Some Interesting Facts about Hummingbirds
Hi there! My name is Irynka and I’m a great lover of animals. We have lots of pets at home. I got interested in hummingbirds, fascinating little birds with their long beaks and fast-moving wings. I’ve found some interesting facts about them. Would you like to know?
In total, there are more than 350 species of these amazing birds in the world. The name, hummingbird, comes from the humming noise their wings make as they beat so fast. Many hummingbirds have brightly colored feathers. Often the males are more colorful than the females.
They are the smallest birds in the world. Adults of some species of hummingbirds weigh about 2 grams with a body length of about 7 centimeters. The largest hummingbirds, giant hummingbirds, are 18-20 centimeters in length and weigh up to 20 grams.
In the wild, they live only in South and North America.
The hummingbird’s heart in relation to the body is the largest among all living creatures on Earth. It takes up to a third of the volume of their tiny body. A hummingbird’s heart beats at breakneck speed, from 500 beats per minute at rest to 1,200 in flight. During its life, the heart of this bird contracts 4-4.5 billion times.
These birds never form a “marriage” for a long time, often changing partners.
The average number of eggs laid by a female hummingbird is only two. These eggs have been found in nests smaller than a half dollar and compare in size to a coffee bean.
Giant hummingbirds live in the mountains, at an altitude of up to 5 kilometers above sea level.
Like bees, hummingbirds pollinate many types of plants, feeding on flower nectar, a sweet liquid made by flowers. The bird hovers in front of the flower and reaches inside with its long, curved bill. They drink the nectar by moving their tongue in and out about 13 times per second. They can consume up to double their body weight in a day. Grains of pollen often stick to hummingbirds while they are feeding. They carry the pollen from flower to flower. This helps the plant to reproduce.
Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but they do have good color vision.
A hummingbird has a forked tongue, like a reptile.
You can see the image of a hummingbird on the coat of arms of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad is sometimes called the “Land of the Hummingbird” because 18 different species of hummingbird have been found on the island.
Hummingbirds have long wings and muscular bodies. They can fly forward, sideways, straight up or down. Among all the birds in the world, only hummingbirds can fly backwards. They can’t walk or hop.
Because they need to conserve energy hummingbirds do not spend all day flying, they spend the majority of their time perched digesting their food.
To conserve energy overnight a hummingbird enters a hibernation-like sleep state called torpor.
Hummingbirds live on average 3 to 5 years. But have been known to live as long as 12 years.
Most hummingbirds of the United States and Canada migrate over 3000 km south in fall to spend winter in Mexico or Central America. Some South American species also move north to these areas during the southern winter.
Before migrating, the hummingbird will store up a layer of fat equal to half its body weight in order to slowly use up this energy source while flying.