Calliope Hummingbird

Selasphorus calliope

Name root – Stellula meaning “little star”; calliope after the Greek word meaning “the muse responsible for epic poetry”.

Distribution – Breeds in montane habitats from central British Columbia and Alberta south through portions of Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California to northern Baja California east to western Montana, Wyoming and Utah.  Winters south of the U. S. in central Mexico from Sinaloa south to Oaxaca and east to Distrito Federal.  Rare to accidental in winter in states along the central Gulf Coast of the U. S.

Texas – Accidental in spring primarily in the Trans-Pecos region.  Fall migrant through western portions of the State.  An irruptive species that can be abundant some years and virtually absent others.  Southbound birds start early and arrive in west Texas in July; most adult males are south of Texas by early September with females and juveniles still passing through as late as early October.  Accidental in winter along the Gulf Coast.  First Texas record; specimen, unknown date and month in 1853 from El Paso, El Paso County by J. H. Clark.

Habitat – Montane woodlands and open meadows.  During migration in a variety of habitats from pine-oak woodlands to desert scrub.

Immature female Calliope Hummingbird at Cloudcroft, NM, 18 August 2009

Immature male Calliope Hummingbird at Cloudcroft, NM, 18 August 2009

Immature female Calliope Hummingbird in the Christmas Mountains, 3 September 2009

Adult male Calliope Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains, 5 August 1993

Adult male Calliope Hummingbird at Cloudcroft, NM, on 18 August 2009 with abnormally full gorget (possible hybrid?)

Adult male Calliope Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains on August 17, 2009 (Maryann Eastman)

Adult male Calliope Hummingbird in the Davis Mountains on August 8, 2009 (Maryann Eastman)

This male Calliope Hummingbird was also photographed on August 8, 2009 (Maryann Eastman)