Hummingbirds Found in Indiana: Identification And Characteristics

hummingbirds in indiana
There are a total of 7 kinds of hummingbirds in Indiana. There is one year-round species of hummingbird - the ruby-throated hummingbird. Followed by the seasonal Rufous and Allen's Hummingbird Visitors. Rare species include: anna's, black-chinned, calliope, and the Mexican violetear hummingbirds. 

There are a total of 7 kinds of hummingbirds in Indiana. These seven kinds are divided into three categories — natives, seasonal, and rare. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common hummers you’ll see if you live in this state, while Green-violetear belongs to the rare species of hummingbirds.

Several other species of hummingbird also spend the summer months in central Indiana. Keep reading to learn more about the breeding grounds of hummingbirds in this state.

Hummingbirds in Indiana

The Hoosier State is home to a total of 7 species of hummingbirds. There are three categories of hummingbirds in Indiana: native hummingbirds, seasonal, and rare. According to Indiana’s birdwatchers, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most commonly sighted, accounting for 22% of submitted bird-watching checklists.

Their breeding season starts around April, late March when the birds start arriving from their spring migration. The season ends in the final days of September when hummingbirds begin the fall migration towards the south.

Most Common Kinds

Ruby-throated is the year-round guest in Indiana. It resides in this state and is considered a native hummingbird species.

Least Common Kinds

Seasonal and rare hummingbirds species in Indiana include:

  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Allen’s Hummingbird
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Calliope Hummingbird
  • Mexican-violetears Hummingbird

They might also breed with one another and create hybrids.

male ruby-throated hummingbird with bright green feathers on the back, a crown, a white-gray underside, and a red throat.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris, known as the Ruby-throated hummingbird, is the most frequent visitor to Indiana. They’re about 2.8 to 3.5 inches in size. You might notice them from late March, and they could stay around until December. Males tend to arrive a few weeks before females to prepare for the breeding season.

This kind has bright green feathers on the back, a crown, a white-gray underside, and a red throat. Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds have green backs and white underneath. They also have brown crowns and sides. Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds are usually aggressive and defend their flowers and nectar feeders.

The Ruby-throated type often breeds in eastern North America. Their migration route includes Central America; some may head to the Gulf of Mexico or Texas. During summer, they’ll be happy to visit your garden and fly from one nectar source to another, catching insects from spider webs. Ruby-throated hummingbirds will perch on nectar feeders, if you have one – since they can’t walk.

Female anna's hummingbird
Female anna’s hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbirds are accidental species in Indiana, seen only in Highland in 2020. They’re around 3.9 inches in size. Male adults have iridescent red-pink throats, while adult females are green and gray. You’ll recognize the males by their tail feathers’ sound while they dive in their courtship displays.

Their summer and winter routes involve British Columbia and Baja California. Backyards and parks are common habitats, but they also like scrub and savannah. Anna’s hummingbird will eat nectar, small insects, spiders, tree sap, and similar foods.

Female rufous hummingbird
Female rufous hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Selasphorus Rufus, or Rufous hummingbirds, belong to Indiana’s near-threatened kinds of hummingbirds. Still, there are reports of it seen in Perry County, Indiana in 2022. The male rufous hummingbird boasts a beautiful bright orange color gorget and subtle orange around their backs and bellies. They also have a white patch below their throats.

Females are green-brown on the back, with a bit of rusty color on the sides. Their size goes from 2.8 to 3.5 inches. They usually feed on nectar from flowers but will also eat insects. Their preferred habitats are coniferous forests and mountain meadows. Rufous hummers are very aggressive and will chase off most other hummingbirds if they have the chance.

Rufous hummingbirds breed in northwest Alaska and Canada during summer and then head to Mexico and Gulf Coast to spend the winter. Their migration route also includes the Rocky Mountains.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s hummingbirds are seasonal visitors to Indiana. You’ll usually see them near feeders during fall migration. Common sightings are around southern Indiana. Their size is about 3.5 inches. Adult males have an iridescent orange-red gorget with greenish backs and foreheads. If you were to spread their tail feathers, you’d see their chocolate-colored tips.

Adult females and young hummingbirds have a similar color to males. This makes them so similar to adult males that it’s almost impossible to distinguish them only by appearance. They usually reside and nest along the California coast but spend the winter in Mexico. Their dive display is one of the most complex displays of all North American hummingbirds.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

The black-chinned hummingbird is another accidental kind of hummer seen in Hidden Valley Lake, Indiana, in 2021. They’re about 3.5 inches in size, and adult males have metallic green on their backs, with pale gray underneath. Their gorget is black with a thin purple spread. Adult females aren’t that colorful and have white tips on their tail feathers.

Their migration occurs from March to September, and their route is towards western Mexico, southern California, and the Gulf Coast. They’ll breed inland in western states — British Columbia and Baja California. They often return to their favorite perch and will eat insects, nectar, and spiders.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope hummingbirds are considered an accidental kind of hummingbird in the state of Indiana. They were last seen in Vanderburgh in 2014, although some claim they’ve been around Indianapolis. They’re the smallest bird in the US but still manage to fly 5,000 miles annually — from Mexico to Canada and back. Adult males have magenta throats, green backs, and dark tails.

Adult females lack the color and have pinkish-white underneath. They arrive in Indiana in mid-April. Their fall migration involves the Rocky Mountains, and they find wintering grounds in Mexico. Their spring migration path includes the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast. Their breeding areas include Colorado, California, Alberta, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia.

Mexican Violetear

The Mexican violetear hummingbird species is extremely rare to see in Indiana, last spotted in 2011. The Mexican violetear is about 3.8 to 4.7 inches and belongs to medium-sized hummingbirds. Adult males come in beautiful metallic greens and blues, with violet spots on their heads and breasts.

Its color is somewhat similar to a Broad-billed hummingbird. Mexican Violetears usually breed in Mexican forests, Central America, and Nicaragua. Sometimes, they can be seen in the mountains of Bolivia and Venezuela. Some Mexican Violetears might get into the US and fly towards Texas.

How Do I Attract Hummingbirds to My Garden?

If you wish to get some hummingbirds in your garden, start by growing some nectar-producing tubular plants native to Indiana to help them find additional food sources. Include feeders with sugar water to provide more food sources and remove pets that could hunt the hummers.

You can also add a birdbath to help the hummingbirds refresh and avoid using pesticides in your yard. If you want to have regular hummingbird sighting, consider design a hummingbird friendly garden. Remember — most of the species mentioned above are highly territorial, so they’ll love having a few more flowers to conquer.

What Time of Year Should I Put Out My Hummingbird Feeder?

If you wish to host hummingbirds, know that the hummingbirds do not start arriving in Indiana before April. Still, some species may arrive in March to prepare their territory for breeding. This is why it’s ideal for putting up your hummingbird feeders in late March.

When the season comes to an end and early December comes, you can take the feeders with sugar water down if you don’t see any hummingbird around for two weeks.

Final Word

Indiana is home to a total of 7 hummingbird species. If you live in this state, you’ll most likely enjoy the company of Ruby-throated hummers. They are the most common kind, and you’ll recognize them by bright green feathers on the back, a crown, and a white-gray underside.

However, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll see the rarest kind — Green-violetears. They’re the least common in Indiana and come in beautiful metallic greens and blues, so you can’t miss them.


Mileva has a passion for writing and she loves to share her thoughts in all forms. Observing wildlife — birds and other untamed animals soothes her soul. This is why you’ll often find her staring at the closest forest, looking for inspiration for her next article.

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