Did you know that the hummingbirds can fly straight, up, down or even upside-down? There are approximately 10,000 bird species across the world. These beautiful creatures are native to the Americas that comprise the family Trochilidae and have different behaviors that help distinguish them from the other species.
1. Calliope hummingbird is the smallest bird species in the NA and is just three inches long.
2. The outstanding throat color is not due to the feather pigmentation but instead due to the shine in the arrangement of the feathers. Wear & tear, light level, viewing angle, and other parameters all affect how bright and colorful the throat may look.
3. These birds can’t jump or walk via their feet. They have smallest feet that are light and efficient for flying. The hummingbird uses their feet for cleaning and itching.
4. Bee hummingbird is the smallest hummingbird species across the world only found in Cuba. Females are 2.25 inches long while that of the smaller males is just 2.2 inches.
5. The non-breeding bee hummingbird males and females are white bluish-green upper plumage or pale grey. The primary difference between them is the tips of the tail feathers as the males are black. On the other hand, the females are white. Breeding makes them different because their chin, head, and throat turn a spectacular pink-red color.
6. The Male bee hummingbirds are territorial and will boldly chase other nectar-feeding animals including bees, birds, moths, etc.
7. The hummingbirds have near about 1,000 to 1,500 feathers (hardly any number of feathers of any bird species across the world). So the smaller size and fewer feathers also keep them light in weight for smooth flying.
8. The maximum forward flight pace is near about 30 miles per hour. These magnificent birds can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive and have a lot of adaptations for different flight.
9. The average ruby-throated hummingbird has tree grams weight. In comparison to nickel, it weighs 4.5 grams.
10. The hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs (about 1/2 inch long) of all birds. The eggs may be smaller than a jelly bean. But may show as much as 10% of the mother’s weight at the time the eggs get laid.
11. Near about 25 to 30 percent of the weight of hummingbird is in its pectoral muscles. They are the brood chest muscles mainly responsible for flying.
12. The wings of hummingbird beat between 50 to 200 flutters every second depending on the surrounding air conditions, flight direction, and the aim of their flight.
13. The hummingbird consumes near about half of its weight in sugar every day and will help pollinate 1500 flowers. The average bird feeds 5 to 8 times per hour. Besides nectar, they also eat a lot of tiny spiders and insects. They may also sip tree juice or sap from the broken fruits.
14. The rufous hummingbird has the longest migrations of any of the other hummingbird species. They fly more than 3,000 miles for their nesting grounds in Canada and Alaska to their winter habitat in Mexico.
15. The average heart rate of the hummingbird is more than 1200 beats per minute.
16. The hummingbird has no sense of smell but has very determined eyesight.
17. At rest, this hummingbird takes an average of 250 breathes every minute. Their breathing speed will enhance while flying.
18. The ruby-throated hummingbird flies about 500 miles continuously all over the Gulf of Mexico during the fall and spring migrations.
19. While feeding, hummingbirds can lick near about 10 to 15 times per second.
20. In spite of the small size, the bird is the most aggressive ones. They will daily attack crows, jays, and hawks that trespass their territory. Backyard birders usually have one ruling bird that protects all the feeders and chase the invaders away.
21. You will watch these native species not just in the outside of the Western Hemisphere except in few birdhouses or zoos. But you will not find them in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia or Antarctica.
22. The average lifespan of a wild hummingbird is near about 3 to 12 years depending on the habitat conditions, species, predators, and other parameters.
23. The peak migration time is from mid-July via August or early September, depending on the path and the exact species. Species that nest further north can usually start the migration earlier.
24. Hummingbirds do not suck the nectar via their long bills. They lick it with the forked and fringed tongues. The capillary action along the fringe let them get the nectar up to their throats.
25. Recognizing hummingbirds can be very tough since a lot of these species including Allen’s, Anna’s, Rufous, Black-chinned, Costa’s, broad-tailed calliope can reproduce together to create hybrid species.
26. Their bones are penetrable and in few cases hollow, so that the bird can be as lightweight as possible.
27. The long thin bills allow them to reach deep inside the flowers.
28. The hummingbirds have two foveae in their eyes that let them focus on the two locations at the same time.