There have been reports of nearly 30 different species of hummingbirds seen in the United States. Some of these are common and can be found in the U.S. every year, while some are rare or only accidental visitors. When it comes to hummingbirds in Oklahoma, we have found 2 species that are common or semi-common and 3 that are more rare. That’s a total of 5 species of hummingbirds that may visit Oklahoma.
5 Hummingbirds in Oklahoma
The 5 species of hummingbirds in Oklahoma are the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, and the Broad-tailed Hummingbird.
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 Oklahoma. 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.
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 Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma from their wintering grounds starting in late March. They will spend the spring and summer and then be mostly gone by late October. The middle of Oklahoma is right along the far western edge of their range. Because of this, they are much more populous east of Oklahoma City.
2. Black-chinned Hummingbird
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, Oklahoma falls along the far edge of their range. Look for them in the spring and summer west of Oklahoma City. Outside of Oklahoma City, other popular areas to see them are around the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the far western edge of the panhandle.
3. 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 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 east after the ruby-throated hummingbird.
Recorded sightings in Oklahoma are scattered throughout the state, and most seemed to occur between August and October. While I wouldn’t call them common, they are probably recorded at least once each year.
4. 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 U.S., however they have been spotted a few times in Oklahoma over the years. Sightings occur mainly in the far western part of the state during the summer months.
5. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
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 very rare for Oklahoma, however a couple have been spotted in the far western portion of the panhandle in Boise City and Kenton. I left them on this list because they are frequently spotted in eastern New Mexico and southern Colorado, very close to the western Oklahoma border. So it is safe to say that sometimes a broad-tailed will wander into the far western areas of the state, especially in the panhandle.
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.