16 Hummingbirds in New Mexico (Common & Rare)

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There have been reports of as many as 27 different species of hummingbirds seen in the United States. Some of these are common can be found every year, while some are rare or accidental visitors. When it comes to hummingbirds in New Mexico, we have found 4 species that are common and 12 that are semi-common or rare. That’s a total of 16 species of hummingbirds in New Mexico, making New Mexico one of the best states to try and spot hard-to-find hummingbirds in America. Sharing a border with Mexico gives New Mexico the advantage of occasionally attracting some hummingbirds that aren’t seen in other states.

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16 Hummingbirds in New Mexico

Based on the range maps of authoritative sources like allaboutbirds.org and ebird.org, we’ve put together a list of hummingbirds that can be seen in the state of New Mexico. 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 4 common species first, and the 12 less common ones last.

Stay tuned at the end of the article for tips on attracting hummingbirds to your yard.

Enjoy!


1. 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. Males have a rosey-magenta colored throat. Females have some green spotting on their throat and cheeks, and buffy colored sides. In far eastern parts of the state you may only catch sight of them during migration, whereas in the central and eastern parts of the state they will stay for the summer to nest.

Broad-tailed hummingbirds are short term visitors in the U.S. so look for them between May and August in meadows and forest clearings in New Mexico’s many national forests and mountain parks. 


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. 

Look for black-chinned hummingbirds throughout New Mexico from spring to fall. 


3. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope

The calliope hummingbird mainly spends its breeding season in the Pacific Northwest and parts of western Canada, but can be spotted in New Mexico during the spring and fall migration. This is 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 only pass through New Mexico during migration. Look for them in national forests, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. 


4. Rufous Hummingbird

It's never too late to start feeding hummingbirds. Here's a quick list of things you'll need to get you started!

  1. Hummingbird feeder poles
  2. 12oz hummingbird feeders
  3. Ant moats (optional)
  4. Make your hummingbird nectar at home
Fill your feeders with the nectar, and put them out! Hummingbirds can start showing up anywhere between late February and early May, depending on where you live.

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 patches and a speckled throat. In the spring they migrate up through California, then summer in the Pacific northwest and Canada, then zip back down through the Rockies in the fall. 

Rufous hummingbirds just pass through New Mexico during migrations. Keep an eye out for them in the spring and late summer. They could pop up anywhere in the state but seem a bit more common in the north and west.


5. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli’s Hummingbird | image by Nate Steiner via Flickr

Scientific name: Eugenes fulgens

The Rivoli’s hummingbird was formerly known as the “magnificent hummingbird”.  Males have a dark purple head with a brighter teal colored throat. Their body is green and brown. Often they can appear overall dark in certain light. Females do not share this coloration and are green above and white below. They are slightly larger than most hummingbirds seen in the U.S., with a longer bill. They are mainly found in Mexico and like shady canyons and mountainous forests. 

New Mexico is one of the only states where Rivoli’s are regular visitors. They are more commonly seen in the Gila national forest, but occasional visit other forested areas of the state. They visit during the spring and summer then return to Mexico in the fall. 


6. Blue-throated Mountain Gem

Blue-throated Mountain Gem | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Lampornis clemenciae

The blue-throated mountain gem is the largest hummingbird species to nest in the United States. Both sexes have two white stripes on the face, a green back and a gray breast. Males have a bright blue throat. In the wild, look for them along flower-lined streams in mountainous areas. They are not common in New Mexico but there seems to be one or two sightings a year during the spring and summer breeding season.    

Best luck to spot one would be in the southern part of New Mexico, but over the years sightings have come from all over the state and there doesn’t seem to be a “hot spot”. 


7. Lucifer Hummingbird

Lucifer Hummingbird | image by Gary Leavens via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Calothorax lucifer

The male lucifer hummingbird sports a magenta-purple throat that extends down onto their upper chest and flares out at the sides. They also have a bill that is curved slightly downwards and a forked tail. Females are green above, pale below with cinnamon on their sides and a cinnamon patch on the upper tail feathers. These hummingbirds are hard to find in the U.S. and are highly sought-after by birders. Their preferred habitat is canyons and scrub with agave and cacti.

Lucifer hummingbirds may visit New Mexico in the spring and summer but are considered rare. Historically the areas with the best chance of spotting them are around the Carlsbad Caverns and in the far southwestern corner along the Arizona border.


8. Ruby-throated hummingbird

Image credit: birdfeederhub

Scientific name: Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are extremely common in the eastern half of the United States, but not in New Mexico. 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. The farthest west they stop to breed is eastern Texas, so those spotted in New Mexico tend to be migrating through on the far edge of their range.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are seen only sporadically in New Mexico, and there is a better chance in the south and east parts of the state during spring or fall migration.


9. Anna’s Hummingbird

anna's hummingbird
photo credit: Becky Matsubara, CC BY 2.0

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 in a few of the western states, such as California, Arizona and Oregon. 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. They are happy in backyards and love gardens and eucalyptus trees. 

Even though Anna’s are commonly found in neighboring Arizona, they are not common in New Mexico. They do stray over the border from time to time though with most sightings being in the southwestern corner bordering Arizona and around Las Cruces during the colder months.


10. Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird| image by Shawn Taylor 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 purplish-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. 

The main sightings of broad-billed hummingbirds are in the far southwestern corner of the state, although there are scattered sightings throughout. 


11. Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird | image by m.shattock via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Selasphorus sasin

These tiny guys fly all the way from Central America to breed along the Pacific Coast in California each year. They have very similar coloring to the Rufous hummingbird so it can be tricky distinguishing the two. Allen’s males are orange with a green back and orangey-red throat. Females have a speckled throat with dull green back and brownish-orange flanks. They migrate quite early compared to other hummingbirds, heading for California in January. 

Allen’s are rare in New Mexico but you may spot them during migration, especially in summer around July or August in the southwest of the state. 


12. White-eared Hummingbird

White-eared Hummingbird | image by Dominic Sherony via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Basilinna leucotis

The white-eared hummingbird is at home in Mexico and Central America, however occasionally they pop up in the southwestern U.S. Both females and males have a dark head with a large white stripe that starts above the eye, a green body and dark wings. Males have an orange beak with black tip, a blueish-green throat and some purple on the face which can look black a lot of the time. 

White-eared hummingbirds are a rare, “accidental” visitor in New Mexico. Some places where they have been spotted include Gila National Forest and Lincoln National Forest.


13. Mexican Violetear (aka Green Violetear)

Mexican Violetear | image by Cephas via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus

The larger Mexican violetear is only common in Mexico and Central America, however they have been spotted in several states in the U.S., especially in the eastern half of Texas. They are larger hummingbirds with an emerald green body, dark wings, and a patch of iridescent purple across their cheek. 

The Mexican violetear is considered quite rare in New Mexico, but it is not impossible that one may stray there from time to time. 


14. Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird | image by Shawn Taylor via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Leucolia violiceps

Common in Mexico, this little beauty has been known to occasionally cross the border into the southwestern U.S. They have a dark gray back, pure white front, purple cap on their head and an orange beak with black tip. 

The violet-crowned hummingbird has mainly been spotted in the southwestern part of New Mexico, but it is pretty rare.


15. Berylline Hummingbird

Berylline Hummingbird| image by Dominic Sherony via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Saucerottia beryllina

The berylline hummingbird has very woodsy colors with a fully green head and chest, brown back, and underparts that are either light or buffy. These Mexican hummingbirds are very rare in the U.S. and have made just a few appearances in  Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. 


16. 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 far southern California. 

Costa’s are usually only spotted during the breeding season in New Mexico, and typically only in the far southern part of the state.



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.