Maryland is home to seven hummingbird species, out of which only two species regularly nest and breed there.
Aside from sometimes being found in backyards as they’re attracted to birdfeeders, hummingbirds are usually seen in forests and grasslands.
The seven species are versatile and to recognize them in the wild, we’ll learn the descriptions and habits of hummingbirds found in Maryland.
- Rufous Hummingbirds
- Allen’s Hummingbirds
- Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
- Black-chinned Hummingbirds
- Calliope Hummingbirds
- Anna’s Hummingbirds
- Mexican Violetears
Note: The hummingbirds are ranked in no particular order.
1. Rufous Hummingbirds
Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
Rufous hummingbirds are one of the two most common hummingbirds in Maryland. Although they’re native to the West Coast and Mexico, they’re found all over the state of Maryland, and they can be recognized by their copper-colored plumage.
The males have a distinctly orange head, a white chest, and copper back and wings. The wings often have a metallic green glow. Females have the same color pattern, but their colors aren’t as intense.
2. Allen’s Hummingbirds
Scientific name: Selasphorus sasin
These hummingbirds can be easily mistaken with rufous hummingbirds because they’re similar and they sometimes share habitat in Maryland. Unlike rufous hummingbirds, though, Allen’s hummingbirds aren’t as numerous.
Males are almost identical to rufous hummingbird males, but their throats are iridescent and orange. Females don’t have the throat patch, but they are otherwise very similar to males, usually with less accented colors.
Allan’s hummingbirds aren’t native hummingbirds of Maryland – they’re usually found on the West Coast, but they’re known to cross great distances when they migrate.
3. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are by far the most common hummingbirds seen in Maryland and on the East Coast in general. They have the greatest breeding range out of all North American hummingbirds.
They can be easily recognized by the ruby-colored throat seen in the males. The chest is usually white, the belly, wings, and back are metallic green and grey, while the forehead is either too dark to discern a color or metallic green.
Females are identical to males aside from the ruby-colored throat, which they miss.
These hummingbirds grow no larger than 3.5 inches, putting them on the smaller side of the hummingbird scale. Despite their size, they can migrate more than 500 miles, crossing the Gulf of Mexico in one go.
4. Black-chinned Hummingbirds
Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
While not often seen, there is definitely a population of black-chinned hummingbirds in Maryland. They mostly spend the winter there, as their primary summer range is on the West Coast and the South.
Growing no larger than 3.25 inches, which makes them some of the smallest hummingbirds in the United States, black-chinned hummingbirds are usually very dark.
The chest and belly are grey, while the wings, back, and head are black. The only color that really sticks out is the purple throat patch. Females lack the throat patch and so do juveniles.
Just like all other hummingbirds, they feed on nectar and insects. Black-chinned hummingbirds, however, have been documented to frequent sugar water feeders more than other hummingbirds.
5. Calliope Hummingbirds
Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
Somewhat more common than black-chinned and Allen’s hummingbirds, calliope hummingbirds are the smallest birds in North America. They don’t grow larger than 3.9 inches and their wingspan is only 4.3 inches wide.
They mostly inhabit the western half of the United States and parts of Mexico and southwestern Canada. However, there are isolated populations in the Southeast and the East Coast.
The back of the calliope hummingbird is metallic green, while the chest and belly are white. They’re easily recognized because of the magenta or red spots on the throat, which are only seen in males.
Females look identical to males, but without the throat spots.
6. Anna’s Hummingbirds
Scientific name: Calypte anna
Anna’s hummingbird is a large hummingbird species capable of growing up to 4.7 inches in length. The belly and the chest are grey, and the wings are metallic green. The male’s head is entirely magenta, while the female has a grey and metallic green head.
These hummingbirds aren’t very common in Maryland, although sightings have been reported. They’re much more common on the West Coast, while the Maryland individuals probably belong to a southern population (usually nesting near the Gulf of Mexico).
7. Mexican Violetears
Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus
Entirely metallic green with blue streaks on the cheeks, Mexican violetears are very rare in this part of the world. They’re usually found in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, but they’ve been known to visit the eastern and the northeastern USA.
This bird is mostly solitary and it feeds on its own, so it’ll be tempted to feed on birdfeeders if no other birds are around. They’re known as defensive when it comes to feeding territory, so it’s best that they don’t come in contact with other birds.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds in Maryland and they’re easy to find and recognize. Other species usually only pass through the Old Line State and they don’t stay here for long.
Hummingbirds can be attracted to birdfeeders if they’re filled with nectar. Most of them are solitary birds and they won’t join other birds in feeding or migrating.