The Costa’s Hummingbird
A Costa’s Hummingbird is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Costa’s Hummingbirds. We have also put together a list of fun Costa’s Hummingbird t-shirts, Costa’s Hummingbird bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Costa’s Hummingbirds
The Costa’s Hummingbird is a very small bird in the hummingbird family and is native to North America. Both their breeding and winter range is in the northwestern region of North America. They feel at home in the scorching heat of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts which sometimes gets cool from the cooler air of the coastal scrub. Their numbers have declined due to desert developments though in some areas it has adapted to nesting in the suburbs.
Description and Identification
Costa’s Hummingbirds are the second smallest hummingbirds found in North America. Costa’s
Hummingbirds are 3-3.5 inches long, with a wingspan of 4.3 inches. These tiny birds have a
distinct iridescent green coloration on their backs and heads. Male Costa’s Hummingbirds are
easy to distinguish due to the distinct metallic purple coloration on their gorget and crown.
Some of the adult females have a few violet feathers in the middle of their throat which make them
easily identifiable. Other females have completely white throats. Both sexes have dull brown to
black irises, legs, and feet, and black bills. Younglings look similar to their mothers till they become
1 year old.
Costa’s Hummingbird Color Pattern
The male has a small black tail and wings while its back is green with flanks. They have patches of white accompanied by a gorget on the throat and tail. The vibrant purple cap and throat feathers that flare out and back behind its head are the distinguishing features present in the male Costa’s Hummingbird. The female has a grayish-green upper body and a white underbelly.
Costa’s Hummingbird Size
They are very small birds with their length spanning 7.6-8.9cm and a wingspan of approximately 11cm. The Costa’s Hummingbird weighs only 2-3g.
Costa’s Hummingbird Behavior
They hover above flowers to use their long beaks to take nectar and catch small insects mid-air. The male defends their territory and nectar sources during the breeding season. During courtship, the male gives a display by flying straight towards the female and makes several loops around her then flies straight up. He returns in a broad U-shaped dive while singing in a high-pitched voice during the dive.
Costa’s Hummingbird Food
Although Costa’s Hummingbirds are omnivores, their major source of nutrition is nectar from
flowers. White sages, tree tobaccos, heart-leaved penstemons, tiny desert lavender flowers, desert
honey-suckles, and huge saguaro flowers are generally their most frequent sources of nectar.
These birds also need to eat insects to fulfill their protein requirements. They forage for insects by
gleaning from the top of branches, leaves, or tree trunks or they catch them in flight.
The Costa’s Hummingbird mostly feeds on insects and nectar. They often visit desert native flowers like the agave, desert honeysuckle, and the fairy duster. In the suburbs, they would feed on sugar-water solutions from hummingbird feeders.
Costa’s Hummingbird Habitat
Costa’s Hummingbirds prefer dry habitats like deserts. Regions in which they occur frequently are
sage scrubs, Mojave desert scrub, and Sonoran desert scrub. These birds are frequently observed
at elevations below 3,000 feet in lowlands, steep rock slopes, and desert washes. Cottonwoods,
bristle brushes, Adam’s trees, Elephant trees, and cholla cacti are examples of some trees and
plants they nest in.
They like desert scrubs like those present in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts. Also, they can be seen in coastal California’s chaparral and sage scrub. They also like the desert scrub and deciduous forests in Baja California, Mexico.
Range and Migration
Costa’s Hummingbirds are widespread in the western regions of Mexico and America. Their
the southern range extends till central Mexico and their northern range extends till central California.
Some Costa’s Hummingbirds have also been located in Kansas, Alaska, and the southernmost
region of Mexico. The wintering habitat of these birds is in western Mexico. Costa’s Hummingbirds
that breed in desert regions usually migrate towards coastal regions during winters.
Costa’s Hummingbird Life Cycle
The female lays two eggs and incubates them for 15-18 days. The young take the first flight 20-23 days after hatching. They have a lifespan of 5 years.
Costa’s Hummingbird Nesting
Costa’s Hummingbirds generally breed between the months of January and May. Unlike most
other birds, Costa’s Hummingbirds don’t pair, they only interact while mating. Male Costa’s
Hummingbirds perform elaborate flight displays to attract females. As these birds do not form pairs,
the males are known to mate with several females. Female Costa’s Hummingbirds build the nests
in open areas at 3-7 feet elevation in the shrubbery. Graythorn, ironwood, cholla, and acacia are some
shrubs they choose for nesting. The nests are made up of small leaves, strips of bark, and bits of
lichen which are woven together with spiderwebs. This flimsy nest is constructed in a period of 4-5
days. The depth of the nest is 1 inch, and its diameter is about 1.25 inches. Sometimes, nests are
built over older nests available from earlier breeding seasons. Annually 1-2 broods are raised by
Female Costa’s Hummingbirds, with each clutch consisting of 1-2 eggs. These eggs hatch after an
incubation period of 15-18 days. Females feed the younglings by regurgitating food until they
become capable of collecting their own food.
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.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Costa’s Hummingbirds
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Costa’s 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.
Costa’s Hummingbird T-shirts
If you love the Costa’s Hummingbird you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Costa’s 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 and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Costa’s 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.
Costa’s Hummingbird Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Costa’s 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 Costa’s Hummingbirds
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 Costa’s Hummingbirds
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.