Hummingbird Fun Facts

Hummingbirds are mainly tropical.  There are 338 species of hummingbirds in the world, a majority of which are found in South America.  In North America we have 24 different species, 17 of these are found in Arizona.

The hummingbirds that can be found in Arizona are:

Allen’s, Anna’s, Berylline, Black Chinned, Blue-Throated, Broad-Billed, Broad-Tailed, Bumblebee, Calliope, Cinnamon, Costa’s, Lucifer, Magnificent, Plain-capped Starthroat, Rufous, Violet-Crowned, White-Eared

The smallest hummingbird is the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba.  It is 2 ¼ inches long and weighs 2 grams.  The largest hummingbird is the Patagonia Giga in the Andes Mountains of South America.  It is 8 ½ inches long and weighs about 30 grams.

The males are the more brightly colored than the females.  Hummingbird feathers are mostly black, brown, white and reddish brown.  The reflection of light off their unique feathers gives an iridescence and brilliance to the hummingbirds color.

Hummingbirds have almost 1,000 feathers on their body.

Hummingbirds do not have downy feathers to help keep then warm on cold days and nights.

To conserve energy on cold nights or days with bad weather hummingbirds may go into a state of torpor.  They drop their heart rate and slow their breathing sometimes appearing to be dead.  This allows the bird to survive these conditions but it also makes them vulnerable to predators or people who may discover them.  A torpor can last from 8 to 14 hours and they come out of it very slowly.  Hummingbird cannot start flying until their bodies have reached a temperature of at least 86 degrees.

Hummingbirds make their nests from spider webs, moss, lichens, feathers, cat and dog fur, and other downy fibers.

The female hummingbird builds the nest.  She will build one nest on top of the old nest year after year if possible.  She also incubates the eggs and raises the young without the help of the male.

Hummingbirds’ eggs are half the size of a regular sized jelly bean, or the size of a “Jelly Belly” jelly bean. Hummingbirds’ usually lay 2 eggs in each nest.  The nest stretches to accommodate the babies as they grow.

The babies leave the nest 3 to 4 weeks after being hatched, and fly immediately upon leaving the nest.

A hummingbird’s heart is 2.4% of the birds body weight and it beats 1,260 times per minute.

Hummingbirds consume half of their weight in sugar in the nectar each day.  If a man that weighed 160lbs had the metabolism of a hummingbird he would have to eat 80lbs in hamburgers (That would be 320 quarter-pounder hamburgers) each day.

A hummingbird can lick nectar at a rate of 12 licks per second.

Hummingbirds also eat insects on plants or they can catch them in mid air.  They like to steal them from spider webs.  Hummingbirds also help pollinate plants while drinking their nectar.

Hummingbirds can fly forwards, backwards, upside down (briefly by doing a summersault), and they can hover in the air.

Hummingbirds normally flap their wings 78 times per second.  A male can flap his wings up to 200 times per second during mating season to attract a female.  Hummingbirds can fly as fast as 45 miles per hour.

Rufus hummingbirds have the longest migration, from Alaska to Mexico, about 3,000 miles.

Ruby-Throated hummingbirds have the longest nonstop flight.  They travel 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico.

Hummingbirds can live up to 12 years, but most only live 3 to 5 years.

In Arizona the best places to see hummingbirds is mainly in southeastern Arizona.  You can also see Hummingbirds at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson in their Hummingbird house.

FYI Europe does not have Hummingbirds at all!