Hummingbird Facts

A List of Fascinating Hummingbird Facts


We all know that hummingbirds are small and interesting but beyond that, most people have limited information so we wanted to provide some of the most fascinating hummingbird facts.  In truth, the hummingbird is an amazing creature.  If you have ever put out a feeder and had the opportunity to see one of these miniature birds up close, you have an idea just how special it is.  Below is some additional information that will help you appreciate the hummingbird even more.

  1. The only two places in the world where hummingbirds are found are North America and South America, living from the southeastern region of Alaska all the way to the southern part of Chile.

  2. Although hummingbird varieties exist in both North America and South America, the greatest variety is in South America with an estimated 163 species.  In fact, experts estimate that more than 50% of the different varieties of this tiny bird are found in this part of the world.

  3. One of the other interesting hummingbird facts is that of all animals in the world with a backbone, this bird is the smallest.

  4. One of the hummingbird facts that most people do not know is that this bird cannot smell.

  5. Unlike other birds that flap the wings up and down, the hummingbird actually rotates its wings differently.  Most people believe they move the wings in a circular motion but if you were ever to watch a slow motion video, you would see the movement is more like a figure eight.  Because of this, the hummingbird is the only bird capable of flying forward, as well as backwards, up, down, and sideways.  In fact, the hummingbird possesses one exceptional flying skill – hovering.  To accomplish this feat, the flying muscles take up about 30% of the bird’s body.

  6. Another of the most incredible hummingbird facts is that this little bitty bird can fly up to 500 miles non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico during the migration period.

  7. All birds have a special courting ritual and for the hummingbird, it will dive, reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour.  However, during normal flight, this bird flies between 20 and 30 miles per hour.

  8. The wings of the hummingbird actually move as much as 80 times a second with normal flight.  When courting a potential mate and diving, this increases to 200 times a second.

  9. This bird’s heart rate beats as fast as 1,260 beats every minute.  For as small as the bird is, many people find this one of the most fascinating hummingbird facts.

  10. The brain of the hummingbird takes up more than 4% of the overall body weight, making this from a percentage standpoint the bird with the largest brain.

  11. The smallest known hummingbird is called the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba, which weighs a mere 2.2 grams and being only 2.25 inches long.  On the other hand, the Giant Hummingbird from South America is known to be the largest, weighing on average 20 grams and approximately 8 inches long.

  12. Probably the saddest of all hummingbird facts is that the majority never make it past their first year of life.  However, of those that do survive, the average life span is between three and four years.  However, one female hummingbird was tagged and recaptured after 12 years, which makes her the longest living hummingbird on record.

  13. With so much energy used, the hummingbird needs to refuel the body often.  Therefore, they will feed up to eight times an hour, which only lasts about 45 seconds.

  14. The last of our fascinating hummingbird facts is that the bulk of the diet is sugar.  These birds live on nectar from flowers, as well as tree sap but if necessary, they will add pollen or insects for building stronger muscles.  For this reason, if you put out a hummingbird feeder that contains red colored sugar water or actual hummingbird food, the color attracts their attention and the sugar water sustains life.




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