Interesting facts about hummingbirds

hummingbird

Hummingbirds are among the smallest of birds but they belong to one of the largest group of birds, the Trochilidae family.

Hummingbirds are found only in the Western Hemisphere, from southeastern Alaska to southern Chile, although most live in the tropical rain forests.

Hummingbird lifespan is 6 to 12 years in the wild but in captivity is up to 17 years.

The Hummingbird got their name because of the unique humming sound they make with their wings during flight. Each species creates a different humming sound, depending on the speed of its wing beats

There is a little more than 325 hummingbird species in the world.

The smallest is the bee hummingbird from Cuba is 5 centimeters (2 inches) tall and weighing less than a U.S. penny (2.5 g).

bee hummingbird

The largest is the giant hummingbird from South America is 22 centimeters (8.6 inches) tall and weighing from 18 to 24 grams (0.63 – 0.85 oz).

giant hummingbird

Hummingbird bills come in different sizes and shapes, too. The bill protects the long, split tongue and allows each hummingbird species to feed from specific types of flowers.

Flowers need to pollinate and hummingbirds need the high-energy nectar the that flowers provide. They are the ideal solution to each other’s needs.

Hummingbirds can consume up to 50% of their weight in sugar (nectar solution) each day. They usually feed on nectar and insects.

Hummingbirds are called nectarivorous, because about 90% of their diet is the nectar from flowers.

hummingbird and flowers

Hummingbirds come in all colors of the rainbow, and some of their feathers actually change color as they move in the light.

Because they are able to change the color of their feathers when they fly hummingbirds are known as “the flying jewels

The hummingbirds are small but they are fearless, as it can outmaneuver everything unless taken by surprise. If a hummingbird sees a hawk or other bird that it doesn’t want in its territory, it gives a high-pitched warning and starts doing dive attacks.

If we talk about flying, nobody does it better. Hummingbird is like helicopter, can go up, down, sideways, backward, and even upside down!

hummingbird flying

Many hummingbird species routinely migrate 800 kilometers (500 miles) or more every year.

But some hummingbird species live in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains, where they encounter frost and snowfall. When it’s especially cold, these hummers seek shelter in caves. Other species are found in cool and dry grasslands, forest lowlands, tropical rain forests, and even desert areas.

The rufous hummingbird migrates astonishing 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles) from Mexico to Alaska, where it breeds during the summer.

Female does all the nest building, incubating, and caring for the babies herself, and a male hummer will
mate with any females that he can attract to his territory.

hummingbird nest

Female usually lays 2 eggs, which are very small . Eggs represent 10 percent of the mother’s weight. Babycannot fly and it spends first 3 weeks of life in the nest.

Heart beat of hummingbird can reach a maximum of about 1200 beats per minute.

Hummingbirds are very smart, in fact a Hummingbird has the largest brain in the bird world in proportion to its body size.

They spend more than half of their time, preening, singing and just plain hanging out.

They bathes several times a day, splashing in shallow water or sitting near a waterfall or a sprinkler and letting the spray fall on them.
hummingbird takes a bath

Hummingbirds predators include other birds such as hawk, orioles and roadrunners, cats – both domestic and feral, dragonflies, preying mantis, crows, frogs, jays, mice, roadrunners, lizards, snakes, rats, and squirrels.

In the mid-1800s, hundreds of thousands of hummingbirds were killed for their feathers, and some species almost became extinct.

Habitat loss and destruction are the hummingbird’s main threats. As hummingbirds are often specially adapted to each unique habitat, each species of hummingbird currently listed as vulnerable or endangered on the IUCN red list are all threatened due to habitat destruction and loss.

Global warming (climate changes) affects their migratory patterns and changes the normal behavior of hummingbirds.

After analyzing the data, the study concluded that the ancestors of modern hummingbirds existed about 42 million years ago in Eurasia, where hummingbird-like fossils have been found dating from 28 million to 34 million years ago.

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