Species of Missouri hummingbirds include (in the order of most common to most uncommon): the Ruby-throated hummingbird, Rufous hummingbird, Anna's hummingbird, black-chinned hummingbird, Calliope hummingbird, Allen's hummingbird, and the Broad-tailed hummingbird. Most hummingbirds are passing, and only one is commonly nesting in Missouri.
If you’re unsure how to distinguish a hummingbird from another, this list of common Missouri hummingbirds will come in handy. So put your hummingbird feeders out, and start spotting sightings of these majestic creatures!
Many Missouri hummingbirds can steal your heart, so why not put a name on them so that you can spot your favorite (and brag to your friends about your knowledge of hummingbirds!)
Table of Contents
Categories of Hummingbirds
There are several species of hummingbirds found in North America that are residents of these territories year-round. Hummingbirds in general have migratory patterns that aid them in their survival and propagation over time. Hummingbirds are essential to the plant life all across the americas, and so they travel thousands of miles feeding and pollinating flowerings plants frequently.
In Missouri, most hummingbirds species are seasonal migrants, with one species commonly breeding in these territories, known as the ruby-throated hummingbird. Other species of hummingbirds may be passing during their migration journey or accidentally fly into this range. These Missouri hummingbird sightings can be classified into three groups:
- Frequently Found – birds that reside in Missouri (year-round residents)
- Seasonal Migrants – birds that spend some time in Missouri (maybe a season or more)
- Accidental Vagrants (Rare) – birds that sometimes migrate to Missouri; more geographic ranges
Ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)
The most common species of hummingbirds found in Missouri – Ruby-throated hummingbirds typically arrive in April and stay until September. They migrate along the Pacific Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Rocky Mountains. They often reside in Missouri during the summer (when you’re most likely to spot them) but go to Mexico when the weather gets cold.
Like most hummingbirds, these pollinators are attracted by any red or orange tubular flower, so they love trumpet creeper, honeysuckles, cardinal flowers, red columbine, royal bergamot, and red buckeye. They also eat a lot of small insects, like mosquitoes, gnats, and fruit flies. They sometimes snatch some insects from spider webs or mid-air. Appearance: males have a red throat and green back with grey areas on the belly. The female looks less impressive and has a white and green throat, greenback, and white belly.
Published in 1982, this study determined that the Trumpet creeper plant, a hardy deciduous vine native to eastern united states; propagated successfully with the help of the Ruby-throated hummingbirds, despite the effort of other pollinators:
“Only 1–9% of flowers produced mature fruits at four sites in Illinois and Missouri… Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) deposited ten times as much pollen per stigma per visit as honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus spp.). Fruit set was highest where rubythroat visitation was most frequent.”Floral Biology, Hummingbird Pollination and Fruit Production of Trumpet Creeper (Campsis Radicans, Bignoniaceae) – Robert I. Bertin
Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus Rufus)
Rufous hummingbirds are often aggressive birds, especially if they spot other birds around their food sources – you’ll often see them fight near nectar feeders. Rufous hummingbirds are the greatest migrators; they usually travel 6275 km from Mexico to Alaska. And they make this trip twice a year!
Smaller than other hummingbirds. True to its name, the Males appearance has a copper-colored back and sports a beautiful iridescent orange or red throat. Females have a green throat and back, but their sides also have patches of copper. Rufous hummingbirds are typically seen in Missouri only during hummingbird migration.
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
Allen’s hummingbirds are frequent residents in Mexico and Los Angelos. A lot of these birds are starting to reside in California all year. Before, they used to go to Mexico during the winter, like many other hummingbirds. The male can have an orangey-yellow or red-orange throat, a greenback, and rufous spots on the belly and tail.
Allen’s hummingbirds are generally spotted in Missouri accidentally when the species flies out of its range. The female has the same coppery-green back but lacks the colorful iridescent throat. They resemble the Rufous hummingbird the most – because of their orange gorget, but the Allen hummer has narrow outer tail feathers.
Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna)
The homebody of birds, Anna’s hummingbird usually stays all year in the U.S. or Canada. You can recognize them more quickly, if you are familiar with spotting hummingbirds as Anna’s hummingbirds are larger than other species of hummingbirds. The male has a pinkish-red throat, a metallic green back, and a gray underside. Females are duller: they have a green back, gray chest, and some white and red spots on the throat.
Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)
Males sport an iridescent ruby-red gorget. Females have green throats. The back, head, and tail are green, and the belly is white – in both males and females. They usually prefer high-elevation areas and like to breed in high meadows. They typically reside in Mexico. Come springtime; they migrate to Colorado, Idaho, and even Montana.
Calliope hummingbirds(Stellula calliope)
The Calliope hummingbird is a rare sighting in Missouri, the typical range includes the migration from its mating grounds inland down the rocky mountains, and back up from its wintering grounds via the pacific coast. These birds are typically found in meadows and forest amongst willow or alder trees. Calliope hummingbirds like other hummingbirds usually have a favorite feeding spot and or flower bush that they defend aggressively.
This is the smallest bird that you can see in North America. It’s easy to recognize the male by its magenta-purple throat. The rest of the body is gray and green. Females have a greenback and a slightly orange belly. The gorget on this hummingbird is the only one that looks like it has stripes of the brilliant iridescent coloring.
Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
The black-chinned hummingbird is adaptable to many habitat environments and can be found amongst mountainous or desert terrain where there are flowering shrubs, vines, and brush. Black-chinned hummingbirds cover a lot of ground during their lifetime and can be found in several locales including Nevada, California, Arizona, Texas and north Mexico.
This species does travel as far north as British Colombia during their mating season. To see a black-chinned hummingbird in Missouri would be a rare sighting. The male has a sparkly black throat with purple edges that you can see clearly in the right light. The back and chest are green. The female has a green back and pale body.
Green Violetear Hummingbirds (Colibri thalassinus)
Green-violetears usually reside in Mexico or Central America but can migrate to the north and Canada. As the name proves, males have a beautiful green gorget, a violet ear patch, and a gray body. Females have a green and gray body. They resemble the broad-billed hummingbird the most, but the latter has a red beak, while the green-violetear has a black bill.
Broad-billed hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris)
Broad-billed usually stands out even more than “regular” hummingbirds. The male Broad-billed hummingbird has almost all of his body covered with iridescent green metallic feathers. The neck is slightly blue, and the beak is a vivid red color.
Females have the same red-colored solid beak but look duller, with green and gray bodies. These hummers usually reside in Mexico and sometimes migrate to New Mexico and Southern Arizona for breeding. To see a Broad-billed hummingbird in Missouri would also be a rare-sighting.
Rivoli’s hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)
As far as hummingbirds go, Rivoli’s hummers are bigger birds! And their colors stand out even more – if you can believe it. The male Rivoli’s hummingbird had a purple crown and an iridescent green throat, with dark green bodies. Females are lighter in color and have gray, green, and black bodies. They usually reside in Central America & Mexico.
Blue-throated Mountain-gem Hummingbird (Lampornis clemenciae)
Bigger than most hummingbirds, female and male blue-throated mountain-gems look more similar to other species of hummingbirds. They have gray, green, and brown bodies and a dark tail with white tips. Males have a bright blue throat, but females don’t have this feature. The Missouri Department of Conservation lists the blue-throated hummingbird as a bird seen in Missouri, even if there are no sightings on the map.
How to attract Missouri hummingbirds to your garden?
The easiest way to attract these tiny birds is by putting out hummingbird feeders with sugar water or planting red or orange tubular flowers, as they love the color red. But stay away from red dye, as it can be toxic for them. Make sure to clean the bird feeder regularly and to keep water at hand. You can plant as many trees and native plants as possible, as they help improve their natural habitat.