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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Costa's Hummingbird -- Calypte costae

RANGE: Breeds from central California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah south to southern Arizona and Mexico. Winters from southern California and southern Arizona south to Mexico.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: In southwestern deserts, frequents arid washes and hillsides, dry chaparral, and suburban areas where exotic plants have been introduced. In California, inhabits washes, mesas, and hillsides, particularly where sages, ocotillo, yuccas, and cholla cacti are abundant. Relatively independent of water during the breeding season, and thus occupies drier habitats than other hummingbirds.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Flowering plants for nectar.

NEST: Builds nests in a variety of sites, usually from 1 to 9 feet above the ground, on twigs or limbs of oaks, alders, hackberry, willow, palm, citrus trees in open orchards, or other trees; in sage, dead yuccas, branching cacti, and paloverde; or on vines clinging to rock faces.

FOOD: Obtains nectar and insects from a variety of flowering desert plants; also eats spiders.

REFERENCES: Garrett in Farrand 1983b, Grinnell and Miller 1944, Johnsgard 1983b, Terres 1980.

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