Interesting facts on ruby-throated hummingbirds

ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbird is one of the more than 350 hummingbird species in the world.

This species is found in North and Central America.

Ruby-throated hummingbird is by far the most common hummingbird seen east of the Mississippi River in North America.

They are primarily woodland birds, occupying mixed woodlands, deciduous forests, and woodland openings and forest edges throughout their range. Tropical deciduous forests, gardens, orchards, yards, old fields, overgrown pastures, citrus groves, scrub communities, hedgerows, and fencerows are used as well.

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The average lifespan of a Ruby-throated hummingbird is estimated by experts to be 3 to 5 years. The oldest known ruby-throated hummingbird to be banded was 9 years and 1 month of age.

This hummingbird is from 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 in) long and has an 8 to 11 cm (3.1 to 4.3 in) wingspan. Weight can range from 2 to 6 g (0.071 to 0.212 oz), with males averaging 3.4 g (0.12 oz) against the slightly larger female which averages 3.8 g (0.13 oz).

Ruby-throated hummingbirds have beautiful coloration. are metallic green above and grayish white below, with near-black wings. Males have a brilliant orange to pink metallic throat and a forked tail. Females have a dull grayish throat, and a square, white-tipped tail.

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Ruby-throated hummingbirds are diurnal. They are active during the day. In cold conditions, particularly on cold nights, ruby-throated hummingbirds save energy by entering hypothermic torpor – a state similar to hibernation in which the body is allowed to cool down several degrees, and body functions slow down to conserve energy.

The ruby-throated hummingbird has top speed of 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour in straight flight and 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour in a dive. It has an average of 53 wing beats per second.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds eat insects and nectar from many flowering plants. They show a slight preference for red, orange, and bright pink tubular flowers as nectar sources. They can consume up to 50% of their weight in nectar each day.

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Ecologically, hummingbirds play an important role in pollination of the flowers of numerous species of shrubs and vines, some of which are specifically adapted to pollination by hummingbirds.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are solitary. Adults of this species typically only come into contact for the purpose of mating.

Males of this species are territorial, and communicate with each other primarily through vocalizations. If a neighboring male intrudes on a male’ territory, the resident male emits a single note, which is repeated at increasing volume. If the intruder does not leave the territory, the resident male will chase him, and if needed, jab him with his bill or strike with his feet.

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The ruby-throated hummingbird is migratory, spending most of the winter in Florida, southern Mexico and Central America. During migration, some birds embark on a nonstop 1,450-kilometer (900-mile) journey across the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean from Panama or Mexico to the eastern United States. The bird breeds throughout the eastern United States, and in southern Canada, particularly Ontario, in eastern and mixed deciduous and broadleaved forest.

The nest is usually constructed on a small, downward-sloping tree limb. Most nests are well camouflaged. Old nests may be occupied for several seasons, but are repaired annually.

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They typically breed between March through August. Females lay 1 to 3 white eggs about and produce one to two broods each summer. They brood the chicks over a period of 12 to 14 days, by which point they are feathered. When they are 18 to 22 days old, the young leave the nest and make their first flight.

Adult ruby-throated hummingbirds are vulnerable to predation by raptors. Blue jays predate nestlings. However, the most common predator of ruby-throated hummingbirds is probably house cats.

The Ruby-throated and Broad-tailed are similar in many ways. But they occupy separate ranges, Ruby-throats in the Eastern US and Broad-tails in the Western US.

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The ruby-throated hummingbird has the smallest number of feathers ever counted on any bird.

Due to their small size and brilliant plumage, ruby-throated hummingbirds were hunted for collection during the nineteenth century. Although the species was a great prize, the population never became threatened and the species remains common in its range.

Very rare forms of albino and white leucistic ruby-throat hummingbirds do exist.

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.

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