How to Identify a Lucifer Hummingbird

A male lucifer hummingbird has a brilliant purple gorget. Except for the gorget, reddish breast patches, and cream-colored throat feathers, males are green-gray.

Females lack the bright gorget and have green-gray upperparts, buff or rusty underparts, and a dark eye stripe. Females and males have curled bills.

Note the bird's habitat to identify a lucifer hummingbird. “Within their range, they’re pretty distinctive,” says UC Riverside hummingbird researcher and associate professor of Biology Christopher J. Clark.

They're classic Chihuahua desert hummingbirds. They are the most common hummingbird in dry, cactus-filled deserts in Texas and Northern Mexico. The other hummingbird species prefer water to them.”

Lucifer hummingbirds are rare at backyard sugar water feeders unless you reside in a specific section of the US. Christopher explains, “They have a small breeding range in the US, and the main place you'd find them is in Big Bend National Park.”

“They're desert birds. They were seen in Texas a few hundred miles outside their regular range during a prolonged drought, but that's probably because they had so few blooms in their natural environment that they left to find food.

One may be found in Arizona or Texas, but they're rare. Christopher reports their southern Arizona and Big Bend National Park range.

One Birds & Blooms reader saw this bird in Texas' Davis Mountains, a hummingbird sanctuary with annual celebrations.

“This male lucifer hummingbird is lovely. The photo was captured in west Texas' Davis Mountains. In summer, thousands of hummingbirds live in the Davis Mountains. I have never seen this bird before.