30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures)

Birds that Hover

Examples of birds that hover include hummingbirds, blue-throated mountain gems, hawks, Mexican violetear, and terns.

Birds are incredibly diverse creatures that can be found all over the world. Some birds, like hummingbirds, are able to hover in midair by flapping their wings rapidly. What allows these birds to stay in one spot is the downstroke and upstroke of their wings.

During the downstroke, the wing moves downward and creates lift, while the upstroke moves the wing upward and provides power. This unique skill lets hummingbirds consume nectar from flowers without having to perch on them.

Let us take a look at some more birds that hover.

Examples of Birds that Hover

1. Allen’s Hummingbird

Scientific NameSelasphorus sasin
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecoastal forest, scrub, and chaparral along a narrow strip that stretches up the coast from California to southern Oregon

This bird is found in the western United States and northern Mexico. It hovers in front of flowers to drink nectar with its long, straw-like tongue.

2. Anna’s Hummingbird

Scientific NameCalypte anna
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemainly in California

The Anna’s Hummingbird is a North American bird that can be found in the western United States and Mexico. It is one of the most common hummingbirds found in North America.

3. Bee Hummingbird

Scientific NameMellisuga helenae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCuba

The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird. This little bird is found in Cuba and measures a mere 2 inches in length. The bee hummingbird has a wingspan of only 4 inches and weighs less than a penny.

Despite its small size, the bee hummingbird can hover in midair like its larger relatives.

4. Berylline Hummingbird

Scientific NameAmazilia beryllina
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCommon in the uplands of Mexico

The Berylline Hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird that is found in the mountains of central and southern Mexico. It has green upper parts, a white underbelly, and a reddish tail. The Berylline Hummingbird can hover in midair like other hummingbirds, but it can also fly backward.

5. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Scientific NameArchilochus alexandri
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern British Columbia in Canada through Idaho and Nevada, south to northern Mexico, and from coastal California, Arizona through Texas

The black-chinned hummingbird is a small bird that is found in North and South America. It has a black chin and throat, and its body is mostly green with some white on its belly.

6. Blue-Throated Mountain Gem

Scientific NameLampornis clemenciae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe “sky island” mountain ranges of southeastern Arizona or the Chisos Mountains of Texas

The Blue-throated Mountain Gem is a hummingbird that is found in Central America. It has a blue throat and a green body.

The Blue-throated Mountain Gem feeds on nectar from flowers using its long tongue. It can also feed on insects, which it catches in midair.

7. Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Scientific NameCynanthus latirostris
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMost of this species’ range lies in Mexico, but it reaches the mountainous canyons of the southwestern U.S. during the breeding season

The Broad-Billed Hummingbird is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It has a green body with a white belly and a broad, straight bill. This hummingbird can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

8. Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Scientific NameSelasphorus platycercus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewithin pinyon-juniper, oak woodlands, and evergreen forests in the western United States

The broad-tailed hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that breeds in western North America. These hummingbirds are able to Hover in midair by flapping their wings rapidly. The downstroke and upstroke of their wings create lift and power respectively, which lets them stay in one spot and consume nectar from flowers.

9. Buff-Bellied Hummingbird

Scientific NameAmazilia yucatanensis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangedense thickets and brushy areas of the arid and semiarid regions of south Texas, such as oak islands

The buff-bellied hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that is found in parts of South America, including Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. This bird has a green back and belly with a white chest. The Buff-bellied hummingbird is the largest of all the hummingbirds.

10. Bumblebee Hummingbird

Scientific NameAtthis heloisa
Type of AnimalBird
Rangepredominantly found in Mexico, but has occurred as a vagrant in the United States (Arizona)

As its name suggests, the bumblebee hummingbird is a small bird that resembles a bumblebee. It is found in mountainous regions of Mexico and can hover in midair like its larger relative, the ruby-throated hummingbird.

11. Calliope Hummingbird

Scientific NameSelasphorus calliope
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemeadows and open forests high in chilly Northwestern mountains

The smallest bird in North America is the Calliope Hummingbird. It has a wingspan of about three inches and weighs only about two grams. The male of the species has a green back and a reddish-brown belly, while the female is usually all green.

12. Cinnamon Hummingbird

Scientific NameAmazilia rutila
Type of AnimalBird
Rangenorthwestern Mexico to Costa Rica

One of the smallest members of the hummingbird family is the cinnamon hummingbird, which is found in woodlands and gardens of North America. It has a reddish brown plumage with a white breast and belly. The male has a green back, while the female has a greyish brown back. These birds are able to hover in midair as they feed on nectar from flowers.

13. Costa’s Hummingbird

Scientific NameCalypte costae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangedesert scrub in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, and chaparral and sage scrub areas in coastal California

This tiny bird is found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. The Costa’s Hummingbird is one of the smallest hummingbirds, measuring in at around 3 inches long. The male of the species has a green back and crown, with a purple throat and white belly. The female usually has a greenish-white throat and belly.

14. Eagles

Scientific NameAccipitridae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemost of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico

Eagles are large birds of prey with powerful beaks and sharp talons. They use their massive wings to soar through the air at high speeds in search of food. When they spot their prey, they will swoop down and grab it with their talons. Eagles are also known to hover in midair, using the wind to stay in one spot while they scan the ground for food.

15. Giant Hummingbird

Scientific NamePatagona gigas
Type of AnimalBird
Rangebetween 2,000 and 4,300 meters (6,500-14,100 feet) above sea level

The giant hummingbird is the largest member of its family. These birds are found in South America and measure about 9 inches long. They have a wingspan of around 13 inches and weigh approximately 20 grams.

