Living Bird Magazine
Costa's HummingbirdCalypte costae
- ORDER: Caprimulgiformes
- FAMILY: Trochilidae
Bright purple feathers drape across the throat of male Costa's Hummingbirds, sticking out wildly to each side, like an overgrown mustache. Males show off their purple colors for females, which are dressed in green with a pale eyebrow and a whitish belly. The male loops around her and dives in broad U-shaped patterns while give a high-pithced whistle. These hummingbirds are at home in the baking heat of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts as well as in the cooler air of coastal scrub.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Finding a Costa's Hummingbird means taking a trip to the Southwest. To catch them in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts you'll want to be there sometime from February to May, though they tend to stick around until June in the Mojave. Look for flowering ocotillo and chuparosa and listen for the high-pitched whistle of the male. The peak time to see them along coastal California is in May. Here you'll want to look for flowering sage and other shrubs. If you live in the Costa’s range, try putting out more than one hummingbird feeder in your yard. Place one of them off to the side to allow the shyer Costa's Hummingbird a chance to feed alongside larger or more aggressive species.
- Colibrí de Costa (Spanish)
- Colibri de Costa (French)
Putting up a sugar water feeder may give you an opportunity to watch a Costa's Hummingbird up close. Use a ratio of one-part table sugar dissolved in four parts water, and don’t use food coloring. Learn more about feeding hummingbirds.
Adding flowers to your yard is another way to attract hummingbirds while also adding beauty to your yard. Learn more about creating a hummingbird garden at Habitat Network.
- Cool Facts
- Hummingbirds take nectar from a lot of flowers: researchers calculated that a Costa's Hummingbird needs to visit 1,840 flowers to meet its energy requirements for one day.
- Jules Bourcier, a French naturalist and hummingbird expert named the Costa's Hummingbird after his friend Louis Marie Pantaleon Costa de Beauregar. Costa was a Sardinian patriot, statesman, military commander, historian, and amateur archaeologist who was also fond of collecting hummingbirds. He was born in 1806 and died in 1864.
- Despite being normally restricted to the Southwest, Costa's Hummingbirds have shown up several times in the Pacific Northwest and have even ventured as far as Alaska and British Columbia, Canada.
- Researchers found that Costa's Hummingbirds can enter a torpid state, with slowed heart rates and reduced body temperatures, when nighttime temperatures are low. The hearts of torpid Costa's Hummingbirds beat about 50 times per minute, while those of awake, resting Costa's Hummingbirds beat 500 to 900 times per minute.
- The oldest recorded Costa's Hummingbird was a female, and at least 8 years, 9 months old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California in 2009, the same state where she had been banded in 2001.