Calliope HummingbirdStellula calliope

adult male
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult female
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
adult male
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
Juvenile male
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult male
Dr. Joseph Turner/VIREO
adult female
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird

Family

Description

2 3/4-3 1/4" (7-8 cm). The smallest North American hummingbird. Male metallic green above; has white gorget with purple-violet rays, which can be raised to give a whiskered effect. (All other North American hummers have solid-colored gorgets.) Female green above, white below, with dark streaks on throat, buffy flanks, and white-tipped tail corners. Resembles the female Rufous Hummingbird, but smaller, with smaller bill, paler flanks, and less rufous at base of tail.

Voice

A high-pitched tsew.

Listen

calls #1
calls #2

Habitat

Montane and subalpine forest clearings, brushy edges, and alpine meadows.

Range

Breeds in mountains from interior and southern coastal British Columbia south through Pacific states and east to Colorado. Winters in Mexico.

Discussion

When defending their feeding flowers or courting a female, male hummers put on a striking spectacle, rising out of sight and then swooping down to buzz their opponent or the female. Each species has its own flight pattern.

Nesting

2 bean-sized white eggs, surprisingly large for such a tiny bird, in a small lichen-and-moss nest covered with cobwebs, placed on a limb of a bush or well-protected small tree.

Similar Species

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Male metallic green, with rose-red gorget; green crown; broad tail with little rufous.

adult male

Rufous Hummingbird

3 1/2-4" (9-10 cm). Male has bright rufous upperparts and flanks and iridescent orange-red throat. Female green above, with rufous tinge on rump and flanks, and much rufous in tail.

adult male

Allen's Hummingbird

3-3 1/2" (8-9 cm). A very small hummingbird. Male has iridescent green crown and back; rufous rump and tail.

adult male

Black-chinned Hummingbird

3 1/4-3 3/4" (8-10 cm). A small hummingbird. Male green above with iridescent black chin underlined by violet-purple throat band.

adult male

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

3 1/2" (9 cm). Tiny. Needle-like bill. Metallic green above, white below; male has brilliant, iridescent red throat. Immature male lacks red throat.

adult male

Anna's Hummingbird

3 1/2-4" (9-10 cm). A medium-sized hummingbird. Both sexes metallic green above; male has dark rose-red crown and gorget and grayish chest.

adult female

Costa's Hummingbird

3-3 1/2" (8-9 cm). A tiny hummingbird. Male's violet-purple crown and gorget, which is flanked with very long, conspicuous side feathers, distinguish it from Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Vireo

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