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8 Types of Hummingbirds in Kansas (With Pictures)

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black chinned hummingbird

Did you know the hummingbird is the only species that can fly backwards? And even though most of them love feeding on nectar, they don’t really have any sense of smell. Instead of sniffing out feeders, they rely on their incredible vision, plus natural instincts.

This post will focus on the different hummingbird species found in Kansas.

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The 8 Hummingbird Species in Kansas

1. Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Photo Credit: Dec Hogan, Shutterstock
Wingspan: 5.25 in (13 cm)
Length: 3.1–3.5 in (8–9 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.2 oz (2.8–4.5 g)

The Broad-Tailed species is not just common in Kansas, but everywhere else in the country. As per the report drafted by Partners in Flight, the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird’s current breeding population stands at 9.8 million.1 And those are global figures, just so you know.

“Hawking” is their most preferred hunting technique. They’ll sit still on a branch and patiently wait for prey to pass by. When the opportunity presents itself, they’ll hover and snatch the insect midair, killing it instantly.

The Broad-Tailed Hummingbird never form pair bonds but mate with several partners. What’s more, the males rarely feed their spouses during the incubation period or help take care of their young ones.

2. Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Broad-Billed Hummingbird
Photo Credit: DV Pro Photo, Shutterstock
Wingspan: 5.1 in (13 cm)
Length: 3.1–3.9 in (8–10 cm)
Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (3-4 g)

This small-sized hummingbird is primarily a Mexican species. It’s commonly known in French as the Colibri circe, and the Colibri Pico Ancho among the Spanish community. The Broad-Billed species has a large appetite, seeing as it’s able to comfortably gobble up nectar that’s about 1.6 times its body weight.

The Broad-Billed Hummingbird has perfected the art of “mobbing” over the years. Mobbing is an anti-predator behavior that different bird species engage in to ward off larger birds looking to make a meal out of them. Anytime it hears the call of a diurnal owl, it perches nearby and starts calling other birds. The owl will eventually feel threatened as more birds join in and fly away.

3. Calliope Hummingbird

calliope hummingbird
Photo Credit: Avia5, Pixabay
Wingspan: 4.1–4.3 in (10.5–11 cm)
Length: 3.1–3.5 in (8–9 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.1 oz (2.3–3.4 g)

There are many long-distance migrant species in the world, but none of them is as small as the Calliope Hummingbird. If you thought the North American Warblers were small, this hummingbird only weighs 0.1 ounces.

Calliopes love sucking nectar out of isolated tubular flowers or those that have a cup shape. If they feel the need to supplement their bodies with more protein, they’ll forage insects. Just like the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, they prefer hunting using the hawking technique.

Calliopes spend most of their time in cool mountain environments, at elevations above 4,000 feet. The males are fairly aggressive when it comes to guarding their territory. They’ll attack anyone and anything that tries to invade their personal space. Their tiny size has never been an inhibiting factor.

4. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

black-chinned hummingbird perching on tiny branch
Image Credit: AlexFeder, Shutterstock
Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)
Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.2 oz (2.3–4.9 g)

In total, we have seven very different types of tongues in the bird kingdom. And this difference is often brought about by their varying dietary preferences. The Black-Chinned species’ tongue typically falls under the nectar-sucking category, and that’s why it’s long and tubular. But what some people might not know is that it normally features two grooves.

Thanks to the grooves, it’s able to fill up its belly at a rate of 13 to 17 licks per second. And on a good day, they are able to gobble up three times their body weight in nectar. but that doesn’t mean that they’ll starve to death should they not be able to find nectar. Of all hummingbirds, they are the most adaptable. We’ve seen them hunt insects in urban settings, and in their natural habitats.

