Hummingbirds in Minnesota: Identification and Characteristics

Mexican Violetear hummingbirds in minnesota
There are about 7 recognized species of hummingbirds in Minnesota. However, not a single one is classified as a constant resident of this state. For example, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are seasonal, while Mexican Violetears are accidental visitors.

Rufous, Calliope, Costa’s, Rivoli’s, and Anna’s hummingbirds are also considered rare. Keep reading to learn more about these accidental kinds of hummingbirds in Minnesota.

What Month Do You Start Seeing Hummingbirds?

The spring season in Minnesota usually includes several delights, one of which is the arrival of hummingbirds. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors, and they start arriving in the state around early April to early May.

This kind will stay around for the mating season and nesting. They’ll go back to the south in early August/September.

When Should I Put Out My Hummingbird Feeder in Minnesota?

If you wish to attract some migrant hummingbirds and you live in Minnesota, you can take out the nectar feeders sometime around the first week of May. Keep in mind that you might see warblers or Baltimore orioles before the hummingbirds arrive, and ensure to refill and maintain the feeders properly.

How Many Different Hummingbirds Are in Minnesota?

As mentioned above, the Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors in Minnesota. However, these aren’t the state’s residents. There are also several rare kinds:

  • Rufous Hummingbirds
  • Calliope Hummingbirds
  • Costa’s Hummingbirds
  • Rivoli’s Hummingbirds
  • Anna’s Hummingbirds

In total, there are 7 hummingbird species in Minnesota you might notice:

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds in Minnesota
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, is one of the most common hummingbirds during summer. They start arriving around April/May. Its size goes up to 3.5 inches.

The adult male Ruby-throated hummingbird has a red throat—or gorget—that might look black in the dark. Males also have a bright green back, gray-white underparts, and grayish-green sides.

The female Ruby-throated hummingbird has a metallic green back. However, females miss the ruby-red and have a white throat with gray-brown sides.

This type of hummingbird breeds in eastern North America. After their breeding season is done, they will move toward Central America. Ruby-throated will also breed around the eastern US and go as far as eastern Texas, Oklahoma, and Minnesota. Their winter residence includes South Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.

2. Rufous Hummingbird

This kind of hummingbird, Selasphorus Rufus, is spotted around Minneapolis, and it can sometimes wander in the far north. Keeping the feeder out during winter will make Rufous hummingbirds happy since it’s one of the common wintering hummingbirds.

Its size is around 2.8 to 3.5 inches. This kind breeds around northwest Alaska and migrates to Mexico and the Gulf Coast to spend the winter.

Adult male Rufous hummingbirds come with reddish-brownish back, slightly darker wings, and orange-red gorget. Adult females have green backs with brownish sides and red flecks on their throats. Females also have a somewhat dark tail.

This kind of hummingbird migrates along the Pacific Coast during winter and the Rocky Mountains during summer and fall. Their breeding range is all around Southern Alaska, Washington, Oregon, western Montana, and northern Idaho.

3. Mexican Violetear

Mexican violetears, Colibri thalassinus, are also known as Green violetear hummingbirds. These are medium-sized hummingbirds with rare sightings around Minnesota.

Mexican Violetear hummingbirds are about 3.8 to 4.7 inches long. Males and females look alike and come with metallic green backs and bluish sections on their sides and breasts.

Their breeding grounds include Mexico, Central America, and Nicaragua. They could also be seen in Bolivia or Venezuela, while some may visit southern Texas.

4. Costa’s Hummingbird

Costa’s hummingbird, Calypte costae, is another accidental species in Minnesota. They were last recorded about 10 years ago. Their size is around 3.5 inches.

Adult males come with a purple gorget and crown, green backs, and white bellies. Adult females have similar colors with a bit more whitish belly.

This hummingbird type is a resident of Baja California, Southern California. Their wintering grounds include the Pacific Coast, Mexico, and Arizona. Costa’s hummingbirds mare around Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California.

5. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope hummingbirds belong to the small size hummingbirds and are the smallest bird in the US — they’re only about 3.5 inches long. They’re accidental in Minnesota, last seen in 2016 close to Minneapolis.

Adult male Calliope hummingbirds have purple gorgets and green crowns that spread to their sides and whitish bellies. Adult females have metallic bronze-green backs. Females have more neutral throats with a bit of orange on their breasts.

While migrating, Calliope hummingbirds tend to visit the range from Mexico to Canada. They spend the winter in Mexico, and their breeding grounds include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Vancouver Island

6. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Rivoli’s hummingbirds, Eugenes fulgens, are another accidental species in this state. Their usual grounds are El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and some parts of the US, like southern Arizona and southwestern Texas.

Rivoli’s hummingbirds have a somewhat larger wingspan and are a bit bigger than other hummingbirds, going up to 5.5 inches. This kind is known for its iridescent purple crown and emerald green throats. However, adult females have dull colors gray underparts.

Both have dark tail feathers. Rivoli’s hummingbirds are usual residents in Mexico and Central America. Some may migrate to southern Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas.

7. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna, is named after Anna Massena, the Duchess of Rivoli. They have been seen around only a few times during winter. Anna’s hummingbirds are around 3.9 inches long.

Adult males have a deep rose-red head and grayish-green underparts. Adult females have tiny red feathers on their throats and grayish-green underparts.

This kind is the most common hummingbird type along the Pacific Coast. Their breeding range includes Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona.

Anna's Hummingbirds in Minnesota
Anna’s Hummingbird

Most Common Kinds

There are no regular residents in Minnesota. Still, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common seasonal visitors.

Least Common Kinds

If you’re lucky enough, you might notice the following kinds:

  • Mexican Violetears
  • Costa’s Hummingbirds
  • Rivoli’s Hummingbirds
  • Anna’s Hummingbirds

How Do You Attract Hummingbirds?

You can do several things to get the hummingbirds to visit your garden. Head over to Amazon and order a nectar feeder. Fill it with sugar water nectar and post it outside to provide an additional food source for the birds.

Consider planting some tubular flowers and native plants— hummingbirds love buzzing from one bush to the other. Select a few of these:

Once you’re done with planting, remember to keep the pesticides away. Hummingbirds might eat the toxic bug and become ill.

Finally, create a safe space for your tiny friends by keeping the pets inside. Also, keep the yard as quiet as possible, making a calm and relaxing hummingbird oasis.

Hummingbirds Found in Minnesota Overview

Hummingbirds’ arrival represents the beginning of spring in Minnesota. Still, not a single kind of hummingbird is a state resident. Instead, Ruby-throated hummingbirds only spend the season, while Mexican Violetears are accidental visitors.

Rufous, Calliope, and a few other kinds are considered rare. Luckily, you can always ensure that your garden has the feeders up, so you might get visited by these sweet birds.


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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