Hummingbird Facts

Hummingbirds belong to the family Trochilidae and were first discovered in North America. Most range in length from 7.5–13 centimeters, making them the smallest of birds. At Only 5 cm long, the Bee hummingbird is extant, and they weigh less than 2 g.

The bird’s name comes from the noise it makes when it flaps its wings very fast. North and South America has over 350 different hummingbird species.

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Hummingbird Facts for kids

  • The hummingbird is the only bird capable of flying backward.
  • Hummingbirds live on average 3 to 5 years.
  • Hummingbirds have wings that beat so fast they make a humming sound.
  • Unlike many other species, they do not migrate in vast flocks. Instead, they travel alone.
  • Hummingbirds are generally very light, averaging less than a nickel in weight.
  • Their legs are too small to walk or hop. They only perch and move around sideways.
  • Female hummingbirds lay two eggs on average.
  • A hummingbird eats nearly twice as much as its body weight.

Different Types of Humming Bird

Below are some of the common species

Bee Hummingbird

The bee hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird.

The Bee Hummingbird, which can only be found in Cuba, is the smallest hummingbird in the world. It only measures 2 1/4 inches long. Many people mistake hummingbirds for bees. They weigh less than a dime — about two grams. The female lays tiny eggs barely larger than a coffee bean in her nest.

While flying, the Bee Hummingbird’s tiny wings beat 80 beats per second. And when they fight, they beat up to 200 times a second!

They mainly eat nectar, but sometimes they eat insects and spiders in the process, picking up pollen and transferring it. They can visit as many as 1500 flowers in a day.

Anna’s hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbirds belong to the family Trochilidae. They are medium-sized birds. 

It was named in honor of Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli. It is found on the coastal plains of the western United States.

They’re medium-sized and stout for a hummingbird. Their bill is straight and short. While in a perched position, the tail extends below the wingtips.

They’re mostly gray and green. The male has reddish-pink feathers on the head and in the throat, which look dull brown or gray.

While hovering before flowers, they are like a blur as they search for nectar and insects.

These birds are often seen in yards, parks, residential streets, eucalyptus groves, coastal scrub, and riverside woods. Hummingbird feeders and flowering plants, including cultivated varieties in yards, are favorites of hummingbirds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

They spend the majority of the year in Mexico, Central America, and Florida, making their way to Canada and parts of North America for breeding purposes in the summer.

It’s a small hummingbird with a slender bill and fairly short. When the bird sits, its wings don’t extend all the way to its tail.

The birds have a bright green back and crown with a gray-white underpart. Males’ throats are bright and red in good light but appear darker in low light.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird can fly straight and fast do quickly. While hovering, they can easily adjust position up, down, and backward easily. They love tubular flowers and hummingbird feeders. In addition, you’ll see them picking insects from the air or spider webs.

They live in forests, meadows, pastures, parks, gardens, and backyards.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Small Hummingbird that inhabits various woodlands and brushy areas.

Their color is grayish-white above and metallic green below. The male has a velvety black throat with a purple base. The female, on the other hand, has a pale throat and a black bill.

They can be found in Western North America to northwest Mexico

Hovers at flower and feeders dart erratically to catch tiny insects.

As mentioned above, a Black-chinned Hummingbird is a habitat generalist, which means that it can be found in ponds, deserts, and mountainous forests, as well as heavily urbanized areas, 

Once it has access to areas with tall trees and plants that flower.

Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous Hummingbird has a long, slender bill and is about 8 cm in length. 

These birds fly over 2,000 miles during their migrations.

A male Rufous Hummingbird’s back and belly are bright orange, while its throat is vivid red coloring. Females have a greenback with rufous flanks, spots of orange on the throat, and rufous patches in the tail.

These solitary birds, particularly during migration, are highly defensive and aggressive around feeders and can even display signs of hostility against other creatures.

Even when they’re hovering or darting about, they capture gnats, flies, and spiders or pluck insects from spiderwebs.

They often guard prime feeding spots and chase away other birds, including other hummingbirds.

How fast does a Hummingbird’s heartbeat?

There is a Blue-throated Hummingbird that can go up to 1,260 beats per minute. On a cold night, the heart rate may slow down to 50-180 beats per minute as they experience Torpor, a state similar to hibernation.

How Big Are Hummingbird Babies?

A hummingbird’s babies will be approximately 0.62 grams in weight, depending on the type or species of hummingbirds. That’s a third (1/3) of a penny.  Their beaks are short, stubby, and yellow and are about one (1) inch long.

How Does A Hummingbird Sleep

When hummingbirds sleep, they go into a deep sleep called Torpor. Their metabolic rate will fall to one-fifth of normal.

They will become hypothermic as their body temperature drops. Their breathing is so slow that it looks like they have given up. Their heart rate drops to 50 beats per minute.

Hummingbirds can save 60% of their energy by sleeping like this.

What is the Life Cycle of a Hummingbird

The life expectancy of hummingbirds increases dramatically when they have survived a full annual cycle.

A banded ruby-throated hummingbird can live up to almost 7 years. A rufous hummingbird can live up to 8 years.

What is a Hummingbird Nest like?

It is about the size of a ping-pong ball or a bottle cap

Female hummingbirds build nests from leafy materials, such as lichen, and weave silk stuffing into them. They build nests in trees.

How long does it take for Hummingbird eggs to hatch?

Rufous Hummers incubate for a period of 15 – 17 days. The incubation period for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is 11 – 16 days.

How Fast Can a Hummingbird Fly

Hummingbirds can fly forward 30 mph. They are able to reach speeds of up to 60 mph while diving.

How Often Does a Hummingbird Need to Eat

The average hummingbird feeds five or eight times in an hour, and it consumes half of its body weight a day in sugar. The birds also eat spiders, small insects, and tree sap.

Feeding hummingbirds lick up to 15 times every second.

Flowering Gardens are Perfect

Hummingbirds are drawn to brightly-colored tubular flowers that hold the most nectar. These include Perennial plants like columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennial plants like foxgloves and hollyhocks.

Hummingbirds Need Regular Feedings

During the course of one hour, a hummingbird feeds between five and eight times. In order to attract hummingbirds, birders can create an attractive habitat that will appeal to those voracious appetites.

Hummingbirds Good Color Vision

Birds are color-blind compared to humans, so they use their ultraviolet-sensitive cones to see combinations of colors like green and red.

Hummingbirds are perfect for studying color vision in the wild because they are used to responding to flower colors that advertise nectar rewards.

Glucose energy

Flowers give them a good source of energy. The nectar of flowers gives them a good supply of glucose energy. They catch insects from time to time to boost their protein levels.