Nancy Newfield

Nancy L. Newfield has been watching hummingbirds at her Louisiana home and lots of other places since 1975. Nancy lost her amateur status years ago, and now writes and lectures on hummers. She is co-author of Hummingbird Gardens, reviewed elsewhere on this site. Nancy is also a licensed hummingbird bander and a recognized authority on hummingbird distribution, behavior, and taxonomy.

August 1999

What's Next?

In early July 1999, a spectacular Green Violet-ear appeared in Lafayette, Louisiana, bringing the state's total of species to 11. It was certainly exciting, but hardly unexpected. Based on occurrences in other nearby states, many hummingbirders had been predicting this bird's arrival for years. After all, Green Violet-ears had turned up in lots of odder places, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario.

Still, the Louisiana list of hummingbirds is much larger than most people realize and other states have similarly been quietly building impressive lists. So the question of what other species might be found in each state came up on Humnet a few weeks ago and I asked for each someone from each state to give the list for his or her state and to take a stab at what the likely possibilities might be for new ones. "Give me some reasons, too," I asked. My own responses follow the discussions (in bold).

Here is the discussion:


Jayne Amico of Southington, Connecticut, ventured:

Any predictions for Connecticut? I know we have Ruby-throats & Rufous but no others that I KNOW about! Black-chinned maybe?

Probably a good guess, Jayne, but surely Broad-tailed or Allen's could turn up as well and let's not overlook Calliope. There have been lots of really weird Calliope reports in last ten or so years.


Ron Rovansek of Edison, New Jersey, offered:

The version of the New Jersey list which I have seen includes only Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds for the state. The next likely hummingbirds here include those western US breeders which are now regular farther south. I expect Black-chinned, Allen's, Calliope, and Broad-tailed, in about that order. I predict that all of the above four hummers will be on the New Jersey list in ten years. New Jersey has a long track record of long-distance out-of-range birds, such as Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbirds, etc., at Cape May, so I expect that a few far flung hummingbirds will be seen there eventually including Green Violet-ear (which has been seen in Wisconsin, why not New Jersey?), Magnificent (seen in several southeastern states), and Blue-throated (seen in North Carolina).

Actually Ron, I'm pretty sure that Black-chinned and Calliope have already been added, but the rest of your guesses seem right on target!


John A. Gerwin of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences wrote:

I believe if you sit in one place long enough you can see just about every bird in the world pass by! As for hummers, I expect any of the more migratory ones to show up here eventually; like Broad-tailed and Buff-bellied; I'm sure Allen's is here, we just haven't documented it yet; it's been documented in every state around us! And there was a good sight record report of a Blue-throated in S.C. a few years ago, so I'm hedging now that one will make it here; while I believe "anything's possible," I'm not expecting the really "desert dwelling" ones to show up; unusual hummers and "winter hummer feeding" are getting more and more press; so as more people start doing it (winter feeding) all over the place, I'm expecting a lot more interesting things to start popping up, maybe in say the next 5-10 years; should be interesting!

John, you didn't give the ones on the North Carolina list, but the ones you mention are all excellent choices.


Chris Sloan of Nashville, Tennessee, wrote:

For anyone interested, here is the current status of hummer species in Tennessee:

Ruby-throated (duh)
Rufous (numerous records each winter)
Allen's (4 records, interestingly all from the higher elevations of east TN) Black-chin (3, all females)
Anna's (1 female)
Calliope (1 female for the past two winters)

My guesses as to the next species, in order of likelihood: Broad-tailed
Green Violet-ear

Yep, Chris, good guesses, but I'd put Green Violet-ear at the top of the list. Y'all are overdue.


Big Bad Bob Sargent of Trussville, Alabama, wrote:

Here is the list of lost and doomed hummingbirds that have been documented in Alabama:

Buff-bellied (now inland)
Green Violet-ear
Blue-throated (accepted sight record, not banded)

The next species that I expect to be documented in Alabama are Broad-billed, which is long overdue in the Mobile/Gulf shores/Fort Morgan area. In addition, I still believe that Costa's is likely in the near future as our network of reporters/feeder tenders/skilled banders continues to grow. The folk that feed hummers are the source of most of our rarities. They deserve the credit for the discoveries, my guys are simply the instrument by which proper documentation can occur.

I will ask Mr. Bennett Carver (who stole both my White-eared and Broad-billed) to fill us in on the official Mississippi list. A special note; For those Louisiana listers that wish to do so, I suggest that you add White-eared to your Louisiana list since the Gulfport bird surely flew across
Louisiana. You might also consider adding the Alabama and Georgia Magnificents. You can shift the Alabama Green Violet-ear off your list since you now have one of your own to claim. I have used this system of birding and listing for years and find it works very well.

Bob, I don't think that Bennett's White-eared necessarily came through Louisiana. At the time it arrived, all [??] the White-eareds from Arizona had surely departed for points south. Maybe it came directly from Guatemala! I think you can anticipate Broad-billed soon, and as for Costa's, who knows.


Bob Sargent also sent a note about Georgia hummers:

The following is a list of the hummers documented through the banding process in Georgia.

Broad-tailed (2)

Species that I expect to document in the next 5 years are:

Green Violet-ear (the mountains in the northern part of the state)
Buff-bellied (southern Georgia)
Costa's as a super long shot.

Hey Bob, I'll say Costa's is a very long shot. It'll have to get past me and Dave Patton in Louisiana, Bennett Carver in Mississippi, and you and your crew in Alabama before it can get to Georgia!


Marjorie Hastings of Spring Valley, California, wrote:

I have two brief thoughts The California list has 12 species now accepted and Arizona has 16. Back in the first week of July it was stated that not many spoke up on line well the number since then is up to 83. And I feel I learn something all the time from so many of you.

Thanks, Marjorie. I'll have to look up the species lists. Does anybody have any guesses for next for California?

And, the Arizona list is actually 17. Don't forget the Bumblebee Hummingbird! As Sheri Williamson mentioned in a post, Arizona could still add Ruby-throated! And, I'm sure there are a couple of other exotics that have the potential to stray. With a Green Violet-ear record pending from Colorado, what about that one?


Charles A. Ely wrote:

Thought you might like the Kansas list (9 species) as of this summer. All were verified by a specimen, recognizable photo or individual handled & measured, etc., or a male confirmed by an experienced birder.

Magnificent (1 record, photo)
Anna's (4 records, at least 2 photos)
Costa's (2 records, 1 specimen & 1 banded) Calliope
Allen's (1, banded)

My guess for the next one for Kansas? My first guess is easy - I agree with Lloyd - Green Violet-ear. After that Broad-billed and then something exotic like Green-breasted Mango. I'm hoping to band them en route, of course.

Then, Lloyd D. Moore of Kansas City, Kansas chipped in:

In reference to the Kansas list of 9 species of hummers, My guess for the next species to arrive in the state is Green Violet-ear. They have occurred in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri so there must be one out there somewhere with Kansas stamped on it's ticket.

Also, concerning eastern records of Costa's Hummingbird. Of the two Kansas records one is a speciman from extreme western Kansas. The other was trapped and banded in Lawrence, Douglas Co., Kansas by Jan Myers. That's just 35 west of Kansas City.


Troy Gordon of Columbia, Missouri, compiled a nice list:

The official Missouri list is very short:

Green Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus) - Accidental summer visitor with one state record.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) - Common summer resident, accidental winter visitor with November 10th as the latest accepted date of occurrence.

Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) - Accidental winter resident with five accepted records.

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) - Rare spring and fall transient in western Missouri, accidental transient in eastern Missouri, accidental winter resident state-wide.

With such a short list, possibilities for additions are wide open. Sarah Driver and I have got to get to work documenting these birds! But, here's my guesses, in order:

1st: Black-chinned hummingbird (has never been well enough documented to be accepted, but I know they're here!)

2nd: Broad-tailed hummingbird (Arkansas and Kansas both have them. We should too! There are a couple of records that have not been accepted.)

3rd: Allen's hummingbird (Tennessee and Kansas have them on the list. Missouri and Arkansas are in a race to be next.)

Wish us luck!

Good Luck, Troy. Now, get out there and find those guys.


David Arbour wrote:

Arkansas has eight hummer species on it's state list including one that Louisiana doesn't have yet:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird (3rd & 4th state records were in my backyard last fall!)
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (1st state record was in my backyard.)
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Magnificent Hummingbird
Green Violet-ear

The next probable hummer species to be added to the Arkansas state list will probably be Allen's followed by Calliope, since both these species seem to be wintering south of us in Louisiana with increasing frequency!

Yes, David, two excellent choices.


