Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Amazilia violiceps

Length: 4.5 inches Wingspan: 6 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Long red bill, brownish upperparts, white underparts, violet-colored crown on male

Violet-crowned Hummingbird - Amazilia violicepsThe Violet-crowned Hummingbird is a fairly distinctive, large hummingbird of Mexico and the extreme southern part of Arizona and New Mexico.  The species was considered a vagrant in the U.S., but breeding records were confirmed starting around 1960.  Since then, the species has regularly been found to breed in southern Arizona and New Mexico, primarily in sycamore trees that line canyon streams.  The species has been found overwintering in the U.S. in greater numbers in recent years, either an indication of a better observation network, or possibly an indication of an expansion of range.     

Habitat: In the United States portion of their range, Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are mostly found in riparian areas with tall trees (especially sycamores and Cottonwoods, with a scrubby understory.  In Mexico, they can be found in a variety of habitats, including dry shrublands, in pine-oak woodlands, and in suburban gardens.

Diet: Typical diet of hummingbirds, primarily nectar, but insects also comprise a portion of the diet. 

Behavior: Typically follows a series of established foraging routes, but doesn't strongly defend feeding territories..

Nesting: The nest of a Violet-crowned Hummingbird is made of plant fibers bound together with spider webs, lined with downy plant material, and camouflaged on the outside with lichens, moss, and bark.  Female builds the nest, incubates the eggs, and raises the young.

Song: The call is a thin tak.  Song is a string of high descending syllables.

Migration: Birds in the U.S. and northern Mexico have long been viewed as primarily migratory, moving to central Mexico in the winter. Increasing numbers have been discovered overwintering in Arizona and  New Mexico, however.  Most birds in the southern two-thirds of their range are permanent residents.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Violet-crowned Hummingbird sightings

Feeders: Will attend hummingbird feeders

Similar Species: Generally distinctive.  It's the only hummingbird seen in the U.S. that is uniformly whitish below and brownish above.   

Conservation Status: No conservation concerns are presently noted for the species.  The range may be increasing in the United States. 

Further Information: 1) Cornell's Neotropical Birds - Violet-crowned Hummingbird

2) - Violet-crowned Hummingbird

3) AvianWeb - Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Photo Information: October 4th, 2009 - Dona Ana, New Mexico - Jerry Oldenettel - Licensed under Create Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Additional Photos: Additional Photos Coming Soon!!


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Violet-crowned Hummingbird - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Violet-crowned Hummingbird Photos (coming soon!!)