The following hummingbird species are known to occur in Alaska …
Identification of many hummingbird species is often most easily done by the males’ colorful, glossy throat patches, which range from orange, red, purple, green, blue. These patches may be restricted to only the throat or in some species may extend over the crown or even over most of the head. However, in poor light conditions, these color patches may simply look greyish/black, which makes identification more difficult. Females and juveniles of the different species often look alike; however, some physical clues can usually be found.
Rufous Hummingbirds, Selasphorus rufus – Native – Arrive in early May; may linger as long as October.
These hummingbirds are usually found in gardens and at feeders. These birds are fearless, and are known for chasing away other hummingbirds and even larger birds, or rodents away from their favorite nectar feeders and flowers.
Males can easily be identified by their glossy orange-red throats.
Females have whitish, speckled throats, green backs and crowns, and rufous, white-tipped tail feathers.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Archilochus colubris – Rare
Migrating males are usually the first to arrive and the first to depart. The females and the young usually follow about two weeks later.
The male has a ruby-red throat, a white collar, an emerald green back and a forked tail.
The female has a green back and tail feathers that are banded white, black and grey-green.
Rufous Hummingbird versus the similar Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Identification)
Anna’s Hummingbirds, Calypte anna – Only occurs in south Alaska.
One of the larger and the most vocal hummingbirds in the United States, where it is the only species to produce a song; specifically the males produce a complex series of scratchy noises, sounding like a sharp “chee-chee-chee; when moving from flower to flower, they emit toneless “chip” vocalizations. All other hummingbirds in the United States are mostly silent.
They are well known for their territorial behavior; the male makes elaborate dive displays at other birds and sometimes even at people. At the bottom of their dives, they produce high-pitched loud popping sounds with their tail feathers.
Males have glossy dark rose-red throats and crowns, which may appear black or dark purple in low light. The underside is mostly greyish; and the back metallic green.
Females have light grey chests with white and red spotting on the throat, greenish back and white tipped tails.
They resemble the Costa’s Hummingbirds, but the male’s Costa’s Hummingbird‘s gorget (throat feathers) is longer than that of the Anna’s. They are larger than the Rufous Hummingbirds and lack the rusty coloration of the Rufous Hummingbirds.
Costa’s Hummingbirds, Calypte costae
Males can easily be identified by the glossy purple crown and long, conspicuous throat feathers that project markedly down the side of the throats, giving it an elongated “moustache” appearance. The back is metallic green.
Females have greyish-green crowns (fop of the head) and backs. The chin and the plumage below are whitish, except for some black spotting on her throat. Her flanks are buffy-colored. She has a dark tail with white tips on the outer tail feathers.
Calliope Hummingbirds, Stellula calliope
The smallest breeding bird in North America.