There have been reports of nearly 30 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 North Dakota, we have found 1 common species, and 2 species that have visited but are rare. That’s a total of 3 species of hummingbirds you may be able to see in North Dakota.
3 Hummingbirds in North Dakota
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 North Dakota. 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 2 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.
1. Ruby-throated hummingbird
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds in the eastern half of the United States. 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 North Dakota from their wintering grounds starting in May. They stay for the summer and then will be mostly gone by October.
North Dakota is right along the western edge of their range, and because of this they tend to be slightly more populous in the eastern half of the state.
2. Rufous Hummingbird
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 north 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 have shown up at least a few times in nearly every U.S. state.
Recorded sightings in North Dakota are not as frequent as states further east. They are uncommon visitors in the state but there is always a chance one will be spotted.
3. 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 outside of the western U.S., however they have been spotted a few times in North Dakota. I could only find two on record, both during the summer of 2021.
So while very uncommon, a stray does seems to wander over occasionally. This isn’t too surprising considering neighboring Montana has a good population of them in the forested western half 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.