7 Mesmerizing Species of Hummingbirds in Georgia You Need to See!

Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating birds found in Georgia. Their diminutive size, dazzling colors, and incredible speed make them a joy to observe. This article will explore the different species of hummingbirds in Georgia, their behavior and habitat, tips for attracting them to your yard, and where to see them around the state.

Species of Hummingbirds in Georgia

Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating birds, captivating us with their petite size, vibrant colors, aerial acrobatics, and seemingly boundless energy. Georgia is fortunate to host around 12 species of these tiny dynamos each year. Understanding their unique characteristics and behaviors can help us support healthy populations of these essential pollinators.

When Are Hummingbirds Most Active in Georgia?

Hummingbirds are present in Georgia primarily between early March and late October each year. The most active months coincide with peak flowering seasons when nectar availability is highest:

  • Spring Migration: mid-March to early June – Males arrive first to establish feeding territories, followed shortly by females who begin building nests.
  • Nesting Season: May through July – Females incubate eggs and care for new hatchlings while males continue providing nectar.
  • Fall Migration: August to late October – Hummingbirds bulk up on food reserves before their long migration south. Activity levels remain high even as some birds depart.

The most popular hummingbird sightings occur between April and September when warm weather and plentiful flowers attract them to backyards and gardens around Georgia.

Plants That Attract Hummingbirds in Georgia

Hummingbirds in Georgia

Hummingbirds obtain most of their diet from nectar-producing flowers. Below are some top native plants in Georgia that provide an excellent natural food source:

Spring Bloomers

PlantFlower Color
Red BuckeyeRed tubular flowers
CrossvineRed tubular flowers
Coral HoneysuckleRed tubular flowers
ColumbineRed tubular flowers

Summer Bloomers

PlantFlower Color
Trumpet CreeperOrange/red tubular flowers
Cardinal FlowerRed tubular flowers
Bee BalmRed tubular flowers

Fall Bloomers

PlantFlower Color
Pineapple SageRed tubular flowers
Turk’s CapRed tubular flowers
Fire BushRed tubular flowers

Choosing a variety of flowering plants that bloom in succession provides nectar through the seasons. Plant in clusters for easier targeting, and include native species well-adapted to Georgia’s climate.

Types of Hummingbirds in Georgia

Hummingbirds in Georgia

Georgia hosts an impressive 12 species of hummingbirds throughout the year. Below are details on their key identification features, behaviors, breeding periods, and migration patterns:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Males have an iridescent red throat, females and juveniles are white underneath
  • Behaviors: Highly aggressive in defending feeding territories
  • Breeding: Nesting from May to June
  • Migration: Most abundant spring and fall migrant

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Distinctive bright, coppery red plumage
  • Behaviors: Extremely territorial, even on migration
  • Breeding: Nest in the Pacific Northwest, not Georgia
  • Migration: Regular spring and fall migrant

Allen’s Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Greenbacks, orange throat feathers (males)
  • Behaviors: Similar aggression to Rufous Hummingbirds
  • Breeding: Nest in coastal California, not Georgia
  • Migration: Infrequent fall migrant

Calliope Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Smallest breeding bird in North America, tiny with streaked throats
  • Behaviors: High-pitched thin song patterns
  • Breeding: Nest in the Rocky Mountains, not Georgia
  • Migration: Uncommon spring migrant

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Dark greenbacks with white spotting, red throat feathers (males)
  • Behaviors: Medium-pitched chipping vocalizations
  • Breeding: Nest in the Western United States, not Georgia
  • Migration: Rare spring migrant

Black-chinned Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Dark purplish throat feathers (males), pale gray undersides
  • Behaviors: Male aerial courtship displays
  • Breeding: Nest in Western states, not Georgia
  • Migration: Regular but uncommon spring migrant

Anna’s Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Rose-pink throat feathers (males), greenbacks
  • Behaviors: Adapt at song mimicry
  • Breeding: Nest along the Pacific Coast, not Georgia
  • Migration: Rare fall and winter migrant

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Pale green upperparts, buff-colored underside/tail feathers
  • Behaviors: Quiet, mostly solitary
  • Breeding: Nest in Texas and Mexico, not Georgia
  • Migration: Irregular winter visitor

