Fun Calliope Hummingbird Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Nov 14, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Calliope hummingbird facts include that they are the smallest bird in all of North America!

The calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) is a tinyNorth American bird. Calliope means 'beautiful voice', and calliope hummingbirds get their name from Greek mythology, representing eloquence. In Greek mythology, Calliope is popularly known as the goddess of poetry and was called 'the chief of muses' by the famous authors Hesiod and Ovid.

It is quite easy to identify male and female calliope hummingbirds as males have red throats and dark tails. Males court female birds by flapping their wings and diving at high speeds, forming a U-shaped dive to impress the females.

A female hummingbird raises her young all by herself. She alone builds the nest, lays two eggs, and incubates them for around 16 days until they hatch.

After the eggs hatch, the female hummingbird feeds and takes care of them for 20 days. The young birds mature during this time and are ready to take flight and live independently right after.

Here on our page, we have lots of amazing facts on the calliope hummingbird that everyone will enjoy. If you like these, do read our hummingbird and bee hummingbird facts too.

Calliope Hummingbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a calliope hummingbird?

Calliope hummingbirds are the smallest North American hummingbird species. These birds are also the smallest bird in the world to migrate such a long distance.

What class of animal does a calliope hummingbird belong to?

The calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) is a hummingbird species that belongs to the class of Aves.

How many calliope hummingbirds are there in the world?

The exact number of calliope hummingbirds is unknown, but they are listed as Least Concern, which means their population is not decreasing. These birds are safe out in the wild and are in abundance. There exist around 300 different hummingbird species, and the calliope hummingbird is one of them.

Where does a calliope hummingbird live?

Calliope hummingbirds are native birds of Canada and North America. This species of hummingbirds is found in rocky mountains and open shrub habitats, including dense forests and mountain meadows of the U.S.A., New Mexico, and British Columbia. This bird species loves to reside between the branches of pine-oak trees.

What is a calliope hummingbird's habitat?

A calliope hummingbird's habitat includes open areas like rocky mountains, dense forests, and pine-oak tree zones. In Washington, these birds migrate once every season, where they leave their breeding areas and migrate to Mexico. They spend their winters in Mexico and come back to their breeding ground in Washington by late April or May.

Who do calliope hummingbirds live with?

Calliope hummingbirds are not social animals and are always found in solitary spaces such as mountains, shrubbery, and dense forests. These birds interact with each other only during their breeding season. After breeding, they separate, the male vanishes, and the female calliope hummingbird builds a nest and raises her young on her own.

How long does a calliope hummingbird live?

There is no conclusive data on the lifespan of this tiny North American bird in the wild, but it is said that these birds can live for five to six years in captivity. This hummingbird out in the wild is assumed to live for less time than in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

This smallest species of hummingbird mates once a year between the start of April and the end of June. Adult males court female birds by flapping their wings and diving at high speeds, forming a U-shaped dive to impress these females.

After the couple mates, the adult male separates from the female and goes his own way. Therefore, the female calliope hummingbird is the only family to her offspring and becomes a lone parent.

Calliope hummingbird nesting is made possible by the females too, who prepare their nest for their new family.

After building a nest, they go on to lay two eggs and incubate them for up to 16 days. About 20 days after birth, the young birds are old enough to start flying.

What is their conservation status?

This hummingbird is not considered endangered and is given the status of Least Concern. These birds are small and cute and are considered non-impactful to humans. Still, they do face some threats due to climatic change, habitat loss, an increase in pesticides, and the replacement of native and typical vegetation.

Calliope Hummingbird Fun Facts

What do calliope hummingbirds look like?

The typical calliope hummingbird size is very tiny, making them the smallest hummingbird species. These birds have a green color crown and back, with white color underparts. Females and males are easily distinguished as males have red-colored steaks on their throat and dark-colored tail feathers, while females have dark-colored streaks on their throat and tail feathers with white-tipped ends.

* Please note that this is an image of a hummingbird, not a calliope hummingbird specifically. If you have an image of a calliope hummingbird please let us know at

How cute are they?

The world's smallest bird species is very cute and highly adorable. Calliope hummingbird tail feathers, with white-tipped ends, and their red-streaked throat feathers both look very attractive. It is also super cute if you get to see a male calliope hummingbird doing a U-shaped dive to impress a female bird during their breeding season.

How do they communicate?

The communication of this species of hummingbirds is similar to many other birds. They produce sounds known as vocalization and chittering sounds. The male calliope hummingbird call is a very high-pitched noise.

How big is a calliope hummingbird?

The average size of both males and females is 2.8-3.9 in (7-10 cm) long. They weigh roughly 0.071-0.106 oz (1.9-2.8 g). The calliope hummingbird is 10 times smaller than the common cat and is the smallest hummingbird in North America.

How fast can calliope hummingbirds fly?

The average speed of these birds has been recorded as 18.6 mph (30 kmph). A male calliope hummingbird flies between 5,000-6,000 miles (8,047-9,656 km) each year. They migrate to Mexico during the winter season, where they are able to feed on the fresh nectar of flowers.

How much does a calliope hummingbird weigh?

The average calliope hummingbird weight is 0.07-0.10 oz (2-3 g). This low weight is due to their tiny size.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for adult male and adult female calliope hummingbirds.

What would you call a baby calliope hummingbird?

Young calliope hummingbirds are called chicks. Calliope hummingbird chicks are raised only by the female who builds the nest on her own. The female feeds her chicks nectar from various flowers as well as small insects for nourishment. The female calliope hummingbird cares for her chicks for 20-21 days before they are old enough to finally take flight.

What do they eat?

These small birds feed on nectar from various attractive flowers (including cup-shaped or isolated tubular flowers). They do this with great precision, fueled by their extraordinary wing-flapping and hovering technique. Calliope hummingbirds also feed on tiny insects like ants, when not feeding on nectar from flowers.

Are they rare?

Not really, calliope hummingbirds are found commonly in southwestern regions of North America. These birds are common in these regions and are often seen in open forests and mountains. They also migrate to Mexico during winter to obtain fresh nectar.

Would they make a good pet?

Calliope hummingbirds cannot be a good pet as these birds feed on the nectar of flowers and small insects from forests and therefore need to live in the wild. These birds are also famous for their migrating behavior, which is, of course, not possible in captivity.

Did you know...

The name 'hummingbird' is given to these birds because of the humming and buzzing sounds that their fast-beating wings make when they zoom past human ears.

Hummingbirds are known to be the only species of birds that can fly both forward and backward!

Although calliope hummingbirds do not have a sense of smell, they are attracted visually to the vivid colors of a beautiful flower.

What sound does a calliope hummingbird make?

This small species of hummingbirds produces humming, buzzing, chirping, and tweeting sounds, both vocally and from the movement of their wings. That being said, the sound of calliope hummingbirds is much quieter than that of other hummingbird species, perhaps due to their tiny size.

Where to spot calliope hummingbirds?

Calliope hummingbirds are North American birds who are found in their typical breeding areas, such as tree branches and shrubberies in North America, British Columbia, Mexico, Canada, and California more specifically.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds, including the rufous hummingbird or the Amazon parrot.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Calliope hummingbird coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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