Hummingbird: Key Facts

Did you know that hummingbirds eat nectar from around 1,000 flowers every day? Did you know that they eat half their own weight in food each day, and that nectar is not their only food source? Turns out, there are a lot of interesting things to know about hummingbirds. Read on to learn more hummingbird key facts and information.

Quick Facts About Hummingbirds

Scientific FamilyTrochilidae
Physical DescriptionSmall birds of flight with long, narrow, often sharp beaks. Feathers are often shimmery and brightly colored
Number of SpeciesMore than 330
DistributionWidely distributed throughout North, Central, and South America
HabitatVaries widely. Many species live in tropical and subtropical forests, while others live in temperate and even alpine habitats
Migrational HabitsMany species of hummingbird migrate to warmer climates during the winter. Those already living in warm climates do not migrate
DietNectar from flowers, small insects. Will also drink sugar-water from backyard nectar feeders
Average Size3 to 5 inches long, 0.10 to 0.011 ounces depending on species
Average Lifespan3 to 5 years depending on species
Largest SpeciesGiant Hummingbird: 8 inches long, 0.70 ounces; Native to South America
Smallest SpeciesBee Hummingbird: 2 inches long, 0.06 to 0.07 ounces; Native to Cuba
Unique Characteristics– Hummingbirds’ hearts beat up to 1,260 times per minute
– They are the only birds that can rotate their wings. This allows them to hover and fly in all directions
– Females are usually larger than females, while males tend to be more brightly colored

What Are Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are small, colorful birds that feed on nectar and small insects such as gnats and mosquitoes. They are found throughout the Americas but are most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions.

There are over 330 species of hummingbird. All of them share the ability to rotate their wings, which gives them their defining characteristics of being able to hover and fly in any direction.

Hummingbirds have an extremely rapid flight pattern, as they are able to flap their wings anywhere between 12 and 80 times per second.

Do Hummingbirds Have Any Predators?

Because of their small size, hummingbirds face many predators in the wild. Cats are one of the biggest threats to hummingbirds, but the small birds may also be attacked by larger birds, snakes, lizards, fish, frogs, and even some insects such as the praying mantis.

Luckily, hummingbirds’ speed and aggression help them to escape from or fight off many predators.

How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

Hummingbird babies grow rapidly and reach maturity about a month after hatching. They spend their lives in search of food and territory, raising one or multiple broods each year, and defending their babies and territories from predators or other trespassing hummingbirds.

The average lifespan of a hummingbird is anywhere between 3 and 5 years. Many hummingbirds die of natural causes, but others are killed by predators or by fighting with each other.


Hummingbirds are unique creatures with some pretty amazing flying skills. Here is our guide on their sleeping habits.

Want to learn more cool facts about hummingbirds? Check out the video below:

Read also about other forest birds – here are our guides about owl, woodpecker, wren.

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