Hummingbirds in Alaska are a captivating and rare sight, drawing the attention of birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts in this northernmost state. With their tiny size and vibrant plumage, these agile birds add color and charm to Alaska’s breathtaking natural scenery.
Types Of Hummingbirds In Alaska
Alaska’s most commonly observed hummingbirds include the Rufous Hummingbird and the Anna’s Hummingbird.
Whether exploring the coastal rainforests or hanging out at your cabin or backyard, spotting a hummingbird in Alaska is a welcome and exciting experience.
This blog post will explore the two types of hummingbirds you can observe in Alaska. It will give you insights into their behavior and help you identify them in this remote environment.
According to the latest data from ebird, there are three observed species of hummingbirds in Alaska. This data has been compiled from over 15,700 dedicated bird watchers throughout the state.
Here are some quick facts:
- Rufous Hummingbirds are the most common observed in Alaska
- Anna’s Hummingbirds are the least widely observed species in Alaska
- Anna’s Hummingbirds are the largest observed species in Alaska
- Rufous Hummingbirds are the smallest observed species in Alaska
2 Types Of Hummingbirds In Alaska
1. Rufous Hummingbird
The Rufous Hummingbird is a small bird species found in the western half of North America and Mexico. They can be seen in the southeast Alaskan Pacific coast during the summer breeding season.
- Length: 7-9cm (2.8-3.5 inches)
- Weight: 2-5g (0.1-0.2oz)
- Wingspan: Avg 11cm (4.3 inches)
- Rufous Hummingbird Scientific Name: Selasphorus rufus
- Spring Migration: February-May
- Fall Migration: June-October
Rufous Hummingbirds have slender bodies, short wings, and a tapered tail.
Male Rufous Hummingbirds have orange-brown or coppery rufous upperparts, sides, and tails. They have a striking, iridescent orange-red throat, and some have green specs on their backs.
Females have metallic green upperparts, white throats with bronze-colored spots, white underparts, and orange-brown or rufous sides.
You can identify Rufous Hummingbirds by their orange-brown coloration and the iridescent orange-red throat of the males.
They use a slender, curved beak to feed on nectar from flowers.
In flight, their wings are rapid and buzzing and known to hover in place for extended periods.
You can spot Rufous Hummingbirds in various habitats, including open woodlands, mountain meadows, forest edges, and gardens.
They breed in areas with forest edges that have dense understory in the Pacific Northwest.
During migration and winter, they can be seen in areas from California to Texas, Mexico, Central America, and the Gulf Coast coastal areas.
As with most hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds are primarily nectar feeders, consuming nectar from various flowers, including penstemons, columbines, and salvias.
They also eat small insects that provide protein and other essential nutrients and visit hummingbird feeders in Alaska’s backyards when provided.
- Rufous Hummingbirds have one of the longest migrations of any North American hummingbird, traveling up to 3,000 miles from their breeding grounds in the Pacific Northwest to their wintering grounds in southern Mexico.
- They are one of the most aggressive hummingbirds and will defend their territory fiercely against other hummingbirds, even birds much larger.
- The Rufous Hummingbird is the most common hummingbird species found in Alaska.
2. Anna’s Hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbird is a small bird species on the southwest coast of the United States and Mexico. They are not all that common in Alaska but can be uncommon or accidental visitors to southeast Alaska during the colder non-breeding season.
- Length: 8-9cm (3.2-3.5 inches)
- Weight: 2-4g (0.1oz)
- Wingspan: Avg 11cm (4.3 inches)
- Allen’s Hummingbird Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
- Spring Migration: Mid-Jan to March
- Fall Migration: June-August
Allen’s Hummingbirds are tiny, stocky-looking hummingbirds with long straight bills.
Males are metallic green and coppery-orange overall with a rusty-orange throat, copper-colored upper tail, belly, and eye patch.
The female is similarly colored but has paler coppery-orange tones and greenish-bronze spots on their throat.
The male’s rusty-orange throat quickly identifies Allen’s Hummingbirds. The female is more difficult to identify but has greenish-bronze spots on their throat.
Allen’s Hummingbirds are found primarily on the west coast of California to the southern border of Oregon. They prefer to live in coastal habitats with many flowering plants and trees.
Allen’s Hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar from flowers and small insects for protein and other essential nutrients. They are attracted to red and yellow tubular flowers, such as penstemons, scarlet sage, and fuchsia.
- Allen’s Hummingbirds tend to migrate much earlier in spring and fall than other hummingbird species.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are there any hummingbirds in Alaska?
Yes, two species of Hummingbirds can be found in Alaska. The first is the Rufous Hummingbird, which can be seen during the summer, and the second uncommon visitor is Anna’s Hummingbird in the winter.
How long do hummingbirds stay in Alaska?
Hummingbirds only stay in Alaska for as long as the breeding or non-breeding season lasts, typically 3-4 months.
Do hummingbirds stay in Alaska in the winter?
Only one species has been observed in Alaska during the winter, and that is the Anna’s Hummingbird. They are uncommon visitors, so don’t expect to see them yearly.
Keep An Eye Out For Hummingbirds In Alaska
Hummingbirds are a rare but welcome addition to Alaska’s bird diversity. By understanding which species of hummingbirds have been observed in Alaska, you can better prepare for their arrival during the appropriate times of the year.
Residents can expect to see the more common Rufous Hummingbird in southeast Alaska during the warmer months. Though rare, there is an uncommon chance you may see an Anna’s Hummingbird in southeast Alaska during winter months.
Whether you’re a bird-watching enthusiast or just someone who enjoys learning about nature, taking some time to learn about the kinds of hummingbirds in Alaska will provide you with a newfound appreciation for these exciting birds.
Remember, you can attract hummingbirds to your backyard by providing nectar-rich flowers or setting up a hummingbird feeder filled with delicious sugar water.
We hope this article has provided all the information you need. If you have questions about identifying more bird species in Alaska or finding out which ones live near you, let us know!
We would love to help identify new bird species for our readers.