5. Anna’s Hummingbird

male anna's hummingbird perching on a branch
Image Credit: Birdiegal, Shutterstock
Wingspan: 4.7 in (12 cm)
Length: 3.9 in (10 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.2 oz (3–6 g)

The Anna’s are among the few species that have successfully managed to expand their breeding ranges. Back in the day, they only bred in southern California or northern Baja California. But the tides started changing in their favor when people started planting exotic flowering trees. This meant they had more than enough food in the form of nectar, and more options to work with while choosing favorable breeding grounds.

Anna’s are not your typical North American hummingbird. They don’t subscribe to the idea of migration once the temperatures start dropping, or whenever they feel the need to breed. If the weather is too cold to bear, they’ll regulate their heart and breathing rate to conserve energy. Their normal body temperature is 107ºF (41.7ºC), but it can go as low as 48ºF (8.9ºC) if that’s what it has to do to survive.

6. Rufous Hummingbird

rufuous hummingbird close up
Image Credit: Avia5, Pixabay
Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)
Length: 2.8–3.5 in (7–9 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.2 oz (2–5 g)

Scientifically known as the Selasphorus rufus, the Rufous is a feisty bird. We’ve spotted them attacking feeders, flowers, several bird species, and even animals that are minding their own business.

Rufous Hummingbirds don’t usually stay in one place for an extended period, because they love migrating. If you’d like them to pay you a visit every once in a while, plant some flowers and put out feeders. They have excellent memory recollection, so we’re sure they’ll pass by your home anytime they are in town.

These birds are not a colonial nesting species, and that’s why you won’t find them all congregated in one place. Then again, that’s probably for the best given their aggressive nature.

7. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

ruby-throated hummingbird on a feeder
Image Credit: GeorgeB2, Pixabay
Wingspan: 3.1–4.3 in (8–11 cm)
Length: 2.8–3.5 in (7–9 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.2 oz (2–6 g)

If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird hop or walk, it’s because they have extraordinarily short pairs of legs. They are only useful whenever they feel the need to scratch or perch on some high branch.

Rubys are nectar-sucking birds, but they are more attracted to orange or red flowers. So, remember that the next time you decide to offer them some sugar water.

Because they are accustomed to human habitation, they often don’t mind building nests on electric poles, in an attic, or on electrical cords. Those that prefer living far away from humans usually build theirs on coniferous or deciduous trees.

8. Costa’s Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird
Image Credit: Rick Scuteri, Shutterstock
Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)
Length: 3.5 in (7.6–8.8 cm)
Weight: 0.1–0.1 oz (2–3 g)

To be able to meet its daily energy requirement, Costa’s have to visit more than 1,800 flowers. That’s according to the researchers who’ve invested their time and resources into studying this species. This bird was named by Jules Bourcier, a Frenchman who was an expert in all things hummingbirds, as well as a naturalist.

This bird also has the ability to enter a torpid state—a state where they gradually drop their body temperature and heart rates to match the temperature of their immediate surroundings. In an active state, their hearts beat 500 to 900 times per minute. But in a torpid state, it goes down to 50 times per minute.

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Is It Easy to Lure Different Types of Hummingbirds to Your Yard in Kansas?

It actually is. The first thing that you ought to think about is food. Birds love food as much as humans do. And we already know that their favorite meal is nectar. You could get some from your local store, but they are expensive.

Clean your feeders at least three times a week. Don’t leave them unattended for a prolonged period of time, as this will encourage the growth of bacteria. The water that you’ll be serving them has to be clean, even if it’s meant for baths.

The application of herbicides and pesticides in your yard is not a good idea. Such items are the prime reason why some of our bird species are on the verge of extinction. Growing more native plants and trees for them to perch or hide from predators is a great idea.

hummingbird divider Conclusion

We hope this guide will be instrumental in the process of helping you identify the different hummingbirds that keep visiting your home in Kansas. Some of these species have been recognized by experts as regularly occurring, while others are “accidental”.

Don’t fret if you’re struggling to identify one, seeing as this is one of those hobbies that require experience. Keep practicing, be consistent, and your efforts will start paying off.  

Featured Image Credit: Avia5, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.