Costa’s Hummingbird (Calypte costae)
The Costa’s Hummingbirds are a common species found in hot deserts and other xeric habitats. This species breeds in three major habitat types: Sonoran Desert scrub, Mohave Desert scrub, and California coast. It leaves the Sonoran and Mojave Desert scrub habitat of Arizona after the peak of breeding season (mid-March through mid-April) and, by May, most of the birds have migrated from the area. Post-breeding destinations are largely unknown. The species returns to Arizona and California deserts when desert lavender or chuparosa begin flowering. Costa’s Hummingbird can be seen in Guadalupe Canyon in the Peloncillo Mountains in extreme southwestern New Mexico from mid-March to mid-August. During the nonbreeding season, individuals have been observed slightly above 7,800 feet in elevation in chaparral, scrub, or woodland habitat.
These hummingbirds feed on a variety of plants and insects, with particular focus on two shrubs in desert scrub areas, chuparosa and ocotillo. Additional nectar plants include desert lavender, thornbush, honeysuckle, beardtongue, coral bean, and New Mexico thistle.
Costa’s Hummingbird’s breeding populations begin to arrive in southwestern Arizona in mid to late October, nesting at elevations from 100 to 4,700 feet. Nest construction begins as early as mid-January. Nests are found primarily in foothill paloverde trees but have also been found in jojoba, blue paloverde, ironwood, canyon ragweed, hopbush, and goldenweed. Nests are placed anywhere from 1 to 9 feet above ground. The greatest threats to Costa’s Hummingbirds in Arizona are desert wildfires and urban development.
Male Costa’s Hummingbirds have an iridescent violet crown and gorget that run along both sides of the throat. Both males and females have green upperparts. Females have a white throat and underparts, with occasional violet feathers.
The female Costa's Hummingbird is displayed below:
Uncommon and Rare Hummingbirds