Skip to Content


Hummingbirds are small, colorful birds with iridescent feathers.  Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise.

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.  They have a specialized long and tapered bill that is used to obtain nectar from the center of long, tubular flowers. 

The hummingbird’s feet are used for perching only, and are not used for hopping or walking.

Black-throated Mango hummingbird hovering in the air.

Length 1.75-8 inches
Weight .08 -.7 ounces
Heart rate 1,260 beats per minute

Lifespan 4 years


Flower nectar, tree sap, insects and pollen.
The hummingbird’s fast breathing rate, fast heartbeat and high body temperature require that they eat often.  They also require an enormous amount of food each day. Hummingbirds also have a long tongue which they use to lick their food at a rate of 13 licks per second.


It is difficult to estimate population numbers since there are many different species spanning a large geographic area.


Hummingbirds are found only in the Western Hemisphere, from southeastern Alaska to southern Chile, although most live in the tropics.  There are 320 species of hummingbirds, 12 of which summer in North America and winter in tropical areas.


Like other birds, hummingbirds communicate via visual displays.  Hummingbirds are very territorial and have been observed chasing each other and even larger birds such as hawks away from their territories.

Gestation 13-22 days
Clutch Size Between 1-3 eggs.
The young start to fly in 18 to 30 days.