30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (2023)

30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (1)

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.

What You Will Learn show

Examples of Birds that Hover

1. Allen’s Hummingbird

30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (2)
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (22)
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (28)
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

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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

30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (30)
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.

30 Birds that Hover (A to Z List with Pictures) – Fauna Facts (31)

Garreth

Hi, I’m Garreth. Living in South Africa I’ve had the pleasure of seeing most of these animals up close and personal. When I was younger I always wanted to be a game ranger but unfortunately, life happens and now at least I get to write about them and tell you my experiences.

FAQs

What kind of birds can hover? ›

The hummingbird is the only bird that can truly hover. It manages this by flapping its wings 20 to 80 times a second. It can fly straight up and down.

What large bird can hover? ›

BBC Earth on Twitter: "Meet the world's largest hovering bird, the pied kingfisher https://t.co/riF27DKJPL #EarthsGreatestSpectacles https://t.co/x34VrGq5tA" / Twitter.

What bird hovers over water? ›

Pied kingfishers (Ceryle rudis) capture fish by plunge diving from hovering that may last several minutes. Hovering is the most energy-consuming mode of flight and depends on active wing flapping and facing headwind.

What is the best hovering bird? ›

Top 10 Highest Flying Birds vs 10 Flightless Birds
RankHighest Flying BirdsFlightless Birds
1Ruppel's Griffon VultureTakahe
2CraneKiwi
3Bar-headed GooseEmu
4Whooper SwanFlightless Cormorant
6 more rows
Apr 19, 2023

What is the smallest hovering bird? ›

The Bee Hummingbird, which is found only in Cuba, is an absolute miniature, even among hummingbirds. It measures a mere two and a quarter inches long. Bee Hummingbirds are often mistaken for bees. They weigh less than two grams — less than a dime.

What are three types of birds that hover? ›

Hummingbirds, kestrels, terns and hawks use this wind hovering. Most birds that hover have high aspect ratio wings that are suited to low speed flying. Hummingbirds are a unique exception – the most accomplished hoverers of all birds.

What blue bird can hover? ›

Unlike other bluebird species, Mountain Bluebirds often hover while foraging; they also pounce on their insect prey from an elevated perch.

What are small hovering birds of prey? ›

Kestrels, however, are the only bird of prey capable of hovering. Unlike smaller hummingbirds, kestrels are incapable of beating their wings fast enough to generate enough lift to keep them aloft, so they have to face into the wind and rely on it to provide lift for them.

What is a very small hovering bird that drinks nectar from flowers? ›

Hummingbirds are named for the prominent humming sound their wingbeats make while flying and hovering to feed or interact with other hummingbirds.

Is there a bird called a helicopter? ›

The helicopter bird or Northern Black Korhaan is so named because of its unusual hovering style just before plummeting to Earth, for the life of me I couldn't recall its proper name but I have since received an email message, apparently it is known as the Northern Black Korhaan, they were surprisingly numerous in ...

What Hawks can hover? ›

Rough-legged hawk: The hovering predator.

What is the yellow bird that hovers? ›

The Yellow Warbler feeds mainly on insects and spiders, gleaning them from shrubs and tree branches or sallying out from a perch to grab winged insects in mid-air. This diminutive hunter sometimes hovers while seeking prey that might be hiding on the undersides of leaves.

What bird can float in air? ›

Wandering Albatrosses

Those wings can keep their thin, cigarette-like bodies aloft for days at a time. Wandering Albatrosses spend between 1.2 to 14.5 percent of their flight time slowly flapping to stay in the air, researchers have found.

What is the white bird that stands in water? ›

The Great Egret is frequently seen at the edges of the water, standing stock still, waiting to ambush a fish or crab. In the late 1800's they were hunted almost to extinction for their fancy breeding plumage feathers which were used as decorations on hats and military uniforms.

Which is the only bird that can fly backwards and hover? ›

NARRATOR: The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly in any direction. The unique architecture of its wings enables it to fly forward, backward, straight up and down, or to remain suspended in the air.

What flying animals can hover? ›

Hummingbirds and bats accomplish this feat by twisting their wings backward on the upstroke, continuously pushing air downward to keep them steadily aloft. “If you look amongst vertebrates, there are two that can hover in a sustained way,” said Lentink. “Those are hummingbirds and nectar bats.

What is the biggest living flying bird? ›

Wandering albatross

What is the biggest bird but can't fly? ›

It may seem strange that among the more than 10,000 bird species in the world today is a group that literally cannot fly or sing, and whose wings are more fluff than feather. These are the ratites: the ostrich, emu, rhea, kiwi and cassowary.

