Hummingbirds: The World’s Smallest and Most Amazing Birds

What are hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are tiny, colorful, thin-beaked birds that belong to the family Trochilidae. They are native to the Americas, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and there are more than 300 species of hummingbirds in the world1. Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sound that their wings make when they flap very fast, averaging from 10 to 80 times per second depending on the species2. Hummingbirds are also the only birds that can fly in all directions, including forward, backward, sideways, up, down, and even upside-down2. They can also hover in mid-air and shake their heads to remove water droplets while flying in the rain2.

How do hummingbirds look like?

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world, with most species weighing less than two pennies (3 to 4 grams)3. The smallest hummingbird is the bee hummingbird, which is only 2 inches long and weighs less than a dime (2 grams)4. The largest hummingbird is the giant hummingbird, which is 8 inches long and weighs about an ounce (20 grams)4. Hummingbirds have very long and thin bills that they use to sip nectar from flowers. They also have long tongues that can extend beyond their bills to reach deeper into the flower. Hummingbirds have very bright and iridescent feathers that reflect light in different colors. Their throat feathers, called gorgets, are especially colorful and can change hue depending on the angle of viewing1. Hummingbirds have over 900 feathers, the fewest number of any bird species in the world1.

What do hummingbirds eat?

Hummingbirds have a very fast metabolism, which means they need a lot of energy to keep their bodies functioning. They eat nectar from flowers and small insects such as ants, gnats, mosquitoes, and wasps2. Hummingbirds can feed every 10 to 15 minutes and visit between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers every day2. They can consume up to half of their body weight in sugar daily1. To do this, they have to beat their wings and hearts very fast. An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute1. Hummingbirds also have the ability to enter a state of torpor at night or when food is scarce. Torpor is a type of deep sleep that lowers their body temperature and slows down their metabolism. This helps them conserve energy and survive when nectar is not available4.

How do hummingbirds reproduce?

Hummingbirds are solitary birds that only come together for mating. Male hummingbirds attract females by performing courtship displays that involve diving, hovering, singing, and flashing their colorful feathers4. Female hummingbirds are responsible for building the nest, laying the eggs, and raising the young. They usually lay two eggs that are smaller than jelly beans1. The eggs hatch after two to three weeks and the chicks stay in the nest for another three weeks before they fledge4. Male hummingbirds do not help with the nesting or parenting duties. They usually find another mate after the eggs are laid2.

How do hummingbirds migrate?

Some species of hummingbirds migrate seasonally between northern breeding grounds and southern wintering grounds. For example, the ruby-throated hummingbird migrates from Canada and eastern US to Mexico and Central America every year4. The rufous hummingbird migrates from Alaska or Canada to Mexico every year as well2. This is the longest migration of any hummingbird species, covering more than 3,000 miles2. Hummingbirds migrate individually and not in flocks. They migrate during the day and rest at night. They prepare for their journey by gaining up to 40% of their body weight before they leave2. They also use landmarks such as mountains and rivers to guide them along their route. Some hummingbirds even cross the Gulf of Mexico in one non-stop flight that takes about 20 hours4.


Hummingbirds are truly remarkable birds that have many amazing adaptations and abilities. They are beautiful, agile, energetic, and resilient. They are also important pollinators that help many plants reproduce. Hummingbirds deserve our admiration and respect. If you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, you can hang a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water or plant some hummingbird-friendly flowers such as bee balm, cardinal flower, columbine, honeysuckle, or salvia. You can also provide them with fresh water and shelter. Hummingbirds will reward you with their presence and charm. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something new about hummingbirds. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and happy hummingbird watching! 😊

1: 36 Fun Facts About Hummingbirds – The Spruce 2: 12 Most Interesting Facts about Hummingbirds – We Love Hummingbirds 3: 22 Jaw-Dropping Hummingbird Facts – Birds and Blooms 4: 40 Cool Hummingbird Facts About The World’s Smallest Bir

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