Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Calliope Hummingbird - Selasphorus calliope
Search Common:                 Search Scientific:
General Comments The Calliope Hummingbird was not detected in the state until 1995, when an immature male was photographed at a feeder in New Bern. Since then, it has occurred on 20-25 more occasions, all during the cooler months (as expected for a bird that breeds in the western United States and Canada). Unlike with the Black-chinned Hummingbird, where most records are from coastal areas, the majority of Calliope records -- again essentially all at feeders -- are from the Piedmont, plus several from the mountains. It is casual to accidental in the Coastal Plain. Perhaps this is not overly unexpected, as the Calliope is a breeder in the western United States and Canada in high mountain meadows and other open forests at higher elevations. As with many other hummingbird species, the identification of females and immature males can be very difficult. Apparently only three or four of these records are of adult males.

NOTE: In 2012, the species was moved from the genus Stellula to the genus Selasphorus, in which the Rufous, Allen's, and Broad-tailed hummingbirds are placed.

Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Accidental. Three records, two from near the southern half of the coast: an immature male at New Bern from 29 Oct - 4 Nov 1995 [Chat 61:52-53 link], and a female near Hampstead (Pender) from 21 Dec 1996 - 15 Mar 1997 [Chat 66:25-28 link]. The third was an adult male at Seven Lakes (Moore) from 17-21 Nov 2009 [Chat 74:28 link].
Piedmont Winter visitor, with about 17 records. Very rare at feeders in cities and towns in the western half of the province -- Tryon, Shelby, Gaston, Charlotte, Monroe, Winston-Salem, and Greensboro; casual at feeders in the eastern part of the region, with records only from Swepsonville (Alamance), Hillsborough, and Castalia (Nash). Dates fall between mid-Oct - late Apr, but mainly from early Nov to early Mar. The bird at Hillsborough was an adult male. Peak count: 2 (adult male and a female/immature), at a feeder north of Tryon, on 23 Nov 2022, with the adult male lingering at least to 10 Dec 2022; all other records of single birds.
Mountains Casual, in the southern mountains. Two records from Transylvania: at Deerlake from 26 Oct - 21 Nov 2000 [Chat 65:78 link], and at Little River from 4-8 Nov 2001 [Chat 66:73 link]. An adult male was seen and banded in Waynesville (Haywood) from 12-18 Nov 2019 [Chat 84:17 link].
Finding Tips There are now records almost every winter or two, so you may have a fair chance to see one in a given year, but only by visitng a feeder with a Calliope.
1/2* to *
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-17], LeGrand[2020-02-08], LeGrand[2018-02-19]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.