Where do hummingbirds live?

Hummingbirds are migrating birds and therefore it becomes really difficult to find out where they live! Hummingbirds are even seen of being accustomed to human and therefore they are seen approaching to humans they feel trustworthy.

But, Where do hummingbirds live? Most of the hummingbirds live in the tropics whereas some of the northern species like the Rufous hummingbird migrate to the south for winter.

Most Hummingbird Species Live in the Tropics

hummingbirds in summer

Every single one of the almost 340 species of hummingbird lives in the Americas, from south-central Alaska all the way down through Central America to Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost end of South America.  

Within that long chain of connected countries, hummingbirds live in a variety of environments that range from below sea level deserts to humid tropical forests of up to 16,000 feet in the Andes mountains.

Most species live in the tropics where food can easily be found all around the year.

Of the species that nest in the United States, many of them do so near the Mexican border.

To put the populations in perspective, over 160 species live in Colombia alone and over 130 live in Ecuador, which is about a quarter of the size of Colombia.

On the other hand, less than 35 species live north of Mexico.

Only 1 species lives east of the Mississippi River–the ruby-throated hummingbird.

West of the Mississippi, there are 1 or 2 species in most areas.

Where do hummingbirds live during winter?

hummingbirds in winter

Of those that nest farther north in the United States, the species living in areas with temperate weather year-round will stay put.

This includes the species that live in the more temperate areas of the Pacific Northwest in the stretch of land along the coast.

However, those species that live in areas with more severe winter weather migrate every year to Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, or Central America where food is more readily available during that season.

These include the hummingbirds that live in the far north as well as those that live down at the bottom of South America where the winters are similar to winters in Alaska and Canada.

The Rufous hummingbird, which travels from Alaska to Mexico in the Fall, has perhaps the longest commute of any bird in the world if you calculate the distance by body length.

This little guy must fly 3,900 miles one way; since it’s just 3 inches long, the distance is equal to 78,470,000 body lengths.

Where Do Hummingbirds Build Their Nests?

hummingbird nest

In the United States and Canada, hummingbirds usually build their nests in a fork near the end of a slender branch.

They are most likely to choose deciduous trees such as oaks, sycamores, maples, birch, poplar, and elm.

The most important factor in choosing where to build a nest is a nearby source of food.

The birds also look for a somewhat protected spot in sheltered trees or shrubbery.

In the tropics, hummingbirds gradually rotate from desert areas to higher ground and back down again, all the time following the seasonal blooms that supply the nectar they need in their diet.

Coffee farms are usually located midway up the mountains, and flowering coffee farms are to a hummingbird what fine cuisine is to a gourmet.

Coffee plants are grown in the shade of taller trees which, in turn, support flowering plants.

When everything is in bloom, well …it’s definitely a fine dining opportunity for the hummingbirds.

You can also check our article “where do hummingbirds nest” to know more about their nesting and pictures of how their nests look?

Bonus – Tips for Observing Hummingbirds

If you are birdwatcher or bird watching is one of your hobby, you would definitely be knowing that how pleasant and relaxing it could be!

I am one of those birdwatchers who enjoys watching these small amazing creatures in my backyard. So, here in these bonus tips I am providing you what I do for myself.

  • Put your hummingbird feeders close to the plants and flowers where you see most of the hummingbirds coming.
  • Don’t put your feeder in sun or in a barren yard or land. Better hang them to the trees in your backyard.
  • Always purchase a red feeder as hummingbirds are attracted towards red color.
  • Making your own nectar takes just 5-10 mins and therefore try to prepare your own nectar. Add 1 part of sugar to 4 parts of water.
  • Clean your hummingbird feeder as often as you can. You can check this detailed guide on how to clean hummingbird feeder for this.


Hummingbirds do keep migrating and in winter you can see them travelling to the warmer climate.

Some of them do remain in California but most of them keep changing their locations in a month of few from Mexico to Costa Rica.

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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