Hummingbirds are small birds that we all know and love, flying around the air with their trademark speed, and featuring wings that never seem to stop moving. They’re endearing, to say the least.
But even though we all know them, we don’t know everything about them. And so today, we’re going to be talking about some hummingbird facts that you may not know!
1. Hummingbirds Can’t Walk
If you can’t recall a time where you’ve ever seen a hummingbird walk around, it’s because you never have. Hummingbirds physically can’t walk or hop because their feet are too small. But, their small feet do help them to fly more efficiently in return.
And they can move slightly to the side if they’re sitting on a branch, so they’re not completely immobile aside from flying.
2. Hummingbirds Also Don’t Have Many Feathers
Another adaptation that hummingbirds have made in exchange for more flying efficiency is having less feathers than other birds. Because whereas most small birds have about 1,500-3,000 feathers, hummingbirds only have 900! But this makes them quite a bit more lightweight, so it’s worth the reduction. Especially since they’re so small.
And here’s an extra fun fact related to this topic… Hummingbirds have the least amount of feathers of any bird species.
3. Hummingbirds Can Fly Backwards
While we’re on the topic of hummingbirds and their flight, it’s worth mentioning that they can actually fly backwards. And they’re the only bird species to be able to do so for an extended period of time. This is due to their unique wing structure.
Being able to do this is actually really useful for hummingbirds, especially when they’re drinking nectar.
4. Hummingbirds Can Also Fly Really Fast
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, how fast do hummingbirds fly…? Then here’s your exact answer. Hummingbirds can actually fly up to thirty miles per hour, and if they’re doing a dive then they can even reach speeds of sixty miles per hour!
And this isn’t surprising if you take into account that their wings can flap up to an astounding two hundred times per second.
5. Hummingbirds Can Migrate Long Distances
After hearing all these facts about how proficiently hummingbirds can fly, it should come as no surprise to you that the answer to the commonly asked question “do hummingbirds migrate” is yes. And they can migrate very far from their original homes.
In fact, some species have been known to travel about four-thousand miles to reach warmer weather in the wintertime.
6. Hummingbirds Have Tongues
A bird having a tongue is a strange thought, especially hummingbirds since they have such a small and thin beak. But birds do have them, and they use their tongues to drink nectar and water. Hummingbirds are no different.
However, since hummingbirds do everything so speedily, it’s important to note that they can actually take 15-20 “sips” in just one second! Talk about being thirsty…
7. And Hummingbirds Even Have Favorite Flowers To Drink From
These little birds have a lot of personality, and this comes with some strong preferences as well. For instance, they specifically enjoy tube-shaped flowers because they’re easier for them to drink out of. And they’re more attracted to bright colors as well.
So they’re more likely to drink from flowers like Birds of Paradise, or morning glories, rather than some other flower types.
8. But Hummingbirds Don’t Only Drink Nectar
There’s a common misconception that these small birds completely sustain themselves on nectar from flowers. But that’s actually not true. Hummingbirds have many other food sources.
Including things like small insects and insect eggs, ashes, sand, pollen, and even sap from woodpecker holes.
9. Once Hummingbirds Find A Place They Like, They’re Territorial
Despite being so small, hummingbirds have built themselves a reputation for being feisty if threatened. Or… if their territory is threatened. Because resources are hard to come by for these little birds, and once they find a location that has enough for them, they need to protect it.
So there’s a reason behind the madness.
10. Hummingbird Nests Are Quite Unique
Just like the tiny birds themselves, hummingbird nests are very small. In fact, they’re only about the size of a large coin. But their small nature isn’t the only thing that’s unique about them.
Another strange quality of hummingbird nests is that they’re made from lichen, moss, and… spiderwebs!
11. Hummingbird Eggs Are The Size Of Jelly Beans
If you were surprised by the size of these bird’s nests, then you’ll probably be asking yourself “how big are hummingbird eggs?”And you may be equally as surprised to hear that the eggs they lay are only about the size of a jelly bean. In some cases though, they’re even smaller than this.
It really all depends on the species of the hummingbird that’s laying the egg. They can also be slightly bigger. And speaking of species…
12. There Are A Lot Of Hummingbird Species
Although you probably have a specific picture in mind of what a hummingbird looks like, there’s more than just one kind. There are actually over three-hundred species in all! Which explains why there are some many small variations in the colors and patterns of the feathers.
13. Most Hummingbirds Only Live A Year
Sadly, many hummingbirds die after only one year. Although it is possible for them to live anywhere from three to seven years if they aren’t killed by a predator or by habitat loss. And some hummingbirds have even been known to live up to fourteen years!
A general rule of thumb is that the larger the species is, the longer it could live.