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 Utah, we have found 4 species that are common or semi-common, and 5 that have been spotted in Utah more than once but are considered rare. That’s a total of 9 species of hummingbirds in Utah, making Utah a pretty good state to see some of America’s hummingbird species.
9 Hummingbirds in Utah
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 Utah. The most common Utah hummingbirds are black-chinned hummingbirds, broad-tailed hummingbirds, rufous hummingbirds and calliope hummingbirds. For each species in this list you’ll find the species name, pictures and specifications about appearance, and where and when you may be able to spot them. We will list the 4 more common species first, and the 5 less common 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. 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.
Look for black-chinned hummingbirds throughout Utah from spring to fall. Utah is one of only a few state’s where the black-chinned hummingbird will spend it’s summer breeding season.
2. 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. They can also be seen in many western states 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.
For the eastern and western third of the state, calliope hummingbirds mainly just pass through during migration. However in the central portion of the state some will stick around for the summer. Most recorded sightings on ebird occur between the cities of Provo and Logan. However there are also a cluster of sightings that occur in the southwestern corner of the state in late summer around the national parks such as Zion, Bryce, Dixie national forest and Red Cliffs.
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 patches and a speckled throat. In the spring they migrate up through California, spend their summer in Oregon, Washington and Canada, then zip back down through the Rockies in the fall.
Rufous hummingbirds can commonly be seen throughout Utah, but typically they only migrate through the state. The best time to catch them is during their fall migration back south when they pass through Utah in late July, through August and early September.
4. Broad-tailed hummingbird
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. One of the best places to spot them are in mountain meadows feeding on the nectar of wildflowers. They are able to endure cold nights by slowing their heart rates and entering a hibernation-like sleep called torpor.
Utah is one of only a few U.S. states where broad-tailed hummingbirds come to breed for the summer. Compared to some other hummingbird species, their time in the U.S. is relatively short. They can be found throughout Utah, so look for them between April and August.
5. 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 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.
Anna’s are not commonly found in Utah, however some rare sightings do occur throughout the state. But there is a small pocket in the far southwest of Utah where they do seem to visit somewhat frequently and there are sightings every year. This area includes Zion and the towns around the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area such as Ivin, Santa Clara, St. George and Washington.
6. Costa’s Hummingbird
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. In the U.S. they can mainly be found in Baja, southern California, southern Nevada and western Arizona.
While considered rare in Utah, there are still sporadic sightings of them in the state. Most of the recorded sightings I saw were in the southwestern corner in Zion National Park and the area south of Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. It is likely the population of southern Nevada costa’s trickling over the border.
7. Ruby-throated hummingbird
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are extremely common in the eastern half of the United States, but not in the west. 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 those bound for the eastern states cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single flight.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are seen only sporadically in states west of the Mississippi River. They are considered quite rare in Utah and there are only a few recorded sightings that I saw on ebird.
8. Broad-billed Hummingbird
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.
Broad-billed hummingbirds are considered quite rare for Utah however I did find a few sightings that have occurred in the southwestern corner of the state. Likely some stray broad-billed hummingbirds from Arizona that wander over the border.
9. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
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.
Rivoli’s hummingbird has been spotted only a few times in Utah making it very rare for the state. This mainly occurs at the southern border with stray rivoli’s from Arizona and New Mexico wandering across state lines.
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.