Costa’s Hummingbird

Calypte costae
Range Map

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a North American desert southwest specialist. In the extreme heat of the summer it will look for cooler wooded habitats up-slope and nearby. Rarely, these birds have been found as far north as British Columbia and Alaska. Central and southern California, south to southern Baja California (Mexico) are more to their liking, as well as southern Nevada, southwestern Arizona, and northwestern mainland Mexico.

In the extreme eastern parts of their range, they are visitors only during the spring and summer breeding season. In the western parts of their range they are year-round residents, though there is a shift from east to west in much of this region during the fall and summer seasons.

Taxonomists regard the Costa’s Hummingbird as monotypic (i.e. there are no recognised subspecies).

Those of us on the west coast of the USA who enjoy hummingbirds are more fortunate than our friends on the east coast. Rarely does anyone on the east coast meet more than the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. The Texas Gulf coast adds the Buff-Breasted Hummingbird most of the year, and during migration, several others. Here in southern California, we have several species with us year-round, and several more that pass through in spring and fall. The Costa’s Hummingbird is a species that, along with Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds, we are blessed with throughout the year.

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