Costa’s Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Violet-colored throat feathers (males), white under tail spots
  • Behaviors: Aggressive defense around feeding areas
  • Breeding: Nest in Southwest deserts, not Georgia
  • Migration: Rare winter migrant

Broad-billed Hummingbird

  • Identifying Features: Long, wide bill with a red base, green throat and back
  • Behaviors: High-pitched squeaky vocalizations
  • Breeding: Nests in Mexico, do not breed in Georgia
  • Migration: Accidental visitor

Rufous/Allen’s Hummingbird Hybrid

  • Identifying Features: Orange throat feathers like Allen’s, coppery back like Rufous
  • Behaviors: Shared aggressive territorial nature
  • Breeding: Do not successfully breed your own kind
  • Migration: Extremely rare migrant

Unidentified Female Hummingbirds

Females and young birds lack distinctive coloration, making identification difficult even for experts. Maintaining hummingbird feeders and planting flowers provides vital energy supplies for migrating birds that pass through Georgia.

Summary of Hummingbirds In Georgia: 12 Types

  • 5 core species seen annually – Ruby-throated, Rufous, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Black-chinned
  • 4 rare species are observed a few times yearly – Allen’s, Anna’s, Costa’s, Buff-bellied
  • 2 extremely rare/accidental species – Broad-billed, Hybrid Allen’s/Rufous
  • Plus many unidentified females/juveniles pass through annually

Understanding the species diversity that exists helps inform conservation efforts supporting healthy hummingbird populations. Georgia provides essential migratory passage and seasonal habitat for these spectacular tiny travelers.

Planting Nectar-Filled Flowers

Hummingbirds in Georgia

The easiest way to attract hummingbirds is by providing a consistent nectar supply in your yard or garden. Follow these tips:

Location: Site feeders/flowers in open areas with accessible perches

Red Flowers: Tubular blooms in the red color spectrum are hummingbird favorites

Flower Height: Include flowers at varying heights – low to the ground, mid-level, and overhead

Plant Diversity: Choose flower varieties that bloom in sequence from March through October

Native Species: Opt for plants native to Georgia as key food sources

Plant in Clusters: Group 3-5 plants together to create better feeding areas

Provide Feeders: Supplement natural flowers with 1-2 feeders, clean weekly

Feeder Tips: Use a mild 1:4 sugar-water ratio, refill when low, relocate every few weeks

Providing a rich and consistent source of nectar will encourage hummingbirds to take up residence and return annually.

Hummingbird Migrations in Georgia

The vast majority of hummingbirds passing through Georgia are migratory species, traveling astounding distances every year between their northern breeding grounds and southern wintering habitats.

Fall migration runs from late August through November as birds depart their summer ranges and make their way south. Southbound migrants funnel down Central America and fan out across the Caribbean for the winter.

By late October, most migratory hummingbirds have left Georgia and only year-round resident species remain along the Gulf Coast.

Spring migration picks back up in late February and March as northbound birds retrace their routes and flood back across the U.S. seeking nesting grounds.

The return passage is more strung out over time since adequate flower blooming periods dictate when birds arrive back on their breeding territories. Georgia benefits from this protracted timeline, hosting spring and fall migratory waves over 2-3 months.

Providing supplemental feeders and flowers helps sustain hummingbirds on their arduous seasonal journeys. These tiny travelers depend on networks of food resources across thousands of miles to complete their epic migrations.

Characteristics of Rufous Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds in Georgia

The Rufous Hummingbird is honored as the longest-distance migratory bird in the world relative to its minuscule size. At just over 3 inches and around 3 grams, these diminutive dynamos exhibit incredible endurance.

Some key traits that enable their extreme migrations include:

  • High Metabolism – At rest, their heart rate exceeds 200 beats per minute. In flight, it can reach as high as 1,260 bpm. This allows them to burn through calories at an astonishing pace to fuel their wings.

Fat Storage – In preparation for fall migration, Rufous Hummingbirds gain 25-40% of their body weight in fat reserves, allowing them to fly nonstop for over 20 hours.

Torpor Use – To conserve energy overnight or during periods of cold weather and low food, they can enter a hibernation-like state called torpor slowing their metabolism by 95 percent.

Cold Endurance – Research indicates Rufous Hummingbirds have one of the lowest survivable body temperatures of all birds at near freezing when employing torpor overnight.

