WatchList Species Account for Blue-throated Hummingbird (Lampornis clemenciae)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species

Photo: Peter LaTourrette/
Photo: Peter LaTourrette/

The largest hummingbird in the U.S., the Blue-throated Hummingbird is found in southeast Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and isolated populations in west Texas south into southern Mexico. The northern populations, including those in the U.S., withdraw into Mexico during the winter.


In its U.S. breeding range, it prefers moist, narrow canyons in the higher mountains where it frequents the shady understory of deciduous forests along perennial streams. Near settlements it builds its nests on buildings and bridges and readily comes to gardens and hummingbird feeders. It is aggressive and typically at the top of the hierarchy among hummingbirds at feeders. A few birds are found year-round near feeders in southern Arizona.


Historical accounts and frequency of specimens in museum collections suggest that its breeding population has increased at the northern edge of its range, thought to be the result of feeders but perhaps of recovery of habitat after drought and overgrazing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to nectar, it feeds on a variety of arthropods.


There is a high degree of nest predation but apparently little predation on adults. Though it is highly tolerant of human activity, it is vulnerable to habitat alteration from urbanization and destruction or degradation of riparian corridors brought about by logging and grazing. In Mexico its preference for forest understory makes it susceptible to the increased logging that threatens the entire Sierra Madre region.