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Anna’s Hummingbirds: Description and Similar Species

Hummingbird Information


Female Anna's Hummingbird feeding


Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna

Anna’s Hummingbird Page



Even though the Anna’s Hummingbirds are only medium-sized hummingbirds — they are the largest hummingbirds found along the United States west coast.

They average 3.9 to 4.3 inches (10 to 11 centimeters) in length; including the tail.

Males tend to be slightly larger than females, weighing between 0.12 to 0.2 ounces (3.5 to 5.8 grams); females weigh between 0.12 to 0.17 ounces (3.3 to 4.7 grams). Their wingspan is about 5.25 inches (~13 cm).

Common Physical Traits:

They have tube-shaped bodies with green feathers of varying amounts. They have long, thin and straight bills; and a small white spot or streak behind the eyes.

Immature Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna

Gender ID:

Males can easily be recognized by their distinctive reddish colored forehead and gorget (throat patch) – which may appear black or dark purple in low light. They have elongated feathers projecting down the side of their necks. The back and sides are a dark metallic bronze green. The under plumage is grey mottled with green. The tail is dark or black, except the center pair of the tail feathers, which are green. The tail feathers are rounded at the tip.

Females have a green upper plumage. Below she is a dull greyish white or brownish grey with some green spots. The tufts on the side of her rump are white. Her head is sometimes dark greyish brown. Her throat is grey with a little red spotting that intensifies towards the middle of the throat forming a small irregular patch with some iridescence. Her dark, rounded tail has white tips on the outer feathers. The two central tail feathers are metallic bronze-green. Her wing feathers are dark.


The juveniles resemble adult females, with a green crown, a grey throat – but they lack the red markings on the throat that can be seen on the female.

Mutations / Albinos

A partial white albino (leucistic) Anna’s Hummingbird (please refer to beautiful image below) has been photographed in San Diego, California. Information about albino / white hummingbirds.

Similar Species

Costa’s Hummingbirds have a similar plumage pattern, but the male’s Costa’s Hummingbird’s gorget (throat feathers) is even longer than that of the Anna’s. The male Costa’s has purple crown (top of the head) and throat while the male Anna’s Hummingbird has a reddish crown and gorget (throat feathers). Female Anna’s Hummingbirds are most easily distinguished from other similar hummingbirds by their larger size, darker mottled grey underparts and vocalizations (other hummingbirds are mostly silent).

Albino/Leucistic Anna's Hummingbird drinking from aloe bloom

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.




Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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