Fun Facts for Kids about Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are among the world’s most fascinating and beautiful birds. These tiny birds are known for their long bill and colorful feathers. They are found only in the Americas, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. In this article, we’ll share some amazing hummingbird facts for kids.

What are Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are pretty unique and cool. They are tiny birds. You will often miss them whizzing by if you are not paying close attention. Hummingbirds are also the only birds that can hover in mid air and fly backward. They are the tiniest birds with a mighty heart.

Hummingbird Species

There are over 300 species of hummingbirds found only in the Americas. Some of the most common species include the ruby-throated hummingbirds found in the eastern United States, the rufous hummingbird found in western North America, and the giant hummingbird found in South America.

The rufous hummingbird breeds in western North America and migrates to Mexico and Central America during the Winter months. Anna’s hummingbirds are another common species found in western North America. The broad-tailed hummingbird is a common species in the Rocky Mountains.

Hummingbird Characteristics 

Hummingbirds have a long, thin bill that helps them reach deep into flowers for nectar. Their tongues are even longer than their bills. They can extend up to twice the length of their bill.  Hummingbirds have a poor sense of smell and rely on their vision to locate flowers.

Hummingbirds come in a range of sizes. The giant hummingbird can grow up to 8 inches in length. The smallest hummingbird, the bee hummingbird, measures just 2.25 inches long. In general, hummingbirds are known for their tiny size. For the most part, a hummingbird’s weight is less than a nickel.

Hummingbirds have a unique wing structure that allows them to fly forwards, backward, up, down, and hover in mid-air. They can beat their wings up to 80 times per second. That’s fast!

Hummingbird’s wings can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Despite their small size, hummingbirds have relatively large brains and hearts. The heart rate of a hummingbird is incredibly fast. It can get up to 1,200 beats per minute. This is the fastest heart rate of any bird or mammal. 

Feeding Habits

Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of flowers and tiny insects, such as fruit flies and gnats. They also drink sugar water from hummingbird feeders. Hummingbirds have a very high metabolism and need to eat a lot of food to maintain their energy levels. They are particularly attracted to brightly colored flowers, such as red, pink, and orange, and tubular-shaped flowers that are easy to extract or take nectar from.

Hummingbirds have long bills and even longer tongues that they use to reach the nectar deep inside the flower. Thanks to their unique wings, they are able to hover in mid-air while feeding. In addition to nectar, hummingbirds also feed on small insects, such as fruit flies and gnats. They provide them with the protein and other nutrients they need to survive.

To attract hummingbirds to your yard, you can set up hummingbird feeders filled with a mixture of sugar water. The solution should be made with one part white granulated sugar to four parts water. It should not contain any food coloring or honey. That can harm the birds. Hummingbirds also require a source of clean water for drinking and bathing. So providing a shallow bird bath or fountain can help attract them to your yard.

It’s important to note that hummingbirds have a high metabolism and require a lot of food, especially during the breeding season when they are raising young. They typically eat up to half their body weight in food and drink daily. So keeping your feeders clean and filled with fresh nectar is essential for their health.

Breeding Season and Nesting

Hummingbirds breed during the Spring and Summer months. Female hummingbirds build tiny nests made of plant fibers, moss, and spider webs. The hummingbird nest is so small that they can fit in the palm of your hand.

During this breeding season, males perform elaborate courtship displays to attract females. These displays involve flying in a U-shape pattern, hovering in mid-air, and making loud chirping noises with their wings.

Once the female selects a mate, she will build a tiny nest. The female will lay one to three eggs, depending on the species. The eggs are about the size of a jelly bean. They are incubated for 14 to 23 days. Hummingbird eggs are the smallest eggs of all birds.

After the eggs hatch, the female will feed the chicks with a mixture of nectar and small insects. Hummingbird chicks grow quickly and can leave the nest in as little as three weeks. Once the chicks leave the nest, they will explore the world around them and learn how to survive on their own. 

Hummingbirds are solitary birds and do not form large flocks or colonies. Instead, they are very territorial and will aggressively defend their feeding and nesting areas from other birds.

Habitat Loss

Habitat loss is a major threat to hummingbirds. Deforestation, urbanization, and climate change all affect hummingbirds.

Deforestation is where large forests are being knocked down for the wood or resources within the forest. Urbanization is when developers come in and build apartments, houses, shopping complexes, etc. Climate change is when the weather warms up and affects the ecosystem. All three of the things mentioned threaten the survival of these amazing birds.

Fun Facts

Here are some interesting and fun facts about hummingbirds and what makes them so unique and fun! 

  • Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly upside down.
  • The tiniest hummingbird egg is about the size of a jelly bean.
  • They are the world’s smallest birds.
  • Some hummingbirds feed on tree sap instead of flower nectar.
  • Hummingbirds can consume up to twice their body weight in nectar every day.
  • Hummingbirds can enter a state of torpor. That means they can slow down their metabolism to conserve energy during cold weather.

Hummingbirds play an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating flowers and feeding on tiny insects. These beautiful birds are also a joy to watch and have captured the imagination of people for centuries.

With their amazing flight abilities and flight muscles, long tongues, and high metabolism, hummingbirds are some of the most amazing creatures in the animal kingdom. Let’s work together to protect these tiny birds and their habitats so that future generations can continue to enjoy their beauty.