16. Green-Breasted Mango

Scientific NameAnthracothorax prevostii
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewidespread in the American tropics and ranges as far north as northeastern Mexico

The Green-Breasted Mango is a tropical hummingbird that can be found in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. This bird gets its name from the greenish-gold color of its breast. The Green-Breasted Mango is one of the largest hummingbirds and can reach lengths of up to 8 inches (20 cm).

17. Harriers

Scientific NameCircinae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMarshes, fields, prairies

These are large birds of prey that can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. They have long wings and a tail that they use to steer. When they hover, they flap their wings slowly and keep their head and body still.

18. Hawks

Scientific NameButeo
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCentral America, the West Indies, and Jamaica

The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey that can be found in North America. These hawks are known for their distinctive red tails, which they use to signal their location to other members of their species. Hawks are able to hover in the air by flapping their wings rapidly and using their tail feathers to control their movement.

19. Kestrels

Scientific NameFalco tinnunculus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the Western Hemisphere from Alaska and Canada to southernmost South America

Kestrels are small to medium-sized birds of prey that belong to the Falco genus. These birds can be found all over the world and are known for their ability to hover in midair while they scan the ground for prey. Kestrels typically hunt small mammals, reptiles, and insects.

20. Kingfishers

Scientific NameAlcedinidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAustralia, Asia, and Africa in wooded tropical areas near water

These birds are excellent fishers, and they use their hovering abilities to help them catch fish. They will perch on a branch near the water’s edge and then dive down into the water to grab their prey.

21. Lucifer Sheartail

Scientific NameCalothorax lucifer
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe southwestern United States, from southwest Texas to extreme southwestern New Mexico

The Lucifer Sheartail is a small hummingbird found in Central America. It has a reddish-brown body and a long, curved bill. The wings are black with white spots, and the tail is forked.

This bird hovers in midair while hunting for insects or collecting nectar from flowers. It can also be seen flying upside down.

22. Mexican Violetear

Scientific NameColibri thalassinus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeforested areas from Mexico to Nicaragua

The Mexican Violetear is a small hummingbird that is found in Mexico and Central America. This bird has a green body with violet streaks on its ear coverts. The Mexican Violetear is able to hover in midair as it feeds on nectar from flowers.

23. Osprey

Scientific NamePandion haliaetus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeScotland, and from Scandinavia across northern Europe and Asia to the Pacific

The osprey is a large bird of prey that can be found near waterways all over the world. They have long wings and legs, which help them to take off from the water and soar into the air. Ospreys primarily eat fish, which they catch by hovering over the water and then diving down to snatch their prey.

24. Plain-Capped Starthroat

Scientific NameHeliomaster constantii
Type of AnimalBird
Rangelowland areas near streams or in the open lower areas of canyons

The Plain-capped Starthroat is a hummingbird that is found in the tropical regions of Central and South America. This bird gets its name from the white stripe that goes from its bill to its throat.

The male Plain-capped Starthroat has a green body with a purple chest, while the female has a green body with a white chest.

25. Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Scientific NameEugenes fulgens
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemountainous pine-oak forests and shady canyons between Nicaragua and the extreme southwestern United States

The Rivoli’s hummingbird is the largest member of its family. It is found in highland areas of Mexico and Central America. The male Rivoli’s hummingbird has a green body with a long, curved beak. Its wings are grayish-brown, and the tips of its tail feathers are reddish-orange.

26. Rough-Legged Buzzards

Scientific NameButeo lagopus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeArctic and Subarctic regions of North America, Europe, and Russia

Rough-legged buzzards are large birds of prey that can be found in open habitats such as tundra, steppes, and prairies. These buzzards get their name from the feathers on their legs, which are rough or scaly in appearance.

Rough-legged buzzards are expert hunters and use their powerful talons to kill their prey. They are also skilled at hovering in the air, which allows them to scan the ground for food.

27. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Scientific NameArchilochus colubris
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCentral America

The ruby-throated hummingbird is a small bird that is found in North America. It is the only species of hummingbird that breeds in this region. These birds are around 3 inches long and have iridescent green feathers on their backs and crowns

28. Rufous Hummingbird

Scientific NameSelasphorus rufus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangebreeding grounds in Alaska and northwest Canada to wintering sites in Mexico

The Rufous Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that breeds in North America. It is the only member of the genus Selasphorus. This bird is around 3-5 inches in length and has reddish-brown plumage.

The male has a green back and tail, while the female has a grayish-brown back and tail. The Rufous Hummingbird is one of the smallest birds in North America.

29. Terns

Scientific NameSternidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangerocky islands, barrier beaches, and saltmarshes

These birds can be found in both the northern and southern hemispheres and are known for their long, pointed wings. Terns use a combined flapping and gliding motion to stay in the air, which conserves their energy. When they want to increase their speed, they will tuck their wings close to their body and dive.

30. Vultures

Scientific NameCathartes aura
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAsia, Africa, and Europe

Vultures are large birds of prey that can be found near carcasses of dead animals. These birds have a wingspan of up to 3 meters and they use thermals to stay in the air for long periods of time. When vultures spot a carcass, they will circle around it until they find a suitable place to land.

Conclusion

Birds that hover is a great example of how animals have adapted to their environment in order to survive. By hovering, the birds are able to avoid being attacked by predators and also spot prey more easily.

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