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55 Facts about Hummingbirds

Updated on February 27, 2012
Hummingbird hovering in mid-air
Hummingbird hovering in mid-air

Facts about hummingbirds 1-10

  1. Hummingbirds belong to the family of birds Trochilidae.
  2. The hummingbird is the smallest bird species on planet earth, weighing only from 2 to 20 grams!
  3. The smallest species of hummingbird is the bee hummingbird of Cuba that weighs only about 1.8 to 2 g!
  4. The largest species of hummingbird is the Giant Hummingbird that weighs up to 20 g!
  5. The female hummingbird is a bit bigger than the males because they need to be able to lay eggs and also produce a large amount of body heat to incubate their eggs.
  6. There are over 300 species of hummingbirds and this makes them the second largest family of birds in the West!
  7. In the US , there are more than 15 breeding species of hummingbirds.
  8. More than 50 species of hummingbirds breed in Mexico!
  9. Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly both forward and backwards.
  10. They can also fly sideways and even upside down!.

Perched on a branch: female Anna's hummingbird
Perched on a branch: female Anna's hummingbird

Facts about Hummingbirds 11-20

11. Why are they called hummingbirds? Hummingbirds get their name from the low humming sound produced by their super fast wings in motion.

12. Hummingbird wings beat up to 70 times per second!

13. What sounds do hummingbirds make? Beside the low humming of their wings, hummingbirds make chittering and chirpy sounds.

14. Native to only North and South America, the hummingbird isn't found in any other continent.

15. The most common species of hummingbird in the eastern half of north America is the Ruby-throated hummingbird.

16. Hummingbirds live in a wide variety of environments from tropical mountains to semi-arid deserts.

17. The ruby-throated hummingbird and the Rufous hummingbird are very similar - you can mistake one for the other!

18. How do you tell the Ruby-throated and Rufous' hummingbirds apart? The major way to tell these hummers apart is through their different locations-the ruby-throat dominates the eastern half of North America and the Rufous, the western half.

19. Hummingbirds are mainly nectarivores, but they are also fond of eating small bugs that may be on the flower stalks or around the flower blossom.

20. They are fond of snapping small bugs and catching flying insects on the wing. These provide them with protein.

The Striking Violet-tailed Sylph
The Striking Violet-tailed Sylph

Facts about Hummingbirds 21-30

21. Hummingbirds will feed on average 1000 flowers a day for the energizing nectar.

22. Hummingbirds prefer flowers with a nectar content of only 25%. They don't feed on flowers producing nectar of less than 15%!

23. Hummingbirds need a lot of energy. They need to eat food 3 times the size of their weight a day!

24. Their metabolic rate is 100 times faster than that of an elephant!

25. The wings of hummingbird can beat at 200 times a second!

26. Hummingbirds are hover-feeders that can hover in the air long enough to suck out the nectar they need.

27. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to red flowers though they also visit other color blooms like orange and pink flowers.

28. Hummingbird pollinated flowers have no strong odour as hummingbirds do not have a well-developed sense of smell.

29. Hummingbird pollinated flowers include: trumpet honeysuckle, fuchsia, columbine, salvia sage flowers, cigar plant flowers, canada lily, trumpet vine, cardinal flower, spotted jewelweed, agastache and red buckeye flowers.

30. Most hummingbirds have long extendable tongues that they use to catch flying insects on the wing.

Nesting Anna's Hummingbird
Nesting Anna's Hummingbird

Facts about Hummingbirds 31-40

31. Hummingbirds can fly very fast at speeds of 27 miles per hour. A single hummingbird was reported to have kept up with a car moving at 57 miles per hour!

32. Hummingbirds have a very sharp sense of hearing which makes it hard to capture photos of them. They are known to quickly escape when they hear the clicking sound of a camera.

33. Hummingbirds can see near ultra-violet that is why orange pink and red flowers stand out more easily to them.

34. Hummingbirds do not mate for life and the females cater for their young without the help of the males.
35. Hummingbirds that have a white plumage are actually partial or true albinos!