How many birds Cannot fly? ›

There are approximately 60 flightless bird species, though the exact count can differ depending on subspecies and split classifications. While many people can name a few species, the different types of flightless birds are often a surprise. Threatened and endangered designations as indicated by BirdLife International.

What is the black and white bird that hovers? ›

Birds soar and swoop. White-tailed kites also hover in a hunting behavior known as "helicoptering." The handsome black-and-white-plumed bird glides gracefully over open fields, then hovers over likely prey.

What bird only glides? ›

The wandering albatross has a wingspan of over three metres; the longest of any bird. Its wings are also very narrow. This shape is perfect for gliding low over the sea, using air currents just above the waves. Albatrosses can travel many kilometres without flapping at all.

What is a black bird that glides? ›

During the day, Black Vultures soar in flocks, often with Turkey Vultures and hawks. Their flight style is distinctive: strong wingbeats followed by short glides, giving them a batlike appearance.

Can swallows hover? ›

Barn Swallow pairs explore a number of potential nesting spots, flying up and hovering to investigate a location, then moving to another site before narrowing their choice.

What is a falcon that can hover? ›

True to the name “falcon,” this species is built for speed, with long pointed wings, often bent back at the tip. If a suitable perch isn't available, American Kestrels will hover above an open field. Facing into the wind, they flap their wings and use their tails to hold their position.

Do blue feathers exist? ›

“Red and yellow feathers get their color from actual pigments, called carotenoids, that are in the foods birds eat,” Sillett explains. “Blue is different―no bird species can make blue from pigments.

What is the small bird that hovers in the UK? ›

Male skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from farmland, grassland, saltmarshes and moorland. They hover effortlessly, singing from a great height, before parachuting back down to earth.

What is a small brown hovering bird in the UK? ›

The skylark is a small brown bird, somewhat larger than a sparrow but smaller than a starling. It is streaky brown with a small crest, which can be raised when the bird is excited or alarmed, and a white-sided tail. The wings also have a white rear edge, visible in flight.

What does a puff bird look like? ›

Lacking the iridescent colours of the jacamars, puffbirds are mainly brown, rufous or grey, with large heads, large eyes, and flattened bills with a hooked tip. Their loose, abundant plumage and short tails makes them look stout and puffy, giving rise to the English name of the family.

What is a poppin bird? ›

Puffins are any of three species of small alcids (auks) in the bird genus Fratercula. These are pelagic seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water. They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands, nesting in crevices among rocks or in burrows in the soil.

What are the other animals which hover around the flowers? ›

The animals that hover around the flowers are insects and birds like bees, beetle, moths, ladybugs, caterpillars, hummingbirds, etc.

What is a military bird? ›

The Military Macaw probably got its name from the military personnel who first imported the birds to Europe as pets. In the wild, this parrot occurs in three subspecies throughout a large but fragmented range extending from Mexico to Argentina.

Is there a bird called a jet? ›

Of this group, the Jet Antbird is the most geographically widespread, it being found from central Panama south into South America, where the species ranges from eastern Venezuela south and west to western Ecuador.

What do pilots call helicopters? ›

English language nicknames for "helicopter" include "chopper", "copter", "heli", and "whirlybird". In the United States military, the common slang is "helo" pronounced with a long "e".

What is a white hawk that hovers? ›

The White-tailed Kite, also referred to as the White Hawk and the Black-shouldered Kite, is the only North American Kite that hovers while hunting for prey. This prey consists of small rodents, especially Voles, and occasionally reptiles, insects, and other small birds.

Can birds hover in sky? ›

Hummingbirds are the smallest flying vertebrates, and they are the only birds that can sustain hovering.

Can red tail hawks hover? ›

Red-tailed Hawks can be vexing birds. We tend to think of Northern Harriers and Rough-legged Hawks as hovering raptors, but Red-tails will also hover when the wind and occasion calls for it. They're bulky, all-purpose predators that primarily feed on mammals, but they're nimble enough to catch pigeons, too.

Which birds hover over fields? ›

Kestrels, however, are the only bird of prey capable of hovering. Unlike smaller hummingbirds, kestrels are incapable of beating their wings fast enough to generate enough lift to keep them aloft, so they have to face into the wind and rely on it to provide lift for them.

Which birds of prey can hover? ›

Did you know that Kestrels are the only bird of prey capable of hovering? But they can't flap their wings fast enough to do it alone - they rely on flying into wind to give them lift!

Can a crow hover? ›

Someone off camera is tossing bread in the air. The crows hover and flap to catch it. Slotted wings save energy as the crow flies.

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