All About the Hummingbirds in Delaware

People are fascinated with hummingbirds of their small size and the ability to fly backward. You’ll find them across most states in the US, including the second-smallest, Delaware.

You can expect to find about 5 species of Hummingbirds in Delaware, and their arrival and departure depend on the species.

Here is a small guide to help you know all these raptors a bit more.

Are There Humminbirds in Delaware?

Generic nameScientific Name
Ruby-throated HummingbirdArchilocus colubris
Rufous HummingbirdSelasphorus rufus
Allen’s HummingbirdSelasphorus sasin
Broad-tailed HummingbirdSelasphorus platycercus
Calliope HummingbirdSelasphorus calliope

Everything You Need to Know

1. Species Profile: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilocus colubris
  • Length: 2.8-3.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 inches

Commonly found in: Gardens, nurseries, and nectar feeders are their usual places of being found. They are social and are often seen in localities and towns.

Behavior/ Characteristics

As the name suggests, Ruby-throated hummingbirds have deep red throats in males that set them apart from other species of hummingbirds. Their back and top are a beautiful emerald green, and their legs are pale.

Due to their tiny legs, they cannot walk long distances. They usually hop or shuffle to traverse short distances.

These birds mainly feed on nectars from flowers, which is useful for pollination, giving rise to a mutualistic situation.

Their small size does not allow them to reach too great of height either. So, they usually hang around in low-lying branches, although they can jump from lower to higher shoots.

Males are polygamous and don’t stay until the arrival of the young. They migrate right after mating and do not participate in nest building.

The females are the matriarch of this species, as they carry out all the things after the eggs have hatched. Their functions include nest building, taking care of the babies, and getting food for them.

Fun Fact

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are incredibly flexible. They scratch their neck by lifting their tiny legs over the wings, just like a Yogi can.

2.     Species profile: Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Length: 2.8-3.5 in
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in

Commonly found in: Mountains, coniferous forests


Rufous hummingbirds have very distinct colorings for both sexes.

Male birds take a deep and hot orange on their back and top, with white buffs. Females are lighter in color and will show a greenback with multi-colored bodies.

Rufous hummingbirds like to stay high above the ground to steer clear of predators. Thus, their habituation of preference is mountain tops and tall trees of coniferous forests.

They feed on nectars from colorful plants and flowers and lay eggs only 1 to 3 at a time.

Rufous hummingbirds are especially defensive of their nests and can get aggressive toward other birds. They are known not to spend too long in the same place and usually migrate toward Mexico in winter.

These birds are the holder of the longest crossing migratory bird award, as they can travel up to 4000 miles in a single season.

Despite their attitude of putting up a fight, the number of Rufous hummingbirds has gone down alarmingly, which is about 60 percent in recent decades.

Fun Fact

Rufous hummingbirds can mate with hummingbirds of other species to create hybrid hummingbirds. How cool is that?

3. Species Profile: Allen’s Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
  • Length: 3.5 in
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in

Commonly found in: Males are found in open land, while females are found in busy areas and scrubs that are abundant with eucalyptus and Douglas-fir.


Allen’s hummingbirds are easily identified by their unique orange color. Males have bronze-green bodies with pale bellies.

Their wings have a longitudinal coppery shade in bright lighting.

They are defensive avians, where both males and females protect their territories by scaring away any other species. Alongside, they take extra care in cordoning off their nectar sources from the consumption of other animals.

They have two grounds of habitation, one is used for wintering, and the other for breeding. The only time the male takes any part in being the father is during mating.

Afterward, he takes off. Females are responsible for protecting and feeding the young.

However, the males protect the nest only during breeding and the forthcoming mating dance.

Unlike the previous two species, Allen’s hummingbirds are omnivorous. They will feed on the usual nectar from fragrant and vibrant flowers but will also prey on small insects and spiders.

Fun Fact

Allen’s hummingbirds have a patch of red on their throats called a gorget. This is in reference to metallic protection worn on the necks of ancient warriors.

4. Species Profile: Broad-tailed Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus platycercus
  • Length: 3.1-3.5 in
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz
  • Wingspan: 5.25 in

Commonly found in: Meadows, open lands, and mountains at 5,000 to 10,000 feet elevations.

Behavior/ Characteristics

A gorgeous bird with beautiful green on the back and beige buff may even resemble a peacock in terms of chromatics. You can never mistake a broad-tailed hummingbird due to its shiny emerald body.

This species feeds on nectars and insects by hovering above their sources. They primarily feed on a specific type of flower that is characterized by greater nectar production and is easily detected due to its eye-catching red color.

A broad-tailed hummingbird can beat its wings up to 50 times per minute, which is amazing on itself, that adds greater speed and better defense.

Males fly high and display a courtship dance during mating season with a characteristic ‘Trill-Trill’ vocalization. They do not pair for life, rather go away to another area and mate with multiple partners.

Fun Fact

The broad-tailed hummingbirds can lower their heart rate during their nesting time in very cold mountains.

5. Species Profile: Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 3.1-3.5 in
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz
  • Wingspan: 4.1-4.3 in

Commonly found in: Evergreen trees, or previously used nests

Behavior/ Characteristics

Recognized by their teeny-tiny size and a blotch of lavender color on the undersurface of their necks, Calliope hummingbirds have been regarded as the smallest bird in the United States. 

However, they cannot be taken lightly. With surprising strength and incredible resilience, these birds have been known to fight off large birds heavier than their own weight.

Calliope hummingbirds feed on nectars, saps, and insects. They can pick up their prey while hovering.

Their nests resemble pine cones in appearance and are always built by the female after the eggs have been laid. During migration, the males always reach the ground first and will mate with several females at the same place.

Just like every other hummingbird on this list, the male leaves and does not take any part in parenting.

A unique ability of the Calliope hummingbird is thermoregulation. Its higher bodily metabolism results in increased heat production, and that is countered by rapidly losing heat by means of wing movement.

Fun Fact

A Calliope hummingbird is the same size as a ping pong ball!


Hummingbirds get their name from their special sonographic vocalization, ‘Hum’ is the sound they make with the beating of their wings that helps them recognize other peers.

Rufous hummingbirds are an extinction concern now due to their decline in number, while others have been labeled as ‘Least Concern.’ These adorable birds are mostly found in the wild, and they are not known to get too close to humans as sparrows do. However, if any bird enthusiast was to spot one of these tiny creatures during an expedition, it is recommended not to disturb them or to take photographs with the flash on.



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