36. The tongues of hummingbirds are W-shaped and possess tiny hairs at the tip to lick up nectar.

37. Unlike bees that drink nectar like they're drinking from a straw, hummingbirds rather lick or lap up nectar with their long tongues.

38. Hummingbirds are able to see very far distances and wider spectrum of colors than humans.

39. Being very aggressive, most hummingbirds are known to fly toward one another to chase each other away from their territories.

40. The average hummingbird's heart beats up to about 1,260 times per minute!

Hummingbird feeding on etlingera
Hummingbird feeding on etlingera

Facts about Hummingbird 41-50

41. The Rufous hummingbird travels farthest to the North than any other hummingbird-all the way down from Mexico to Alaska!

42. During migrating season, some hummingbirds can actually fly over 2000 miles!

43. Hummingbirds can dive at a speed of 60 miles per hour!

44. The hummingbird's brain takes 4.2% of its body weight and this is known to be the biggest proportion in the bird kingdom!

45. A hummingbird's heart is 2.5% of the total body weight.

46. A hummingbird's wings will rotate in a full circle when flying in air.

47. Hummingbirds can live more than a decade.

48. Spending most of their time perching, the hummingbird has weak legs so it can't walk or hop like other birds!

49. A hummingbird will take about 250 breaths per minute while at rest.

50. Hummingbirds enter a hibernation state at night called torpor. This helps them conserve most of their body energy.

Facts about Hummingbirds 51-55

51. Hummingbirds can remember each and every flower they visited!

52. The male hummingbirds possess iridescent throat feathers that are used to attract females during the mating season.

53. Female hummingbirds produce clutches consisting two eggs.

54. Young hummingbirds cannot fly and they remain in their nests for about 3 weeks.

55. The Aztec god Huitzilopochtli is often shown as a hummingbird.

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    • profile image

      Sarah 2 years ago

      this website was amazing. I learned so much from it! THANK YOU!! Plus, happy Valentine's day!

    • profile image

      Kat Goodman 2 years ago

      very interesting article, but please correct the preface which says they are the tiniest mammal; they are an animal but not a mammal. Such a glaring mistake will make people question the veracity of the other facts in the article...

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This was a fascinating hub about hummingbirds. You do need a space between fact #34-#35. Nice work. Voted up!

    • profile image

      annonamoas 3 years ago

      who cares

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your hub and reading all the facts about hummingbirds. We love to watch them from our deck. Voted up.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      So beautiful and so many facts of such a tiny bird I learned something new here today thanks

    • profile image

      kayla 5 years ago

      hi i have to do 100 facts on these birds so i am on 92 wow i no how can yu get that much idk hahahaha there sewww cute well better get going hahaha thx website ;)

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I absolutely love this hub. My family is fascinated with humming birds. My nephew even rescued one back to life by feeding it tiny drops of water. It had gotten hit by the garage door.

      Those photos are just fabulous. One of my funniest memories ever, is watching my husband and mother on both sides of the hummingbird feeder trying to take pictures when they landed.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      What is the big deal with 55 . . . I once did a painting of a hummingbird hovering next to a flower and gave it to my parents who hung it in their living room. They live in the Mountains of Colorado where hummingbirds migrate through on their journey's. A hummingbird (they left their porch door open) flew into there living room and up to the other hummingbird . . . hey if you can fool a hummingbird it must have been a good painting!

      Good article . . . you are humming right along!

    • Rehana Stormme profile image

      Rehana Stormme 6 years ago

      Hi Suzzycue! I'm glad you enjoyed reading this! Thanks for commenting :)

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      There is great info here I enjoyed reading and the pictures are breath taking.

    • Rehana Stormme profile image

      Rehana Stormme 6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, Paradise7! Hummingbirds are beautiful creatures indeed. I just noticed the second picture is a bit grainy, I'll need to readjust the size or get a new pic. Thanks, once again for stoppping by!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great info! There's a lot I didn't know here, and I'm grateful for the information. I do love hummingbirds so. They are so beautiful! The pics are excellent, also.