U.S. Hummingbird Decline: 7 Species Lose 67% of Population Since 1970

Hummingbirds are some of the most enchanting creatures in the United States, captivating bird enthusiasts and nature lovers with their iridescent plumage and incredible aerial abilities. However, not all hummingbird species are thriving.

In fact, several U.S. hummingbird populations are facing significant declines, with some even teetering on the brink of endangerment. Here’s seven rare and endangered U.S. hummingbird species that deserve our attention and conservation efforts.

1. Rufous Hummingbird: The Threatened Traveler

Image Credit: Griffin Gillespie/Shutterstock

The Rufous Hummingbird, known for its incredible migratory feats, has experienced a staggering population decline in recent years. Since 1970, this species has lost two-thirds of its population, earning it a spot on the “Tipping Point” list.

If current trends continue, the Rufous Hummingbird is projected to lose another 50% of its population in the next 50 years (ref).

This alarming decline is attributed to various factors, including habitat loss, climate change, and competition with other hummingbird species. As a result, the Rufous Hummingbird is now considered a species of concern, highlighting the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect this remarkable bird.

2. Allen’s Hummingbird: The Vanishing Coastal Gem

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Allen’s Hummingbird, a close relative of the Rufous Hummingbird, is another species facing significant population declines. Found along the Pacific coast from California to Oregon.

The primary threats to Allen’s Hummingbird include habitat loss due to coastal development, climate change, and competition with other hummingbird species for limited resources. As this species continues to struggle, it is crucial that we take action to protect its remaining habitats and ensure its long-term survival.

3. Costa’s Hummingbird: The Desert Dweller in Decline

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Costa’s Hummingbird, a desert specialist found in the southwestern United States, has also experienced significant population declines in recent decades. Between 1970 and 2023, this species’ population decreased by as much as 67%, mirroring the alarming trend seen in other U.S. hummingbird species.

The main threats to Costa’s Hummingbird include habitat loss due to urban development, climate change, and the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in its desert habitats. As this species continues to face challenges, it is essential that we work to protect and restore the unique desert ecosystems upon which it depends.

4. Calliope Hummingbird: The Tiny Bird with Big Troubles

Image Credit: Nico Giuliani/Shutterstock

The Calliope Hummingbird, the smallest breeding bird in North America, is not immune to the population declines affecting other U.S. hummingbird species.

Despite its tiny size, the Calliope Hummingbird is a remarkable traveler, migrating thousands of miles each year between its breeding grounds in the western U.S. and Canada and its wintering grounds in Mexico. However, this incredible journey is becoming increasingly perilous due to habitat loss, climate change, and other threats along its migratory route.

5. Broad-tailed Hummingbird: The Mountain Migrant at Risk

Image Credit: Kent Raney/Shutterstock

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird, a common sight in the mountain regions of the western United States, has also experienced significant population declines in recent years.

The primary threats to the Broad-tailed Hummingbird include habitat loss due to climate change, which is altering the timing of flower blooms and insect emergence in its mountain habitats. Additionally, this species faces risks during its impressive migratory journeys, which can span over 1,000 miles between its breeding and wintering grounds.

6. Lucifer Hummingbird: The Elusive Desert Dweller

Image Credit: Rob Palmer Photography/Shutterstock

The Lucifer Hummingbird, a rare sight in the United States, is primarily found in the Chihuahuan Desert region of southwestern Texas and southeastern New Mexico. While not currently listed as endangered, this species is considered vulnerable due to its limited range and the ongoing threats to its desert habitats.

As a specialized desert dweller, the Lucifer Hummingbird is particularly sensitive to habitat loss and degradation caused by human activities, such as oil and gas development, overgrazing, and off-road vehicle use. Protecting the unique desert ecosystems where this species lives is crucial for ensuring its long-term survival.

7. Violet-crowned Hummingbird: The Sonoran Specialty at Risk

Image Credit: Matthew Jolley/Shutterstock

The Violet-crowned Hummingbird, another rare species in the United States, is primarily found in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. While not currently listed as endangered, this species is considered vulnerable due to its limited range and the ongoing threats to its riparian habitats.

The Violet-crowned Hummingbird relies on the lush vegetation found along desert streams and rivers for both food and shelter. However, these riparian habitats are increasingly threatened by water diversion, drought, and invasive species. Protecting and restoring these critical ecosystems is essential for the long-term conservation of this beautiful hummingbird species.

As we’ve seen, several U.S. hummingbird species are facing significant population declines and are at risk of becoming endangered. While the challenges these birds face are daunting, there is still hope.

By raising awareness, supporting conservation efforts, and taking action to protect and restore critical habitats, we can help ensure that these remarkable creatures continue to grace our skies for generations to come.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.