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8 Hummingbirds in Kansas (Common and Rare)

There have been reports of nearly 30 different species of hummingbirds seen in the United States. While many of these are common and can be found in the U.S. every year, some are rare or only accidental visitors. When it comes to hummingbirds in Kansas, we have found 1 species that is pretty common, 2 species that are semi-common, and 5 that are more rare. That’s a total of 8 species of hummingbirds that may visit Kansas.

8 Hummingbirds in Kansas

Based on the range maps of authoritative sources like allaboutbirds.org and ebird.org, we’ve put together a list of hummingbirds most likely to be seen in the state of Kansas. For each species in this list you’ll find the species name, pictures of what it looks like, specifications about appearance, and where and when you may be able to spot them. We will list the most common species first and the rare ones last. 

Stay tuned at the end of the article for tips on attracting hummingbirds to your yard, and visit this article to find out when hummingbirds will be returning to your state.

Enjoy!


1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Scientific name: Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds in the eastern half of the United States, including Kansas. They have a green back and white underparts. Males have a ruby red throat that can look black in certain lighting.

Each spring they enter the country in droves from their wintering grounds in Central America. Many of them fly over the Gulf of Mexico in one non-stop flight! Ruby-throated hummingbirds are fairly easy to attract to backyards with nectar feeders and flowers.  

Ruby-throated hummingbirds will start to appear back in Kansas from their wintering grounds starting in late March. They will spend the spring and summer and then be mostly gone by late October. The far western edge of the ruby’s range goes right through the middle of Kansas. Because of this, they are much more populous in the eastern half of the state, and only sporadic in the western half. 


2. Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird | image by Bettina Arrigoni via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri

Black-chinned hummingbirds migrate north from Mexico and Central America each year and breed in the western United States. Males throat color looks plain black in most light, however they do have a small strip of purple feathers along the bottom that is sometimes visible.

Females appear like most hummingbird females, green above and pale below with a plain throat. They are widespread among many habitats from deserts to mountain forests and like to perch on bare branches. 

While they are a bird of the west coast, Kansas is close to the edge of their range so they will occasionally pass into the state, especially in western Kansas. Look for them in the spring and summer. 


3. Rufous Hummingbird

Image: Avia5 | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus

Rufous hummingbirds are known for being very “feisty” when it comes to sharing feeders and chasing off other hummers. Males are orange all over with a white patch on the upper breast and an orange-red throat. Females are green with rusty side patches and a speckled throat.

In the spring they migrate north into the U.S. through California, spend the summer in the Pacific northwest and Canada, then zip back south through the Rockies in the fall. While the rufous is considered a hummingbird of the western U.S., they are probably the second most commonly sighted species in the eastern half of the country, after the ruby-throated hummingbird.

Recorded sightings in Kansas are scattered throughout the state, and most seemed to occur between August and October. While I wouldn’t call them common, there are probably at least a few seen each year.


4. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope

The calliope hummingbird winters in Central America, then mainly spends its breeding season in the Pacific Northwest and parts of western Canada. That’s an impressively far migration, especially considering the calliope is the smallest bird in the United States!

Males have a unique throat pattern of magenta stripes that fork down on the sides. Females are plain with some green spotting on the throat and peachy tinted underparts.  

Calliope Hummingbirds are considered rare in the eastern and central U.S., however they have been spotted a few times in Kansas over the years. Sightings occur mainly in the western part of the state between July and October. 


5. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird | image by Juan Zamora via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Selasphorus platycerus

Broad-tailed hummingbirds love the mountains and breed at elevations up to 10,500 feet. These elevations are often quite cool, especially overnight. The broad-billed hummingbird enters an energy-saving state called torpor. This slows down their metabolism and is similar to a hibernation, allowing them to deal with cold nighttime temps. Their summer breeding range is scattered throughout states such as Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Males have a rosey-magenta colored throat. Females have some green spotting on their throat and cheeks, and buffy colored sides. 

