Bird GuideHummingbirdsAllen's Hummingbird

At a Glance

A close relative of the Rufous Hummingbird, Allen's has a more limited range, nesting mostly in California. This is one of the two common nesting hummingbirds in northern California gardens (Anna's is the other). Females and immatures of Allen's Hummingbird are almost impossible to separate from Rufous females without close examination, so the status of the species in migration is still being worked out by dedicated hummingbird banders.
Low Concern
Forests and Woodlands, High Mountains, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Urban and Suburban Habitats
California, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest
Flitter, Hovering, Rapid Wingbeats

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

One subspecies on California's Channel Islands and parts of the adjacent mainland (Palos Verdes Peninsula, etc.) is nonmigratory. The rest of the population winters as far south as southern Mexico. Moves north up the Pacific Coast in late winter, and at least some go south through the mountains in late summer.


3-3 1/2" (8-9 cm). Adult male like Rufous Hummingbird but with green back. Females and young identical to those of Rufous. Note: some male Rufous Hummingbirds also have green backs, so Allen's is not safely identified outside its normal range.
About the size of a Sparrow
Black, Green, Orange, Red, White
Wing Shape
Narrow, Rounded, Short
Tail Shape
Multi-pointed, Rounded, Wedge-shaped

Songs and Calls

A low chup, and an excited zeeee chuppity-chup.
Call Pattern
Flat, Undulating
Call Type
Chatter, Chirp/Chip


Brushy canyons, parks, gardens. Breeds in a variety of semi-open habitats, including open oak woods, streamside groves, well-wooded suburbs, city parks. Winters mostly in foothills and mountain forests in Mexico. Migrants also occur in high mountain meadows in late summer.



2. White. Incubation is by female only, 17-22 days.


Female feeds the young. The nest stretches as the young birds grow. Age of young at first flight about 22-25 days.

Feeding Behavior

At flowers, usually feeds while hovering, extending its bill deep into the flower. At feeders, may either hover or perch. To catch small insects, may fly out and take them in midair, or hover to pluck them from foliage; also sometimes will take spiders or trapped insects from spider webs.


Mostly nectar and insects. Takes nectar from flowers, and will feed on tiny insects as well. Favors red tubular flowers such as penstemon, red monkey-flower, red columbine, paintbrush, scarlet sage; also flowers of other colors, such as the yellow blooms of tree-tobacco. Will also feed on sugar-water mixtures in hummingbird feeders.


Male's courtship display is in J-shaped pattern: flying high, diving steeply with metallic whine at bottom of dive, then curving up to hover at moderate height; often preceded by a back-and-forth pendulum flight in front of the female. Nest site is in a tree or shrub, rarely on a weed stalk, usually low (but rarely up to 90 feet above the ground) on a horizontal or diagonal branch. Nest (built by female alone) is a neatly constructed cup of green mosses and plant fibers, held together with spider webs, lined with plant down. The outside is camouflaged with bits of lichen.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Has adapted fairly well to suburban habitats, but surveys still show decreasing populations in recent decades.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Allen's Hummingbird. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Allen's Hummingbird

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.

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