Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird Picture

Calliope Hummingbird

A Calliope Hummingbird is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Calliope Hummingbirds. We have also put together a list of fun Calliope Hummingbird t-shirts, Calliope Hummingbird bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.

About the Calliope Hummingbird

They are the smallest of all North American birds. Despite their tiny size, they are able to survive adverse climatic conditions in the northern Rockies. During migration, they usually feed on low flowers and avoid larger hummingbirds. They migrate to southern Mexico from Canada all year long. Some of their distinctive features include:

Description and Identification

Calliope hummingbirds are North America’s and Canada’s smallest birds, with a length of only 2.8-3.9 inches, and a wingspan of 4.3 inches. Their distinguishable features are a glossy and green back and crown, white underparts, a short tail, and a white line above the base of the bill. Male Calliope Hummingbirds have a majestic, magenta-striped throat, green flanks and a dark tail. The females and the young are not as easily distinguishable from other hummingbirds. They have a light-pinkish patch on their sides, dark rays on their throat, and a dark tail with white tips.

Calliope Hummingbird Color Pattern

They are primarily green with green upperparts and white underparts with green speckling on the sides. The males have a magnificent magenta ray on their throat. The eyes are dark brown.

Calliope Hummingbird Size

They are the smallest hummingbirds. The hunched posture they assume makes them look even smaller. They have short wings and tail while their bill is thin but short for a hummingbird. It is sparrow-sized or smaller and dwarfed by a black-chinned hummingbird.

The relative size of both sexes

  • Length range: 3.1-3.5 in (8-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (2.3-3.4 g)
  • Wingspan range: 4.1-4.3 in (10.5-11 cm)

Calliope Hummingbird Behavior

They pick small flying insects and take nectar from flowers. They forage on the ground and hover to pluck insects from foliage. Males usually perform u-shaped dives to attract females. They are territorial and drive away intruders invading their nest.

What Calliope Hummingbird Eat

These birds use their long, flexible tongue to drink nectar from flowers.  They also feed on various insects and spiders which are available to them. The females nourish the younglings by feeding them insects till they grow old enough to fly on their own. One might get the opportunity to see Calliope Hummingbirds up close by setting up sugar water feeders in the backyard. Another source of food for these birds are sap-wells created by sapsuckers, through which they can ingest sap, as well as the insects stuck in the sap.

Their diet comprises of insects and nectar. They pick nectar from flowering plants and catch insects mid-air. They will frequent sap wells which are created by sapsuckers to devour stuck insects and ingest the sap.

Where Calliope Hummingbirds Live

Calliope hummingbirds seasonally change their place of shelter. They breed near clearings and borders in mountainous regions, or in open shrub lands. The simplest way to spot this bird is to locate its favorite spot near its breeding grounds. Calliope hummingbirds love to perch themselves on the branch of a willow or alder tree. As they have an elliptical migration route, in spring they can be found in coastal areas, while in autumn they are more frequently seen in areas with a higher elevation such as the Rocky Mountains.

These hummingbirds will breed in cool mountain environments in willow, regenerating forests and mountain meadows. Their ideal breeding ground is 4,000-11,000 ft. although they can breed along the Columbia River which is at a lower altitude. The nest site can be in a pine or deciduous shrub which is usually 6-40 ft. above the ground.

Range and Migration

Calliope Hummingbirds are one of the tiniest hummingbirds found in The United States and Canada. They have a western breeding range from California to British Columbia. Despite their small stature, these birds can survive cold summer nights at high altitudes. Being migratory birds, they leave their breeding grounds earlier than most other birds. Calliope Hummingbirds are also considered one of the tiniest long-distant migrants, travelling upto 5,000 miles during winter towards warmer regions such as Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. The males often migrate earlier than the females and the young. 

Calliope Hummingbird Lifecycle

The females lay 2 eggs and incubate them for 15-16 days. The female feeds the nestlings and due to the cool environment, she broods them at night and between feeding intervals. They fledge after 18-21 days. Their lifespan is 6 years in the wild.


Female Calliope hummingbirds take up the task of building the nests, usually in pines, or other coniferous trees. The nest is a little cup constructed of moss, bark fibers, spider webs and plant material. Tiny bits of lichen are used on the outside to camouflage the nest. The males attract the females by performing a U-shaped flight display, ascending 60 feet, and then diving swiftly with a popping and zinging sound. Another characteristic courtship display of the male is to hover before the female with his throat feathers flared out. Male Calliope hummingbirds never participate in the raising the young, in fact the males often depart from the breeding premises before the young ones hatch.  The females protect the nestlings for upto 20 days after they hatch, until they begin to fly.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

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  • Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

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Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Calliope Hummingbirds

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Calliope Hummingbirds are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

  • Birding Binoculars

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  • Kids Binocular 8x21

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Calliope Hummingbird T-shirts

If you love the Calliope Hummingbird you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

Calliope Hummingbird Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron on patches. Our bird watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen an identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The Calliope Hummingbird is a great iron on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

  • Bird Banner with iron on patches

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Calliope Hummingbird Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Calliope Hummingbird. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders For Calliope Hummingbird

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.

Best Bird Houses for Calliope Hummingbird

There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great. 

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