Lyn Atherton of Tierra Verde, Florida, wrote:

Below are the hummers that have been documented in Florida (by specimen--whole or pertinent feathers, photo, or videotape), with note on species still under review by the FOSRC.

Bahama Woodstar
Allen's (still under review but surely to be added to state list soon)

Cuban Emerald has appeared in Florida (I was one of the lucky ones to hear and see it), but no tangible evidence exists yet (must have to add to the official state list). I do think this will be one we'll add within the next 10 years. Also, I think all of those not yet confirmed here but already proven to have occurred in other southeastern states will be found here within the next 10 years--except, perhaps, for the White-eared (just seems too good to be true). I will even predict where most of these yet-to-be-found species will occur--somewhere between the Alabama/Florida line and Tallahassee.

And I'm sure that Green Violet-ear visited my Ft. De Soto feeders before it headed back towards Louisiana. (Thanks, Bob, for letting me in on how to add it to my Ft. De Soto list!).

I'm sure you are right Lyn. Now that my "envie" has been satisfied, we can work on yours. And, don't forget to call me when the next Bahama Woodstar [or Cuban Emerald] shows up! I'm a fast driver.


The Louisiana list stands unofficially at 11:

Green Violet-ear [pending acceptance by the LBRC] Broad-billed

John Sevenair of New Orleans ventures:

Just thought I'd throw in a vote before I head for points north. There are eleven hummers on the Louisiana list, and the next one might well be Magnificent. There've been records north and east of here, so why not?

Another good guess. Maybe it will be at your house, unless those rowdy Buffies run it off!

And, Ron Rovansek, formerly of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wrote from exile in New Jersey:

My guess for the next Louisiana hummer is the obvious Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens). This one has been spotted in every(?) adjacent state to Louisiana, so must have passed over Louisiana at least once or twice. Probably stopped by Casa Colibri while Nancy was in Costa Rica.

Second guess is Costa's hummingbird as the next new bird for any Gulf Coast state (I don't think there are any records of Costa's Hummingbird east of west Texas) This species disperses in a westward direction in the fall (from southern California into northern Mexico, I think) which would put it on a course for the southeast, and if not an adult male would be very easy to mistake for a female or immature Archilochus.

Again, Ron, these are good guesses. As you probably remember, I thought I had a Costa's in January 1996, but I was never able to prove it. There is one record for the Texas "Hill Country" and another from near the coast somewhat near Corpus Christi.

While we're guessing, what about Green-breasted Mango? Once those guys go astray, one could work its way up the coast from one patch of Sultan's Turban to another. Van mentioned this in conversation a few years ago. Stranger things have happened! And, there is a Violet-crowned record from Freeport, Texas, only 400 miles from Casa Colibri.


David Tracy wrote:

Saw a post of yours from Fri. 7/23 asking about state hummers. For Oregon there are:

Costa's - Still on OBRC review list, submitted a rare bird report for the Costa's that visited our feeder this Spring/Summer for about the 10th state record.

Next addition? Maybe Broad-billed. There was one well documented report in Eastern Oregon last summer.

Since the Broad-billed record is pending, it'll have to be disqualified from your guess list, but surely there are some other good choices. How about Ruby-throated? Or Xantus'?


Well, nobody spoke up for Texas, so I'll have to wing it. With 18 fully documented species, the list of possibles is slim, but Cinnamon Hummingbird has been recorded very close to the state's western border, and I think there's a Plain-capped Starthroat record pending in New Mexico. Rufous-tailed could easily sneak up from Mexico as could Canivet's Emerald or Wedge-tailed Sabrewing. Violet Sabrewing [the 'Harley-Davidson' of hummingbirds] might also eventually show up! Hey, you guys in Texas keep looking.

Then, David Arbour added:

Concerning Texas; a couple species of Mexican hummers that I have seen fairly close to the Texas border are Fork-tailed Emerald [now called Canivet's Emerald] and Red-billed Azurecrown. They were about 4 hours south of the border at El Salto Falls in northern San Luis Potosi. This is not far from Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. I believe I have also seen the Fork-tailed Emerald at Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas. which is even closer to the border. So I would guess that these species are likely to show up in Texas also.

All this is mere speculation, of course, but focusing attention to the possibilities might well raise awareness. No one should ever assume that something new couldn't ever show up. Too many good records get lost that way!

Happy Hummingbirding!

Copyright © 1999
Nancy L. Newfield
Casa Colibri
Metairie, LA