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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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Songs

Anna’s Hummingbirds have a distinctive song that is long for a hummingbird (10 seconds or more). It's a series of buzzes, then a clearer, more tuneful whistle, followed by more emphatic chip notes; then the bird may repeat the whole set of buzz-whistle-chip sounds. It may not sound like it could be coming from a hummingbird, but once you learn to recognize it this can be a very good way to locate singing males.

Calls

Calls are a series of short, sharp chip notes that may be given one at a time or one after another to make a twittering sound.

Other Sounds

Displaying males make a loud squeak at the bottom of the courtship dive. For years this was thought to be another kind of chip note, but recent experiments and analysis of high-speed video show it comes from wind passing over the hummingbird's modified outer tail feathers.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

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.

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