Hummingbird Facts

Hummingbird at cherry blossoms

Species

There is some disagreement about exactly how many species of hummingbirds there are in the world. Somewhere between 320 and 340. About 12 species can be found regularly in the US, a few more if you count the rarities. Hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere.

 

A hummingbird's heartbeat

A hummingbird's heart rate can reach 1,260 beats per minute. The typical resting heart rate of an adult human is 60 - 80 beats per minute.

 

 

The smallest of the small

The smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird. They live in Cuba and are 2 to 2.4 inches in length.

 

Hungry!

Because of their super fast metabolism, hummingbirds must consume a lot of nectar each day in order to survive. On average, they take in about half their weight in food daily. Learn about feeding hummingbirds.

 

What do you call a group of hummingbirds?

We call them beautiful. But officially, a group of hummingbirds is known as a choir.

 

How fast?

Depending on the species, hummingbirds flap their wings from 60 to 200 times per second. They can fly at speeds of over 34 mph. Their high-speed dives are even faster.

 

Nap Time

In order to conserve energy while they're sleeping, when food is scarce, or when temperatures drop, hummingbirds can slow down their systems, dropping their metabolic rate to a fraction of what it is normally. This hibernation-like state is called torpor. Once they warm up, they're back to normal. It can take up to an hour for a hummingbird to recover from torpor, so if you find a hummer that's non-responsive, particularly at night or in the early morning, give it a chance to warm up and it will probably be fine.

 

Babies

Hummingbirds usually lay one or two eggs in a tiny nest made of materials such as moss, lichen, plant down, spider silk, feathers, and small bits of bark and leaves. The eggs hatch in 15 to 18 days and the young hummingbirds will begin to fly 18 to 28 days after hatching.

 

Where Did They Go?

For most parts of the United States, hummingbirds are seasonal visitors. They migrate into the U.S. during the warm weather months and then head south in the fall. The level of hummingbird activity you'll see at feeders may vary throughout the year also. Learn more about why your hummingbirds may seem to disappear for a while.

Like Little Helicopters

small hummingbird icon

Hummingbirds are the only birds that have the ability of hover for prolonged periods of time.

 

They can also fly backwards, up, down, and from side to side.

Kaleidoscope of Colors

small hummingbird icon

The "metallic" features often present at a male hummingbird's neck may appear to be different colors depending on how the light reflects off them. For example, the gorget feathers of the male Rufous Hummingbird may appear scarlet, red-orange, yellow-orange, golden, chartreuse, or dull black.

 

 

Feeder Basics

Hummingbird at a feeder

The basic recipe for hummingbird food is one part sugar to four parts water. Use regular table sugar, nothing else. Clean the feeder every three or four days. Just clean it with hot water and a brush - no soap or chemicals.

Read More »

Where did they go?

Hummingbird Nest

You'll often see a few hummingbirds early in the spring and then they seem to disappear for a while. During the nesting season, the hummingbirds may be less frequent visitors to your feeders. The females will be busy nesting, and then once their babies hatch, they concentrate on catching insects for their young ones. Learn more.