There are only 26 different species of hummingbirds that visit and 17 that breed in the USA. Here are the 4 common hummingbirds that you may encounter when exploring the Rocky Mountains with your family.
Hummingbirds are super fast flyers that are fun to watch. I always enjoy watching some flying around over a field of wildflowers if I am lucky enough to see them. As we know from this old post on amazing facts about hummingbirds, they migrate south during winter. This means we can only see these common hummingbirds during the warm summer months.
About The Common Hummingbirds of the Rocky Mountains
Migrating hummingbirds usually begin arriving in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado area) in late April. They stay in the area over the summer, breed, and then migrate south again in September.
There are not very many hummingbirds that travel to or through the Rocky Mountains. If you see one the odds are high that it is one of these 4 common hummingbirds, and most likely a broad tailed hummingbird at that.
Also, remember that not all birds of the same species look the same. Males and females may be different colors. Additionally, younger birds may be different colors than older birds. This is possible because birds molt at least once a year.
4 Common Hummingbirds of the Rocky Mountains
Broad Tailed Hummingbird
Males have a bright, shiny red throat that distinguishes them, white chest and metallic green back. Females do not have the bright red throat coloring and are a dull, white color.
This is the most common kind of hummingbird seen in the Rocky Mountains. These can be seen throughout the summer.
They usually nest at high elevation in the mountains or foothills, but will come down to lower elevations to feed.
They migrate south and spend the winter in Mexico, Guatemala or El Salvador.
This is the second most common hummingbird seen in the Rocky Mountains. They generally breed far north up into Canada and Alaska, but pass through the Rockies.
Males have a bright, orange/red throat that distinguish them. Females have whitish, speckled throats, green backs and white tipped tail feathers.
Black Chinned Hummingbirds
The male has a shiny, black throat. His back is green and his chest has green and white feathers. The female is a dull, white color on her chest with a green back. She does not have a black throat.
They prefer areas that are wetter such as near ponds, streams, and rivers.
The male has a green head and upper part of its body. It is white on its chest with red stripes on his throat. The female is green on top and a dull white on her chest.
This is the smallest hummingbird in the US. It weighs only 0.1 oz! That is about the same weight as one penny. It would take two of these birds to weigh as much as a quarter!
They breed at high elevations in the mountains.