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Calliope Hummingbird

Stellula calliope

Length: 3 inches Wingspan: 4.25 inches Seasonality: Rare Visitor
ID Keys: Tiny size, magenta stripes on throat (male), greenish upperparts, white underneath, relatively short bill for hummingbird, short rounded tail

Calliope Hummingbird - Stellula calliope The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird found in the United States, weighing only one-tenth of one ounce, and only reaching 3 inches in length.  Despite their small size and delicate appearance, they breed in the relatively cold and harsh higher elevations of the western United States and Canada, and migrate all the way to southern Mexico for the winter.  

Habitat: In its summer breeding habitat, they are found at high elevations in the western mountains of the U.S. and Mexico.  They prefer shrubby areas, often near a water source.  They commonly use clear-cut forest areas that have experienced some shrubby second-growth.  They can be found in nearly any kind of habitat during migration.

Diet: Feeds primarily on nectar. Also will feed on tiny insects, and will drink sap from holes created by sapsuckers.

Behavior: Unobtrusive and less aggressive than larger hummingbirds, often feeding low in the flowers and away from more aggressive competitors.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Generally silent, but with occasional high tsip, sometimes repeated.

Migration: Summers in the mountains of the western United States and Canada.  Winters in southern Mexico. 

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Calliope Hummingbird sightings

Similar Species: Rufous Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout it's normal range.

Feeders: Will attend feeders for sugar water.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Calliope Hummingbird

2) WhatBird - Calliope Hummingbird

3) Audubon Guide - Calliope Hummingbird

Photo Information: Red Rocks State Park near Sedona, Arizona - September 7th, 2006 - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Calliope Hummingbird photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Calliope Hummingbird - Stellula calliope - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Very rare visitor, with only a handful of records in the state.

Additional Calliope Hummingbird Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
Calliope Hummingbird - Stellula calliope
 Calliope Hummingbird - Stellula calliope