine, red buckeye, trumpet vine, and powder puff trees. Hummingbirds love these.

Other Species of Birds in Indiana:

Woodpeckers in Indiana

Owls in Indiana

Leave a Comment