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Calliope Hummingbird - BirdForum Opus

Adult Male
Photo by Michael W
Spokane, Washington, May 2004
Selasphorus calliope

Stellula calliope


The smallest bird in North America; females are slightly larger than males
Adult male: metallic green back and crown, white gorget with purple rays that may be erected to show a "whiskered" effect.
Adult female: green back and crown, white throat with dark streaks, buff sides, and white-tipped tail corners.


Female or immature
Photo by Michael W
Spokane, Washington, August 2005

Breeds mainly in western North America (Canada to Baja California).

Winters in west-central Mexico.

Casual vagrant to Kansas.


This species has been moved to genus Selasphorus by the North American Classification Committee under AOU; the world wide checklists have followed. It was formerly placed in the monotypic genus Stellula.

Calliope Hummingbird has either no[1] or two[2] known subspecies depending on who you believe. If two, they are calliope and lowei.


Prefers high mountains, and has been seen as high as 11,000 feet.


Usually forages within five feet of the ground.


Photo by mts
British Columbia, Canada, May 2009

Builds its nests over creeks or over roads next to streams or lakes. Usually repairs the previous year's nest or constructs a new one atop the old nest.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Avibase

Recommended Citation

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