Pollinators
U S Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Past Featured Pollinators:
  Allen's Hummingbird
  Costa's Hummingbird
  Crested Honeycreepers
  Dakota Skipper
  El Segundo blue butterfly
  Karner blue butterfly
  Lesser long-nosed bat
 

Mexican long-nosed bat

  Monarch Butterfly
  Rufous Hummingbird
  Rusty patched bumble bee
  Taylor's checkerspot butterfly
  White-winged_Dove
More Pollinators:
  Fringed Orchids and Hawkmoths

Fun Fact:

The Costa's Hummingbird prefers the driest climates of all North American hummingbirds and usually nests far from water sources.

 

 

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Featured Pollinator

image of a Costa's Hummingbird.
Costa’s Hummingbird (photo: Alan Schmierer, CC0 1.0)
 

Most Costa's Hummingbirds (Calypte costae) are year-round residents of western Arizona, southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, and southern California. Preferred habitats include desert scrub, dry rocky hillsides full of cacti and thorny shrubs, California coastal shrub, and evergreen forest habitats up to 4,500 feet in elevation. Costa's Hummingbird uses urban and residential habitats, especially outside of breeding season.

image of Costa's Hummingbird feeding a chick.
Costa’s Hummingbird feeding a chick (Credit: Nicole Beaulac CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
 

Nesting habitats vary from trees to shrubs, or dense vines. Nests have even been constructed in dead yucca (Yucca species) stalks, branching cacti (Cylindropuntia species), and man-made structures such as a hammock hook under a porch. Nests are around 1.5 inches in diameter and are made with plant fibers, stems, and other small materials all held together by spider silk. Some nests are camouflaged with lichen while others are left mostly bare.

 

 

Costa's Hummingbirds breed from mid-January to May in desert habitats, but mainly from March to June elsewhere. After breeding, the female is the primary caregiver to two eggs, which hatch around 15 to 18 days. Young leave the nest 20 to 23 days after hatching. Only one brood (group of young) per season has been documented, but the Costa's Hummingbird is not well researched. The lifespan of this small bird is poorly understood. However, the oldest known banded bird was at least 8 years old.

 

 

 

image of Costa's Hummingbird feeding.
Costa’s Hummingbird (Credit: Nicole Beaulac CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
 

 

 

Adults feed on floral nectar and small insects, and regularly visit hummingbird feeders. Costa's Hummingbirds have not been witnessed utilizing tree sap like many other hummingbirds do. They visit flowers of many different shapes, sizes, and colors, even many that are not usually visited by hummingbirds. Favorites include barestem larkspur (Delphinium scaposum), desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi), wooly blue-curls (Trichostema lanatum), wolfberry (Lycium species), fairy-duster (Calliandra eriophylla), ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), chuparosa (Justicia californica), desert honeysuckle (Anisacanthus thurberi), coral-bean (Erythrina flabelliformis), bush-monkeyflower (Diplacus species), and penstemon (Penstemon species).

While fairly common in much of its range, the Costa's Hummingbird faces threats such as habitat loss and habitat degradation, climate change, and unnatural frequent fires such as those found in pastures for cattle. The Costa's Hummingbird has shown some adaptability to agricultural and urban development with the use of feeders and exotic nectar plants found in yards. However, Anna's hummingbird is also displacing Costa's Hummingbird in many areas.


Last Updated: February 13, 2019
February 13, 2019