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Hummingbirds - The Birds That Kiss Flowers.

Updated on December 4, 2009
A male Costa's Hummingbird.
A male Costa's Hummingbird.
Hummingbird nest with two chicks.
Hummingbird nest with two chicks.
A hovering Rufous Hummingbird.
A hovering Rufous Hummingbird.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird.

The Brazilians call this vibrant bird beija-flor - the bird that kisses flowers.

Other bird lovers fittingly call these tiny delights "lovely fragments of the rainbow," or "living jewels."

What species of birds deserve such cheerful and elegant names? - None other than the busy hummingbird.

With their vivid plumage, and unique size, the hummingbird is an absolutely amazing little creature.

Here are several fascinating facts about this colorful bird:

1.) The largest hummingbird [Patagona gigas] is found in western South America from Ecuador to Chile, and is 8.5 inches [22 cm] in overall length.

2.) The smallest hummingbird; the Bee Hummingbird; is native to Cuba and is 2.25 inches [6 cm] long from the tip of it's tail to the tip of it's bill.

3.) There are over 320 species of hummingbirds and they make up the second-largest bird family in the Western Hemisphere.

4.) Their small nest are made of soft plant materials, and fine feathers woven together with cobwebs (their eggs being the size of small jellybeans, peas, and white like pearls).

5.) The main habitat of hummingbirds include the equatorial zone across South America from sea level to more than 15,000 feet [4,500 m] and some islands of the Caribbean and the Pacific.

During the summer months, they are found as far north as Alaska and as far south as Tierra del Fuego.

6.) Although small and petite, hummingbirds will fearlessly defend their territory against any bird - their own kind being no exception to rule.

7.) Unlike most birds, hummingbirds rarely walk. They feed on the wing (while hovering midair).

8.) Hummingbirds posses bills varying in shape and length according to their species. Therefore, they choose blossoms that are particularly suited to them.

9.) Hummingbirds supplement their nectar diet, by catching fruit flies and plucking aphids (plant lice/small plant eating insects) off vegetation.

10.) The tongue of a hummingbird is long, narrow, forked and slightly hairy at the tip. Two curled furrows divide the tongue, creating tiny troughs which enable nectar to be carried by capillary action until it is swallowed.

11.) While hovering, some hummingbirds achieve a wing-beat of 78 times per second, or 4,680 beats per minute!

12.) Sadly, at one time, millions were slaughtered to provide decorations for the European millinery trade ("the profession or business of designing, making, or selling hats, dresses, and hat trim. It can also be used to refer to a type of store that sells those goods" - Wikipedia), likely exterminating certain species.

"The bird that kisses flowers, living jewels, or lovely fragments of the rainbow," whatever you call them, hummingbirds are undeniably a bird worthy of admiration.


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    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      I just checked the site out, what great hummingbird feeders!

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      That is so cool LezlieHebner. Thank you for stopping by. I'm on my way to check this site out right now.

    • LezlieHebner profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice facts! Did you also know hummingbirds can make a chirping noise with their tail feathers? And, hummingbirds are attracted to red, which is why most feeders are this color. Here's an example of a red one that’s really easy to fill and clean:

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you loveofnight for stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment. There is a great hub by fellow hubber Sage Williams that will show you how to attract some to your home entitled - I hope this helps.

    • loveofnight profile image


      9 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      these are really fascinating birds, i would really love to attract some to my home.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      When I stayed in Alabama, a friend of mine had birdfeeders out for them. We used to watch them every morning from the window while washing dishes.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      I love watching these little guys! We have them n our deck in the summer.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks BkCreative! Hummingbirds are so delicate and beautiful. I miss watching them. I used to watch them in Alabama all the time.

    • BkCreative profile image


      10 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So lovely these birds are! Isn't nature beautiful? What a gift! A gift we don't know how to appreciate. Sigh!

      But sharing the information helps a lot Veronica Allen!

      Many thanks!

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Randy Godwin - that's really neat, I've never heard of the "doctor bird", I'm going to have to do some research on them. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

      Carol Wingret - Get some feeders quick! These lovely creatures are such a joy to behold. I'm glad you liked the hub! Hummingbirds are my favorite flying creatures.

    • Carol Wingert profile image

      Carol Wingert 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the Hub! We used to have alot of hummingbirds in our area, but haven't seen many in years. I will have to get some feeders to lure them in!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      10 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I visit Jamaica frequently and enjoy watching the local "doctor bird," a larger species of hummingbird with a long tail and bill. I think Air Jamaica uses it as a logo on their airliners and advertisements. Enjoyed the hub!

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks elisabethkcmo - When I lived in Alabama, a friend of mine strategically placed hummingbird feeders right outside her kitchen windows, so every morning we would be presented with a spectacular show full of bright and brillant colors as the hummingbirds would flit pass sipping from the sweet nectar provided for them.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image


      10 years ago from Just East of Oz

      had the pleasure of watching a hummingbird family in Southern Missouri this summer in vacation

      great hub!

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      It just shows you, that we have to take personal responsibility when it comes down to what we purchase and consume. Thanks for the feedback.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      What interesting facts about the hummingbird. How cruel of the millinery industry to use living birds for their clothing. From now on I will look closely at any small animal to see if the practice is still in force. You know that whatever people can get away with they will. However PETA is always on the lookout for such things.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you Hello, hello for your feedback. Aren't hummingbirds beautiful?

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      A beautiful and lovely and well written hub. Thank you.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks creativone59. I think hummingbirds are the most delightful birds on the face of the earth.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      10 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a beautiful hummingbird hub. I enjoyed it. creativeone59


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