Photo: Rick & Nora Bowers/Vireo

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Amazilia violiceps

This good-sized hummingbird was not found nesting in the U.S. until 1959. It is now uncommon but regular in summer in a few sites in southeastern Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico. In places where flowers are not abundant, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird may be discovered flying about or hovering in the shady middle levels of tall trees, catching small insects in flight.
Conservation status A relative newcomer north of the border, where numbers and range still seem to be gradually increasing.
Family Hummingbirds
Habitat Sycamore groves, canyons, streamsides. In its limited U.S. range, found mostly near groves of tall trees (especially sycamores or cottonwoods) with brushy understory, along lowland streams or lower stretches of canyons.
This good-sized hummingbird was not found nesting in the U.S. until 1959. It is now uncommon but regular in summer in a few sites in southeastern Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico. In places where flowers are not abundant, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird may be discovered flying about or hovering in the shady middle levels of tall trees, catching small insects in flight.
Photo Gallery
  • adult
  • adult
Feeding Behavior

At flowers, usually feeds while hovering, extending its bill and long tongue deep into the center of the flower. At feeders, may either hover or perch. To catch small insects, may fly out and grab them in midair, or hover to pluck them from foliage.


Eggs

2. White. Incubation is by female only, probably 2 weeks or more. Young: Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar.


Young

Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar.

Diet

Mostly nectar and insects. Takes nectar from flowers, and eats many small insects as well. Will also feed on sugar-water mixtures in hummingbird feeders.


Nesting

Breeding behavior is not well known. Has a squeaky song, heard especially at dawn in breeding season. In Arizona, most nesting activity is in mid to late summer. Nest site is in deciduous tree or large shrub; placed on horizontal limb or in forked twig, often about 20 feet up. Nest (built by female) is a compact cup of grasses, plant fibers, spider webs, lined with plant down. The outside is camouflaged with bits of lichen or twigs.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Probably a permanent resident over most of its range, but present in the U.S. mostly in summer (a few have been known to spend the winter).

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Migration

Probably a permanent resident over most of its range, but present in the U.S. mostly in summer (a few have been known to spend the winter).

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A loud chatter.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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