There are five different species of hummingbirds present in Illinois.
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Black-chinned Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Allen’s Hummingbirds
- Broad-billed Hummingbird
Illinois is a state that is home to many different species of birds.
This could be due to its humid continental climate. Or alternatively, it may be the 309 different state parks and its 12-acre National Historic site that can be found throughout the state.
Either way, you can see lots of birds there, some of which are hummingbirds.
The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the most abundant of all of these species. Now let’s have a look at these five different bird species in more detail.
What Hummingbirds can be seen in Illinois?
Table of Contents
1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- These hummingbirds feed on nectar, particularly the nectar of both orange and red tubular plants such as honeysuckle.
- These birds are tiny and only weigh 2-6g with their wingspan being 8-11cm.
This bird gets its name from its iconic bright red throat, however only the males of this species sport these ruby feathers.
Both males and females have a white plumage with the rest of their bodies covered in green feathers.
These birds like to stay in woodlands but have someone been observed in prairie areas and even sub-urban areas such as parks when they are further north.
These birds are quite aggressive but have been seen frequently yielding to larger species such as the Rufous Hummingbird.
Males will try to court any females that enter their territory with a flight display.
This is the only species of hummingbird that is native to the state of Illinois.
They are usually only seen in the state during their breeding seasons, but some have been known to spend most of the year in the state.
They have been seen in all areas of Illinois but most of the recorded sightings of this bird appear to be in the southern half of the state.
2. Black-chinned Hummingbird
- They most commonly consume nectar from flowers but will also eat insects when they are more readily available.
- These birds are very small with a weight range of 2.3-4.9g and have an average wingspan of 11cm.
This species has a pale white or grey belly that is visible on both sexes and the males have dark necks with black and iridescent purple feathers.
They are similar in size to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and you are more likely to see them nesting in areas close to bodies of water like rivers.
This species of hummingbird is not very common therefore its behaviour has not been documented as much as other species of hummingbird.
It is known that the males performing courting displays that involves dives of up to 100ft.
They have also been observed finding a high perch to survey their territory after they have spent time feeding.
These birds are not common in the state of Illinois, but they have been seen there outside of their breeding seasons.
It is most commonly during their migratory period and you can try to attract these birds to your garden by adding tubular flowers. The sightings are limited but appear to be in the south of the state.
3. Rufous Hummingbirds
- Nectar from tubular plants is the main source of food for this bird.
- These birds are average sized for a hummingbird and weigh 2-5g.
The females of this species have mostly dull and green feathers whilst the males on the other hand have feathers of iridescent orange and rusty shades.
These birds are usually seen in open areas of land such as grasslands and they have multiple migrations throughout the year.
Rufous Hummingbirds are very aggressive to both their own species and other hummingbird species. They will start fights over both food and mates.
Food appears to be more important than breeding as males have been seen chasing females away from manmade bird feeders, even in the middle of the breeding season.
With three distinct ranges across the states, these birds have only been seen in the state of Illinois during their migratory periods.
They are easily attracted to gardens with bright tubular flowers and sugar-water feeders.
They have most frequently been sighted in the northeast of the state, particularly around Chicago.
4. Allen’s Hummingbird
- A lot of this bird’s diet comes from nectar, but they will also eat small amounts of insects.
- They are similar in size to a lot of other hummingbirds, weighing 2-4g.
Allen’s Hummingbirds have feathers that turn coppery in colour when they reach adulthood.
The females also show orange shades of feathers, but they are duller on themselves and brighter on the males.
The males tend to be in more open areas of land, but they are common near coastal areas.
During the breeding season, males will perform their courtship displays for the females from a permanent perch.
As with most other hummingbirds, males will mate with multiple females and the pairs do not stay together, females will take care of the young on their own.
These birds are often commonly misidentified as Rufous Hummingbirds, but they are less aggressive than the other species.
Allen’s hummingbirds have a very small range and have only been seen in Illinois outside of their breeding seasons.
Most commonly during their migratory period. These birds are not as frequent visitors of gardens, but they can still be attracted by a simple sugar-water feeder.
They have only been sighted along the western border of the state.
5. Broad-billed Hummingbird
- Nectar is the primary food source for these birds but they will also eat insects that they find on plants.
- These birds are average for a hummingbird and have a weight range of 3-4g.
These birds have a bright red bill, which is unsurprisingly quite wide.
Their bodies are covered in blue and green feathers. You are most likely to see these hummingbirds in semi-open areas of land such as canyons and meadows.
Males will perform a courtship display for females only when they enter their territory and will call to attract them there.
Males will sometimes perform the same display to other males of the species as a warning display. Breeding pairs do not stay together, and females raise their young by themselves.
Broad-billed hummingbirds are most commonly seen in southern states.
However, they have been sighted in Illinois during their breeding seasons.
The sightings of these birds have been in the central regions of Illinois and whilst they do visit gardens they appear to do so less frequently than other species of hummingbirds.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!