What do hummingbirds eat?
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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.

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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.

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Related Questions

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    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.

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    How do hummingbirds reproduce?

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    Although hummingbirds are usually solitary and fiercely territorial, males seek out females and perform elaborate courtship dances to get the females to accept them. After mating, the male leaves the female to build a nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young.

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  • Q:

    When do you feed hummingbirds?

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    When to feed hummingbirds depends on where one lives and what species of hummingbirds are around. A person who lives in a climate that is warm all year or on the coast can feed hummingbirds throughout the year because birds that live in warm regions do not migrate.

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    When do you stop feeding hummingbirds?

    A:

    Hummingbird feeders should remain up until the homeowner has not seen a hummingbird at the feeder for two weeks or more. In some areas, hummingbirds may remain all year long. In Northern Hemisphere, hummingbirds usually migrate away during the fall and return to the area in the spring.

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