Q:

What do hummingbirds eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Hummingbirds eat a combination of nectar from flowers and small flying insects. Nectar is the more widely known and understood hummingbird food. Scientists have noted that the shape of the birds' bills and tongues are highly adapted to reaching deep within the recesses of flowers to retrieve nectar. However, as nectar is poor in everything but calories, hummingbirds make up the nutritional deficit by consuming bugs.

Know More
What do hummingbirds eat?
Credit: James Badger Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Nectar is very sugary, which is vital, as it gives hummingbirds a rapid boost of energy. Hummingbird flight consumes a great deal of energy, they are warm-blooded and must burn calories to maintain that temperature, and their tiny bodies dissipate heat all too efficiently. All of these factors combine to make hummingbirds exhibit the highest metabolism of any animal outside insects. Nectar, however, lacks protein, fat, vitamins or minerals, so hummingbirds resort to predation. The favored prey of ruby-throated hummingbirds is spiders, making up 60 to 80 percent of their diet. Hummingbirds also consume beetles and parasitic wasps, along with pests such as mosquitoes, ants, flies, gnats, aphids and mites. Hummingbirds hunt in the manner of a flycatcher, a type of bird that captures insects in flight. They also take advantage of spider webs, and will often consume both a spider's prey and the spider itself.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What are some facts all about hummingbirds?

    A:

    Hummingbirds are small birds, often with brightly colored, iridescent feathers, known for how quickly they fly from place to place. On average, the hummingbird flaps its wings up to 80 times per second. This rapid movement creates a slightly humming sound, which is the reason it is called a hummingbird. There are approximately 300 species of hummingbirds, and 12 of these species spend their summers in North America.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do hummingbirds nest?

    A:

    Hummingbirds nest in sheltered locations, where their offspring are protected from the wind and rain. Some common places for hummingbird nests are in forked tree branches or bushes. Around residential structures, hummingbirds may nest in the rafters of houses and barns, or around windows and door frames.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When do hummingbirds migrate?

    A:

    Most hummingbirds in America and Canada spend the winter in Mexico or South America before migrating to their breeding ground in southern U.S. as early as February or the first week of March. Some South American hummingbird species also travel north to the tropics during the southern winter.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How fast do hummingbirds fly?

    A:

    Hummingbirds can fly at an average speed of roughly 25 to 30 miles per hour and can dive at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. These tiny birds can flap their wings approximately 70 times per second during normal flight and around 200 times per second when they are diving.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore