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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Anna's Hummingbird

Calypte anna ORDER: APODIFORMES FAMILY: TROCHILIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they're anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds. Though no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel, Anna’s Hummingbirds make a strong impression. In their thrilling courtship displays, males climb up to 130 feet into the air and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.

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Keys to identification Help

Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Typical Voice
  • Size & Shape

    Tiny among birds, Anna’s are medium-sized and stocky for a hummingbird. They have a straight, shortish bill and a fairly broad tail. When perched, wingtips meet the tip of their short tail.

  • Color Pattern

    Anna’s Hummingbirds are mostly green and gray, without any rufous or orange marks on the body. The male's head and throat are covered in iridescent reddish-pink feathers that can look dull brown or gray without direct sunlight.

  • Behavior

    Anna’s Hummingbirds are a blur of motion as they hover before flowers looking for nectar and insects. Listen for the male's scratchy metallic song and look for him perched above head level in trees and shrubs.

  • Habitat

    Anna’s Hummingbirds are common in yards, parks, residential streets, eucalyptus groves, riverside woods, savannahs, and coastal scrub. They readily come to hummingbird feeders and flowering plants, including cultivated species in gardens.

Range Map Help

Anna
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult male

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Stout and stocky hummingbird with short, straight bill
    • Iridescent rosy pink crown and throat
    • Small white spot behind eye
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, February 2009
  • Adult female

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult female
    • Stout body with short, straight black bill
    • Central iridescent pink throat patch
    • Some females show several scattered pink feathers on face
    • White above and behind eye
    • © Edgar Paul Coral, Los Gatos, California, July 2008
  • Adult male

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Stout body
    • Short, straight black bill
    • Iridescent green on back and flanks
    • Iridescent crown and throat appear dark red or black in dim light
    • © Brian L. Sullivan, San Clemente Island, California, September 2004
  • Adult male

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Chubby with short, straight bill
    • Rosy pink iridescent crown and throat, flaring to sides of breast
    • White behind eye
    • © Michael J. Andersen, Lake Hodges, San Diego County, California, February 2010
  • Adult male in flight

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult male in flight
    • Stout-bodied with short black bill
    • Iridescent green above, mostly gray underparts
    • Rosy throat patch flares around sides of neck
    • © sannesu, California, December 2007
  • Adult female

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult female
    • Straight black bill
    • Stout body
    • Mostly gray underparts
    • Central iridescent throat patch
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, June 2009
  • Immature male

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Immature male
    • Straight black bill
    • Patchy iridescent pink patches on face and throat
    • White spot behind eye
    • Pollen occasionally causes yellow patches on bill
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, August 2009
  • Adult male

    Anna's Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Stout body and short bill
    • Pink iridescent throat patch flares out to sides
    • Glossy green and gray belly
    • White spot behind eye
    • © Ganesh Jayaraman, Milpitas, California, April 2010

Similar Species

  • Adult male

    Costa's Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Similar to male Anna's Hummingbird but smaller and chubbier
    • Short-necked appearance
    • Short tail
    • Crown and throat iridescent purple, flaring dramatically down both sides of breast
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, October 2009
  • Adult female

    Costa's Hummingbird

    Adult female
    • Similar to female Anna's Hummingbird but smaller and chunkier
    • Slightly decurved bill
    • No throat patch
    • Darker gray cheeks contrast with paler eyebrow stripe
    • © Brian L. Sullivan, California
  • Adult male

    Black-chinned Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Similar to Anna's Hummingbird but smaller and more slender-bodied
    • Long, slightly decurved bill
    • Males show mostly dark throat with iridescent violet on lower portion
    • Pale gray belly
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, August 2009
  • Adult female

    Black-chinned Hummingbird

    Adult female
    • Similar to female Anna's Hummingbird but smaller and more slender
    • Longer, slightly decurved bill
    • No throat patch
    • Crown gray instead of greenish
    • © Stephen Ramirez, Menard County, Texas, June 2010
  • Adult male

    Broad-tailed Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Similar to Anna's Hummingbird but body and tail more elongated
    • Rosy red iridescent throat patch
    • Green crown
    • Thin white line from chin to eye
    • © Lois Manowitz, Sierra Vista, Arizona, May 2010
  • Adult female

    Broad-tailed Hummingbird

    Adult female
    • Similar to female Anna's Hummingbird but body and tail more elongated
    • Buffy flanks
    • Spotted throat and cheeks
    • © Brian L. Sullivan, Salt Lake , Utah, October 2009
  • Adult male

    Rufous Hummingbird

    Adult male
    • Similar to Anna's Hummingbird but rich buffy orange throughout
    • Small and compact
    • White chest contrasts with dark red throat patch
    • © Joan Gellatly, Ash Canyon, Arizona, August 2009
  • Adult female

    Rufous Hummingbird

    Adult female
    • Similar to female Anna's Hummingbird but more compact with shorter wings
    • Buffy flanks and tail
    • No white eyebrow stripe
    • © Stephen Ramirez, Texas, July 2009

Similar Species

When identifying hummingbirds, the first step is to look at range maps. Anna’s Hummingbird is often the largest and stockiest hummingbird in its range, and its body color is a distinctive gray and green. Costa’s Hummingbird is typically lighter gray below with less extensive green flecks on the breast and belly. They have an even bigger head than Anna’s. The gorget of an adult male Costa’s Hummingbird is a much deeper purple and it extends farther on the sides of the neck, coming to a point. Black-chinned Hummingbirds are much sleeker overall with a thinner neck, a partial whitish collar, and a longer bill. The male's dark purple gorget is limited to just the throat, and the head is green. With practice, looking for the narrow shape of the inner six primary feathers is a diagnostic way to separate Black-chinned and Ruby-throated from all other North American hummingbirds. Rufous Hummingbirds always have some orange or buffy tones in the underparts and tail. In male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds the pink feathers are only on the throat, not on the crown.

Backyard Tips

Anna’s Hummingbirds are welcome backyard birds and are easy to attract. Set out a hummingbird feeder, then mix your own hummingbird food using one part sugar to four parts water. Don't use honey or food coloring. Anna’s don’t migrate much, so don’t be surprised if the bird visits your feeder all year long. Read more about feeding hummingbirds here.

Find This Bird

The easiest place to see Anna's Hummingbirds is at a feeder; otherwise keep a sharp eye out near large, colorful blossoms during the spring, especially near eucalyptus trees and cultivated gardens. Look for males are often seen high in the branches of a small tree or bush, singing loudly.

You Might Also Like

All About Birds blog, Here’s What to Feed Your Summer Bird Feeder Visitors, July 11, 2014.

The mysterious squeak of the Anna's Hummingbird. Story in Living Bird magazine.

All About Birds blog, Summertime in the United States of Hummingbirds, July 29, 2014.