Apr 2, 2015 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, April 2015

Cool Hummingbird Facts!

Did you know? It has been estimated that hummingbirds sometimes visit 1,000 flowers a day to collect nectar.
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You don't need to be a bird expert to know that hummingbirds are cool! Check out this list of facts about these flying jewels of the bird world.

  • The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird, native to Cuba. It measures only 2 inches from bill tip to tail tip.
  • The largest hummingbird in the world is the giant hummingbird, a resident of the Andes. It is 8½ inches in length, or about two inches smaller than a robin.
  • There are several species of nectar-drinking moths that resemble hummingbirds, called hummingbird moths. Note: Hummingbirds don't have antennae, but moths do!
  • In a normal day of feeding, hummingbirds consume more than their body weight in nectar and insects.
  • Hummingbird tongues are shaped like a W, with twin canals. The tip is forked, with featherlike edges.
  • Hummingbirds require more energy to live than any other warm-blooded animal. Among birds, they have the highest normal body temperature, proportionally the largest brain and heart, the highest heart rate, and the fastest wingbeats.
  • Hummingbirds can fly horizontally up to 30 miles per hour, but males descending in their courtship display can dive at speeds of 60 mph.
  • Hummingbird eggs are as tiny as the eraser on a No. 2 pencil.
  • The female alone builds the nest, incubates and tends to the young.
  • Hummingbird nests are constructed of spider webs, fluffy plant fibers, and animal hair. The outside is often camouflaged with lichen, moss, bark, or leaves.
  • It takes about three weeks from hatching until fledging. Fledglings remain dependent upon their mom for food for about one more week.
  • Young male hummingbirds resemble females until the following spring.
  • Fewer than 35 percent of hummingbird fledglings survive their first year.
  • The old-age record for any wild, banded hummingbird is 12 years, but such geriatric birds are extreme exceptions.
  • During cool weather at night, hummingbirds go into a state of mini-hibernation, called torpor. The bird's body temperature drops significantly; its heart rate slows, and its metabolism runs at as little as 1/50th that of an active bird.


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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021