Skip to content


Who has never been called by the fantastic world of hummingbirds? It is not for less, because seeing them is fantastic and they are very beautiful to look at. Surely if you find out more about these birds and how many species there are, you will be speechless.

Types of hummingbird

What is a hummingbird?

The hummingbird is better known as troquilinos, and it is a subfamily of trochilidae. Generally, they are known as hummingbirds, but they are also called quindes, tucusitos, hummingbirds, chupamirtos or chuparrosas.

They are from the American continent. In the old days, they were hunted and killed in order to decorate the hats of women of high birth, which surely led to the extermination of several species.

They are the smallest birds in the world, measuring between 5 – 10 cm in the vast majority. However, there is what is known as giant hummingbird, which is 25 cm long. In addition, they stand out for their beautiful colors, one of the main causes for which they were hunted. Another of its fantastic features is its long peak. The sword-billed hummingbird is the specimen that has the longest beak within the species, with 10 cm in length.

How does a hummingbird live?

The truth is that the type of life that the hummingbird carries will depend a lot on the species to which it belongs. Most of them are usually sedentary birds, which do not like other hummingbirds to enter their territory.

There have been many cases of hummingbirds that has died in clashes over territories. They like to defend their place of food. The males are not very good parents, since they do not mate with a single female, but you can reach the ten in each tail season and it is the female who takes care of the eggs and the little ones once they are born .

With humans they can also be quite violent. Several cases of people who have been attacked by this type of bird have been documented, especially when they has seen their food area in danger.

Interestingly, some hummingbirds live in gardens of human beings, feeding on their plants or survive thanks to the feeders that people make them.

What is the life expectancy of a hummingbird?

The truth is that the life expectancy of a hummingbird is quite varied. The average is in the 5 years of life, but in some cases has been detected specimens that has reached 10 years of life.

Those who live in urbanized areas has a higher risk of dying young. Mainly, because they are one of the most common prey of stray or domestic cats that hunt them in parks and gardens.

Is it easy to differentiate the male from the female?

Differentiating the male from the female of a hummingbird can be difficult. In some specimens, there is hardly any difference between them, so you can only resort to DNA testing to know their sex.

However, as a general rule the female lacks some color that does have the male or has darker tones in their feathers. At other times, the female is usually a little larger than the male, around 5% more.

Could you have a hummingbird as a pet?

Generally, the hummingbird is a symbol related to freedom. In some countries, their possession as a pet is prohibited, but it is not uncommon to find individuals on the street who are young and have suffered some mishap.

In these cases it is good to help them to be strengthened. Hummingbirds need to live in a cage that is wide enough to have enough space to fly, with a bit of vegetation. They must have fresh water and a diet composed of ground insects to receive proteins.

They tend to stress very easily when they see that they are deprived of their freedom to fly wherever they want, which is why the cage has to be big. Once they has recovered, they must be released. Due to its easiness to stress, it is not a good idea to approach to bother them often. Nor to locate the cage in a place of too much activity. It is also not good thatit isoutside, because it can be very depressed knowing that it can not get out of the cage.

It is not necessary to keep this bird enclosed to have it as a pet. In fact, some people have hummingbirds in their gardens with whom they have a good relationship. It is true that hummingbirds feed mainly on the nectar they extract from flowers, but there are other ways to attract them.

The most common is to use a sprue with sugar water. To do this, mix four cups of water with one of sugar, let it cool and place it in a sprue that is hanging at a good height and has a bright color. From time to time it has to be washed, to prevent the hummingbird from being the victim of an infection or disease. Other people leave feeders with nectar, so they do not has to extract it from the plants.

Is it possible to train a hummingbird?

Surely you have seen some videos in which you see hummingbirds that pay attention to the orders that a human gives them. This answers your question: it is possible to train a hummingbird.

However, hummingbirds are a kind of bird that usually likes freedom and it is quite cruel to has them locked in a house inside a cage, there are few cases in which they have managed to tame one. They are not birds as patient as parrots or lovebirds. But if it get used to the person, they can be quite friendly.

What do Hummingbirds Eat?

The feeding of hummingbirds is mainly composed of the nectar they extract from the flowers. This they do to get calories that allows them to fly and wiggle their wings at that speed. This also helps pollination, as they distribute their pollen from flower to flower. In fact, it is thanks to this small task carried out by the hummingbird that many species of flowers can survive.

The feeding of this bird is rich in sugar, which allows the style of flight that supposes a great consumption of energy. They are especially attracted by red or orange flowers.

It is true that its main food is nectar, but not only sugar can be fed. They also require many proteins. That is why 20% of their diet is composed of small insects. They mainly hunt them on the leaves of trees or on their trunks, like ants or worms. It is possible that it also feeds on insects that it catches on the fly, such as wasps and bees, especially if they are trying to take away their source of food.

On rare occasions it will feed on the sap of the trees. However, in the event that a woodpecker has made a breach by which it comes out, it will take advantage of it to be able to feed on it.

how does hummingbirds reproduce?

The truth is that you could say that the hummingbird is a very selfish bird as far as reproduction is concerned. To awaken the interest of the female, perform a dance, and if the female is interested, proceed to the mating process.will proceed to the mating process.