Broad-tailed hummingbirds would be considered rare for Kansas, however a couple have been spotted over the years, typically during late summer. They are frequently spotted in neighboring Colorado, so it is safe to say that sometimes a broad-tailed will wander into Kansas and you might have a chance of spotting one.


6. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

Scientific name: Calypte anna

Anna’s actually stay in the U.S. all year within most of their range, however you’ll only find them regularly in a few of the western states like California, Oregon and Washington. The green of their feathers tends to be a bit brighter and more iridescent than most others, and even their chest and belly are sprinkled with emerald feathers. Males have rosy-pink throats and those colorful feathers extend up onto their forehead. 

Anna’s are pretty uncommon in the eastern or central U.S., but they do stray from time to time. According to eBird about a half dozen have been recorded in Kansas over the years, usually between September and January. So if you keep your eyes peeled during the fall and winter you may get lucky and spot the rare Anna’s.


7. Broad-billed Hummingbird 

Broad-billed Hummingbird | image by Heather Paul via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Cynanthus latirostris

The only two states in the U.S. where the broad-billed hummingbird is known to breed are Arizona and New Mexico. Males are hard to mistake with their purpleish-blue throat and blueish-green belly. They also have an orange beak with a black tip. Females are a washed out green above and grayish below with the typical black beak. 

While broad-billed hummingbirds are considered very rare outside of the southwestern U.S. they occasionally pop up in other states. Kansas has had just a few recorded sightings, typically during the non-breeding season. So while they would be an unlikely find in the state, there’s always a possibility of a vagrant. 


8. Costa’s Hummingbird 

Costa’s Hummingbird | image by Mike’s Birds via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Calypte costae

Male Costa’s are known for their deep purple faces. They have a splash of purple on their foreheads as well as their throat, with purple feathers flaring out on both sides like a mustache. Females are green above with white below. Costa’s are compact and compared to other hummingbirds have slightly shorter wings and tail. They can be found year-round in Baja and southern California.

Costa’s hummingbirds are rare outside of the U.S. southwest, but occasionally they wander all the way over to Kansas. I found just two recorded sightings in the state, so a visit from Costa’s would be quite rare indeed. Both occurred during October so keep an eye out during the late fall and early winter. 



Attracting Hummingbirds To Your Yard

1. Hang Hummingbird Feeders

Perhaps the best way to attract hummingbirds is to hang a nectar feeder in your yard. Hummingbirds need to eat constantly and finding a reliable source of nectar is essential. Choose a feeder that has the color red on it, and is easy to take apart and clean. In hot weather, cleaning and refilling need to be done more than just once a week. We recommend a saucer shaped feeder for most people. They are super easy to clean, work great, and don’t hold an excessive amount of nectar.

You can also check out our top 5 favorite hummingbird feeders for a variety of styles. 

2. Make Your Own Nectar

Avoid unnecessary (and sometimes dangerous) additives and red dyes by making your own nectar. It’s cheap, super easy and quick. All you need to do is add plain white sugar to water in a 1:4 ratio (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water). We have an easy how-to article on making your own nectar without having to boil the water.

3. Plant Native Flowers 

Aside from a feeder, plant some flowers in your yard who’s blooms will attract passing hummingbirds. They are especially attracted to flowers that are red (as well as orange, pink and purple), and flowers with trumpet or tubular shaped blossoms. To maximize your space try some vertical planting. An obelisk trellis or a flat trellis attached to the side of your house can provide a great vertical surface for long cascading vines of flowers. Check out these 20 plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds. 

4. Provide Water

Hummingbirds need water for drinking and bathing. Although they may find traditional bird baths too deep, they will use baths with the right “specifications”. Check out these great options for hummingbird baths you can buy, or ideas to DIY something perfect for your yard.    

5. Promote Insects

Most hummingbirds can’t live on sugar alone, they also need to eat protein. Up to a third of their diet is small insects. This includes mosquitoes, fruit flies, spiders and gnats. Help out your hummers by staying away from pesticides. For more tips on insect feeders and ways you can help feed insects to hummingbirds check out our 5 easy tips

 

About Melanie

Melanie has been a birding hobbyist for years and loves feeding and photographing birds of all types.