Directional Instinct – They can orient themselves using the earth’s magnetic fields, guide themselves based on landmarks and celestial bodies, and may also utilize an internal compass mechanism as part of their navigation toolkit guiding migrations.

Rufous Hummingbirds epitomize the extreme capabilities of hummingbirds. Understanding their incredible physiology and endurance offers hints into how these captivating creatures achieve such astonishing migratory feats. Their presence each year in Georgia is an uplifting reminder of nature’s wonder and beauty.


Georgia’s hummingbirds highlight nature’s diversity with a spectacular array of breeding colors, behaviors, regional connections, migratory feats, and improbable physiological adaptations. Providing food, water, shelter, and nesting sites allows us to directly support their viability and become active participants in the preservation of these captivating species. Beyond sustenance, they gift us joy, respite, learning, inspiration, and solace. Ultimately, caring for hummingbirds enables us to care for ourselves and our larger world. Their tiny frames have enormous power to restore wonder to our lives.

Frequently Asked Questions About Species of Hummingbirds in Georgia

What time of year do hummingbirds arrive in Georgia?

The earliest spring migrant hummingbirds start passing through Georgia in mid to late March. Numbers gradually swell through April and May as more species arrive to nest across eastern North America. Some hardy individuals overwinter along the Gulf Coast and may appear slightly earlier. Expect a drop-off in sightings between August and October as most birds depart south for the winter.

What is the most common hummingbird seen in Georgia?

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the species most frequently observed in Georgia, representing about 95 percent of annual sightings. Males have vibrant red throats used to attract females. They aggressively defend feeding territories rich in nectar flowers or feeders. Most migrate south by October.

What plants attract the most hummingbirds?

Tubular red flowers hold particular appeal for hummingbirds with their high nectar content. Target plants that bloom variably from March through late summer for consistent food supplies. Top native plants in Georgia include Pineapple Sage, Crossvine, Cardinal Flower, and Coral Honeysuckle. Zinnias, Bee Balm, and Fuchsia also attract hummingbirds to gardens.

When do hummingbirds nest and raise babies in Georgia?

Nesting activities ramp up in Georgia starting in April and extend through July. Only the Ruby-throated hummingbird actually breeds locally; most species just pass through on spring/fall migrations. Females build tiny, well-camouflaged nests, incubate eggs for about two weeks, and feed chicks for another 2-3 weeks before young fledge on their own.

How many eggs does a female hummingbird lay?

A female lays a very small clutch of just 2 tiny eggs per season. About the size of a coffee bean, they are white with reddish-brown speckles. She cares for the eggs alone, incubating them for roughly 14 days before they hatch. Lifespans are short (just 3-12 years on average), placing extra importance on successfully fledging young each season.

How can I tell the difference between male and female hummingbirds?

Males have the most vibrant, iridescent throat and crown feathers used to attract females. Females and immature birds have white undersides but otherwise muted, less distinctive plumage more focused on camouflage while nesting. Distinguishing between female hummingbird species is very challenging and often impossible without capture and measurement.

Do hummingbirds reuse the same nests?

No, each year a new nest is built by the female as the breeding season starts. They select new sites providing protective cover near reliable food sources. Sometimes a female may reuse and refurbish part of an old nest still intact from the previous year to save some effort as she starts building a new one from scratch.

How often should hummingbird feeders be cleaned?

To prevent harmful mold or bacteria, clean feeders at least once every 1-2 weeks. Boil the feeder in water for several minutes to fully sterilize and discard old sugar water which can also spoil. Rinse well before refilling 1⁄4 part sugar with 4 parts hot water. Let cool before rehanging so birds don’t burn their tongues.

What do hummingbirds eat besides nectar?

Hummingbirds get most of their nutrition from sugary nectar. They also eat lots of small insects which provide their other key dietary source of protein. A nursing female needs plenty of insects to keep up with the hefty nutritional demands of her fast-growing chicks. Setting out fruit flies or aphids attracts hummingbirds seeking high-protein snacks to pair with their sweet liquid diet.

About the Author: Hudaibia

My name is Hudaibia with the profound passion for our feathered friends. Birds have captivated my heart and mind since childhood. Now I share my avian devotion through my website, mybirdfeed.com.