The female, once fertilized, builds a nest, lined inside with cotton, lichen and moss, with a cup shape, in low shrubs. The eggs it usually put are two.

These eggs are hatched by the female for about 14 – 19 days. The mother feeds the young for three or four weeks. During this time, the female can leave and return to the nest up to 140 times a day in order to feed her young. The little ones do not leave the nest at once, but they can take up to two months to leave. After two months they are autonomous enough at one month of life, but in that time they return to the nest at night, because that is where they feel most secure, and they will not look for a new home until they reach two months.

How is its relationship with human beings?

The truth is that hummingbirds are one of the most popular birds in the world and many people love them. Formerly, they took talismans in the form of hummingbirds, as a symbol of strength. They also became symbols of energy and work in many cultures, as a representation that “a group capable of working as a team will be able to achieve great things”.

In time of war, the role of the hummingbird was another. For men it was a representation to protect their people. Since the beak was considered as something “very strong”, it was associated with weapons and bloodshed. The god of war and sun, Huitzilopochti, of the Ohlone culture has a hummingbird in its left hand. This god brought the gift of fire to Earth for human beings. With this, people believe that the hummingbird is a symbol of protection.

In other stories, such as Noah’s Ark, they indicate that it was a hummingbird and not a pigeon that found earth. This is explained in the Pima legend, even though the story of the pigeon is the most popular. In the world of animation has also been a bird that has been used to captivate children, in adaptations such as Cinderella and Pocahontas, reflecting a type of bird that was attracted by a beautiful heroine.

The main causes of mortality of a hummingbird

Unfortunately, the life expectancy of a hummingbird is not too high, especially if they live in freedom. One of the main causes of death that experts associate is the possibility that the hummingbird could suffer from diabetes.

The hummingbird covers 80% of its diet with the sugar it gets from the nectar of the flowers, which allows it to move its wings so fast and flutter in that peculiar way from one side to the other. But this is also very dangerous for them, and in most cases it causes a death at a very young age.

The battles between other hummingbirds is another of the main causes of mortality within this species. Being such territorial birds, the clashes between the birds is very typical, and this causes serious injuries, or in the worst case that dies during that battle

The cat is one of the main predators of these birds. They take advantage when they are perched in the trees to attack and kill them. Generally, many of the cats do not eat the hummingbirds, but watching them flutter and the movement they make captures their attention, so they try to hunt them.

Other birds are also its worst enemies. An example is found in the falcon, one of the birds with the best vision and incredible speed. If a hummingbird has become the target of any member of this species, it has very little chance of escaping once it has been detected.

In some regions there is what is known as Blue Jay, a type of bird that is known to feed on small species of hummingbirds. Snakes can also be one of their biggest enemies, especially because they climb trees and mix with the environment, silently gliding so that they can not detect their presence. Their diet is mainly composed of the eggs that the hummingbirds leave in the nests, but they also attack the birds.

The praying mantis is another natural predator of these small birds, mixing with the surroundings and taking advantage of when a hummingbird lands near it to attack it. Since it is a bird of very calculated movements, it is capable of attacking at a majestic speed, and it can take several days to feed completely on a hummingbird, which is why it is considered such a well-valued food.

The smaller species of hummingbirds are the perfect target for large spiders. They create fabrics in order for the hummingbird to get stuck, while others will attack them from out of nowhere and inject their poison to immobilize it and thus devour it. If it is true that a hummingbird can feed on bees and wasps, especially if they go to their food area, but it is not uncommon for these insects to kill a hummingbird and feed on it.

Humans are another major cause of the death of these birds. It is true that not many people kill these birds for pleasure, but are the cause of deforestation of the habitat of this species, as well as the destruction of their nests.

Where do hummingbirds usually live?

Hummingbirds usually settle in wooded areas, usually near areas rich in floral fauna, and live hidden in the crevices of rocks or within the trunks of trees.

Sometimes they tend to approach urbanized areas, where they interact with the floral fauna of the area, especially in gardens and public parks. This type of hummingbirds are those that has better adapted to the deforestation of their homes.

What to do if you have a hummingbird in the garden?

That you can not have a hummingbird as a pet does not mean you can not have it as a roommate. Many people who have houses with gardens enjoy the company of these birds. Or, to know that they live nearby, they build a source of food for them.

Now, if you see that you have one near your house, what should you do?

  • Never try to hunt it. Hummingbirds are very scary birds and do not like anything that they try to catch. It is better to leave it quiet.
  • You can build a drinker with sugar water or a little nectar. The bird will appreciate it.
  • Do not be afraid to approach your plants. On the contrary, it is ideal that the hummingbird go from one to another because this benefits them.
  • Do not approach it from the back or try to surprise it, this could cause it to be scared and attack you.
  • If you see that it is injured, take it inside the house and leave it in a place where it will not be disturbed, with a small nest box. Feed it with a little nectar and sugar water until it is recovered.
  • You can build a small landlady, but it is rare that hummingbirds want to live in it. However, there has been many cases.
  • If you have cats and these usually go out to the garden, keep them under surveillance, because the life of the hummingbird could be in danger.
  • Take advantage so that your children know and observe this bird, because it will help them to learn a lot about it.