Hummingbirds

With more than 330 species known in the Americas, hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds after flycatchers. Hummingbirds represent one of nature’s most interesting paradoxes — they are the tiniest of birds, yet they qualify as some of the toughest and most energetic creatures on the planet. Hummingbird fossils found in Germany are said to be more than 30 million years old.

  • Tiny Hummingbird feeding on Zinnia flower

    Tiny Hummingbird feeding on Zinnia flower

  • Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)

    Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)

  • Hummingbirds, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

    Hummingbirds, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

  • Hummingbird resting on a branch in Costa Rica

    Hummingbird resting on a branch in Costa Rica

  • Hummingbird 1 (FiFiFaves-Res)
  • Gilded Hummingbird, (Hylocharis chrysura)

    Gilded Hummingbird, (Hylocharis chrysura)

  • Depositphotos_9470970_s
  • Depositphotos_6921137_s (FiFiFaves-Res)
  • Anna's hummingbird feeding on pride of madeira flower.

    Anna’s hummingbird feeding on pride of madeira flower.

Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world, colorful with iridescent feathers like on a soap bubble or prism. They can flash their bright colors, or hide them if necessary. Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise;  each species creates a different humming sound, depending on the speed of its wing beats. Hummingbirds can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, and even upside down. They are also able to hover by flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern.

Hummingbirds do not drink though their beaks like a straw. They lap up nectar with their tongues. Thy are very smart and they can remember every flower they have been to, and how long it will take a flower to refill. A hummingbird will visit an average of 1,000 flowers per day for nectar. They also eat small soft bugs for protein.

A hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1,260 times per minute. A hummingbird baby is generally smaller than a penny and can live for more than 10 years. Hummingbirds are found in deserts, mountains, and plains, but most live in tropical rain forests.   A hummingbird can fly an average of 25-30 miles per hour. Some hummingbirds will travel over two-thousand (2,000) miles twice a year during migration times.

Hummingbirds are found as far north as Alaska as far south as the Amazon. As flowers bloom earlier because of warming temperatures, the impact on hummingbirds which rely on nectar could be severe.