Hummingbirds In New Jersey: 5 Types and the Plants They Love

Male ruby-throated hummingbird
© williamhc/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Kyle Glatz

Published: April 10, 2024

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New Jersey is home to many beautiful birds. Although hummingbirds are not the most common family of birds in the Garden State, a few species spend time there. Today, we’re going to look at the hummingbirds in New Jersey and see where they live in the state, how long they stick around, and the plants they love.

1. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

The male members of the species have a beautiful gorget.

©Steve Byland/Shutterstock.com

The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is more common than any other species of hummingbird in New Jersey. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds that breed in the state. As their name suggests, the males of this species have a ruby-red pattern on their throats.

These gorgeous birds usually measure 3 inches long or a bit longer and have a wingspan of 4 inches. They usually depart from their eastern breeding grounds between August and September, and they return in late February to early March.

This species prefers orange and red tubular flowers along with hibiscus and honeysuckle. These birds are widespread throughout the state. They spend time in gardens, forests, and fruit orchards.

2. Rufous Hummingbird

These orange-red hummingbirds like tubular flowers.

©Keneva Photography/Shutterstock.com

Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) are reddish-orange birds measuring about 2 to 3 inches long. These migratory birds typically live in western North America. Their breeding grounds include places in Alaska and Canada. However, they migrate in search of reliable food sources. Most of the time, they end up in parts of Mexico.

It is a rare occurrence that these hummingbirds end up in the Garden State. Some pass through during the migration season. They are most often seen in coastal regions in the state. Like the ruby-throated hummingbird, this one prefers to feed on nectar from tubular flowers with bright colors, like columbine and lilies.

3. Anna’s Hummingbird

A member of

Calypte anna

resting on a flower.

©Keneva Photography/Shutterstock.com

Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) is another hummingbird that typically lives on the Pacific Coast of the United States. Some of the species’ populations stay year-round in locations stretching from southwest British Columbia in Canada to Baja California.

These birds usually measure between 3 and 4 inches long and weigh as few as 3 to 6 grams. They appear in various colors including green, brown, red, and grey, and they’re known for the iridescent feathers on their heads and gorgets.

These birds are very rare in New Jersey. They do not have a typical migration pattern like other birds, instead moving within elevations rather than over vast distances. If one of these birds is seen in New Jersey, it’s likely going to stay there for a long time as a permanent resident. When they do arrive in New Jersey, they tend to stick to the coastal regions.

4. Calliope Hummingbird

A female calliope hummingbird drinking nectar.

©Gregory Johnston/Shutterstock.com

The calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) is interesting because it is the smallest bird in the United States. Males of this species have a purple or magenta-colored throat. These birds can weigh as little as one-tenth of an ounce and grow just 2.8 to 3.8 inches long.

Like many of the other birds on this list, the Calliope hummingbird lives on the western coast of North America. Their breeding range stretches from Canada to Baja California, and they migrate to Mexico’s pine forests each year.  

Only a few records exist of this bird making its way to New Jersey, so it’s not possible to provide information on where a person may see this particular bird in the Garden State.

5. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

A black-chinned hummingbird showing its iridescent gorget.

©rck_953/Shutterstock.com

The black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) has a wide distribution that stretches from the southernmost areas of Canada to Mexico. However, these birds tend to stay in the western parts of North America. As their name suggests, the males of this species have a black chin that has a gorget with purple iridescent feathers.  

Typically, these birds migrate to warm areas in the southern reaches of the United States and Mexico. They’ll arrive in their breeding grounds in spring and leave in the fall. Sometimes, the birds lose their way and end up in far-flung places, including New Jersey. Sightings of this bird are exceedingly rare, but they’re most likely to turn up in the spring and stay through the summer.

These are just some of the hummingbirds in New Jersey that people have sighted. The ruby-throated hummingbird is by far the most common of any hummingbird in the state. The others on this list are rarely encountered. Either way, they tend to look for tubular, red-colored plants that offer them a chance to gorge on nectar.


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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