The Mexican violetear hummingbird, formerly referred to as the green violetear hummingbird, is a dazzle of brilliant colors. For those that enjoy a rare sighting, this hummer is a beautiful sight to see in the United States.
This medium-sized hummingbird is native to the American tropics ranging from Mexico to Nicaragua.
However, the Mexican violetear hummingbird is a vagrant wanderer into the United States, most often into Texas. They may also be spotted in scattered parts across the United States up to Canada.
This article provides more information and beautiful photos for people to “meet” this gorgeous bird.
Mexican Violetear Hummingbird
Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus
Length: 3.8 – 4.7 inches
Wingspan: 4.7 inches
Weight: 0.17 – 0.20 ounces
Males & Females
Unlike many other hummingbird (and wild bird) species, the males and females look nearly identical. Females may be slightly duller, but this is hard to decipher.
The Mexican violetear gets its name from the iridescent patches of purple-violet on the sides of its head. They also have shiny green-blue plumage with darker wing and tail feathers.
They may also have a purple-blue patch on the underbelly.
Their bills are long, black, and curved downward. Their tongues are bifurcated (split into two parts) at the tip, allowing them to drink up lots of nectar.
Juveniles have margins of pale gray.
These hummingbirds are common and easily seen and heard. Their song is a monotonous, high-pitched, metallic, tinkling “chip” sung from open areas in the upper levels of trees.
When feeding, these birds are hidden amongst the flowers.
They defend their feeding territories but are often chased away by other hummingbirds in their native range.
Generally, they are solitary but may be spotted closer together where there are ample food supplies.
Listen to the sound of a singing Mexican violetear hummingbird here in this video:
The typical range of the Mexican violetear is in the highlands of the American tropics, of Central Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Its nomadic tendencies though can bring a rare vagrant hummer to other areas such as in Texas, up and across the United States, and reaching up to Canada.
These hummingbirds have the typical hummer diet of nectar and small insects. A main source of their nectar comes from the coffee-shade Inga tree.
They spend the majority of their days feeding and eating up to half of their body weight daily.
Mexican violetear hummingbirds are found most often in their native range at elevations of 4,000 to 7,500 feet. They will visit lower altitudes to search for food sources.
They like cool climates with high humidity in the mountains or forests and in clearings or along forest edges. They also visit deforested forests with lush, blooming vegetation and insects to glean.
These hummers will also visit yards in suburban and urban areas with ample flower sources and hummingbird feeders.
Male Mexican violetear hummingbirds use their song to attract mates to their territory. They perch high in trees to echo their song out for them to hear.
To impress any interested females, the male hovers in front of her and then circles her in a U-shaped pattern. He may pause during this courtship and sing to her as well.
After mating, the female is responsible for building the nest, incubating the eggs, and feeding the hatchlings.
Her nest is made of plant materials, lichen, down feathers, and spider webs. It is built on low twigs in a dense area about 3 to 12 feet from the ground.
Mexican violetear hummingbirds are typically permanent residents in their range.
However, any vagrants or more northern-located individuals will migrate south in the late summer.
The Mexican violetear hummingbirds are of low conservation concern.
Their populations are relatively stable since they are adaptable to human-developed areas and deforestation.
How To Attract The Mexican Violetear Hummingbird
If you live in the range of this hummingbird, you are more likely to get one at a hummingbird feeder. However, by setting up a hummingbird feeder in your yard, you may be lucky enough to get a vagrant visitor.
Mexican Violetear Hummingbird Facts
- These hummers play an important role in pollinating native plants, transferring pollen from plant to plant as they hover and feed.
- The Mexican violetear used to be categorized along with the lesser violetear and called the “green violetear hummingbird”.
- They can live up to 12 years old.