Your Complete Guide To Hummingbird Identification

Your Complete Guide To Hummingbird Identification   

Did you know that most bird enthusiasts have difficulty with hummingbird identification? That is because they are quick and small, which can make even experts miss them sometimes. However, with some practice and the right tips, you can easily start identifying hummingbirds. 

Patience is the key because hummingbirds tend to move a lot. If you love to watch birds and identify them, you have come to the right place. Here is your complete guide to hummingbird identification. 

What You Will Need 

The right equipment can help you spot hummingbirds and identify them no matter how fast they move. That is why it is crucial to have appropriate equipment for identifying hummingbirds in no time. Here are some of the top things you will need:




Our sight has its limitations, and we can't see everything clearly from a great distance. That is why you must invest in high-quality binoculars to see these tiny birds up close and identify them properly. You will find many binoculars specifically made for bird watching to help you during your journey. 

It is crucial that you opt for higher magnification in binoculars for hummingbird identification. It will help you closely observe the hummingbirds. Besides that, you must also choose binoculars with an anti-glare coating. 

Such a coating is useful when you are watching hummingbirds in bright sunlight. Sometimes the sunlight can cause glare because of the hummingbird colors. That is why you must choose binoculars with high magnification and an anti-glare coating. 

Feeding Station 

feeding stations


If you watch hummingbirds from your backyard, you can always keep a feeding station in your yard to attract them. Keep some water and food for them so they can visit your yard and you can watch them. Besides that, you can also lure them by planting the right flowers whose nectar will entice them to come to your yard.

While these visits maybe for a short time, you can always offer perches to the hummingbirds in the yard. It will enable them to come to your yard and stay as you view or photograph them. So, if you have space in your yard, be sure to set up a feeding station. 

Keep a Field Guide 

field guides


There are many hummingbird species out there. So, for proper hummingbird identification, you will require a field guide to help you identify them. Some species are nearly identical, which can also cause experts to become confused when telling them apart. 

A field guide is all about offering details about hummingbirds. These include their colors, bill, body, range, and much more. It can help you identify even the most challenging of species. 

Choose The Right Clothing 

While this may not help with hummingbird identification, it can help the birds to come closer to you so you can have a proper look. Be sure to wear floral prints and bright colors to attract hummingbirds. It will make them curious and come close to you. 

You can also wear pink or red pattern clothing or hats to catch the hummingbirds’ attention and let them come close. Once they do, you can easily identify the species in no time. 

How You Can Identify Hummingbirds 

There are three top ways you can opt for hummingbird identification. These include:


Of course, the top way you can identify hummingbirds is through their appearance. You must look for specifics to figure out what they look like and what species it is. Some hummingbird species have distinct appearances that will help you identify them easily. 

Here are some of the top specific characteristics you must look for during hummingbird identification:



  • Bill curvature, color, and length 
  • Throat markings and colors. These can include stripes and splotches
  • Tail bands or spots
  • Body shape and size
  • Tail shape and position
  • Color of the plumage 
  • Eyebrows, rings, and stripes

While some hummingbirds have a distinct appearance, there are other species you will have to look closely at. You will have to go further than looking at appearance to identify some species of hummingbirds. 




Another way you can identify hummingbirds is through their territory and habitat. Different species will opt for different territories and habitats where they will live. For example, you will easily find the ruby-throated hummingbird in the east. 

You will not find these species in other areas such as western and mountainous regions. On the other hand, you will notice that a broad-tailed hummingbird will be easily available in the Rocky Mountain and the Southwest region. However, hummingbirds also migrate from one place to another. 

You can also look at migratory routes and see which paths these birds take. It will help you become more aware of the geography and territory of the hummingbird. So, in the long run, it will help you with accurate hummingbird identification. 




Finally, you can notice the behavior of the hummingbirds to identify their species. For example, all hummingbirds feed on nectar feeders and flowers. There are also other behaviors you can notice to look at clues for their identity, which include:

  • The aggressiveness of the hummingbird
  • The movement of the bird’s tail and head while they drink
  • Do the species make noise while they hover or fly?
  • Do the birds prefer to perch or hover while feeding?

Answering such questions will help you with hummingbird identification. For example, the Rufous hummingbird is highly aggressive and fierce, and they will fight with other birds if they feel their territory is under threat. 

Final Words 

That was your complete guide to understanding hummingbird identification. Using these guidelines will help you understand the various hummingbird species and identify them correctly. Be sure always to keep a field guide as it will help you understand the species more closely. 

It will take time, effort, and practice to begin identifying the hummingbird species successfully. Once you start putting these tips into practice, you will get the hang of it, and it will help you identify the trickiest of hummingbirds in no time. So, follow our guide and begin identifying hummingbirds today. 


  • Hello would you be so kind to let me know how or who can help me identifying a humming bird I saw in Colombia
    I kindly appreciate any guidance

  • Hello would you be so kind to let me know how or who can help me identifying a humming bird I saw in Colombia
    I kindly appreciate any guidance


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