What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

what do hummingbirds eat?
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What Do Hummingbirds Eat? Hummingbirds are classified under the order apodiformes, a name signifying they have tiny feet. They are often considered as unfooted birds. These birds get their name because when their wings move so fast, they produce a humming sound.

Hummingbirds mainly eat nectar from flowers. They further supplement this diet by feeding on a wide array of insects.

Table of Contents

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

Type of Hummingbird Diet
Koepcke’s Hermit Nectar and arthropods
Straight-billed Hermit Nectar and arthropods
Tawny-bellied Hermit Nectar and arthropods
Ruby-throated hummingbird Small insects and nectar
Bee Hummingbird Small insects and nectar
Anna’s Hummingbird Small insects and nectar

Hummingbirds Diet By Types

Hummingbirds are categorized in the family Trochilidae. They are further divided into 2 subfamilies Phaethornithinae and Trochilinae. Phaethornithinae have 34 known species while Trochilinae has 294 known species. The types of hummingbirds described in this section will be drawn from the 2 subfamilies identified earlier.

What Do Koepcke’s Hermits Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Apodiformes Trochilidae Phaethornis Phaethornis koepckeae

what do koepcke's hermits eat?Koepcke’s Hermit hummingbird primarily feeds on nectar like other hummingbirds. It also eats a vast range of arthropods.

This type of hummingbird was discovered very recently, in 1977 in Peru. Its habitat is mainly the lowlands and moist evergreen forests (montane).

What Do Straight-billed Hermits Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Apodiformes Trochilidae Phaethornis Phaethornis bourcieri

what do straight-billed hermits eat?Straight-billed Hermit forages flowers looking for nectar. It also consumes arthropods.

This type of hummingbird differs from other species in its subfamily because of its long and straight bill as suggested by its name. It inhabits shrublands, rainforests, and artificial lands.

What Do Tawny-bellied Hermits Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Apodiformes Trochilidae Phaethornis Phaethornis syrmatophorus

what do tawny-bellied hermits eat?Tawny-bellied Hermit forages the wet and humid forest undergrowth in search of arthropods, and nectar.

This hummingbird lives in forests especially the subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

What Do Ruby-throated hummingbirds Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Apodiformes Trochilidae Archilochus Archilochus colubris

what do ruby-throated hummingbirds eat?Ruby-throated Hummingbirds primarily feed on small insects and nectar from flowers.

These small birds are found in tropical, temperate and terrestrial regions. They mostly inhabit scrub forests, rainforests, marsh, riparian lands, agricultural, and suburban areas.

What Do Bee Hummingbirds Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Apodiformes Trochilidae Mellisuga Mellisuga helenae

what do bee hummingbirds eat?Bee Hummingbird Species mainly feeds on insects and nectar from flowers.

This hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird, notable for its colorful appearance. These birds inhabit regions of both low and high altitudes. They can be found in the swampy areas, coastal forests, humanmade gardens, and mountain valleys.

What Do Anna’s Hummingbirds Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Apodiformes Trochilidae Calypte Calypte anna

what do anna's hummingbirds eat?Anna’s Hummingbird explores their territories in search of their food, which mainly constitutes nectar and small insects.

This medium-sized hummingbird has a wide distribution in the tropical forests found in Mexico. These birds inhabit savannah, coastal scrubs, residential areas, yards, parks, and eucalyptus groves.

How Do Hummingbirds Hunt?

Hummingbirds use different strategies to hunt their prey. One technique these birds use is sally-hawking. In this method, the hummingbirds snatch flying insects from the sky.

The other technique these birds use is gleaning arthropods from water surfaces, leaves, and barks of trees. These birds may also pluck arthropods from flowers with nectar, spider webs, sap wells, and some soft fruits.

Overall, their vision comes in handy to help them with their hunting. After hunting, hummingbirds swallow their prey whole.

When Do Hummingbirds Eat?

when do hummingbirds eat?

Hummingbirds are diurnal, which implies they tend to be active during the day. These small birds will thus be seen foraging for food during the day. At night, hummingbirds sleep.

How Often Do Hummingbirds Eat?

how often hummingbirds eat?

Hummingbirds eat very often, and this is attributed to the fact that these organisms need to support their flycatching abilities.

The super sweet nectar hummingbirds eat made up of 25% sugar, and this is imperative to power their high metabolism, which is considered to be the highest when compared to other endothermic organisms. Regularly feeding on sweet nectar means they can support perching and their rapid heart rates.

During the harsh winter, food is scarce, and so hummingbirds tend to feed less often. They go into a state of torpor, an energy conservation phenomenon related to hibernation. Their heart rates drop significantly as well as their body temperatures. This phenomenon helps them reduce their activity and thus promotes their survival in the event of food scarcity during harsh weather.

Suggested Reading: Importances of Homeostasis

What Eats Hummingbirds?

What eats Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds have very few predators. Some of the known ones include snakes, some bat species, jays, pygmy-owls, toucans, and forest falcons.

Where Do Hummingbirds Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Hummingbirds have an instrumental role to play in the animal food chain. They are a source of food (protein) to organisms which feed on them. Hummingbirds also predate on smaller organisms like the arthropods and thus helps keep their population under check.

Through pollination, they promote flowering of plants, a role which indirectly helps sustain other animals. In general, hummingbirds help maintain the integrity of a healthy ecosystem.

Cite this article as: "What Do Hummingbirds Eat?," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, June 28, 2018, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-hummingbirds-eat.html/.

Key References

  • “Koepcke’s Hermit – Diet and Foraging | Neotropical Birds Online”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “Straight-billed Hermit – Introduction | Neotropical Birds Online”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “Tawny-bellied Hermit – Introduction | Neotropical Birds Online”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “ADW: Archilochus colubris: INFORMATION”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “Bee Hummingbird – Introduction | Neotropical Birds Online”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “Anna’s Hummingbird”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “Not All Sweetness and Light: The Real Diet of Hummingbirds | All About Birds”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Koepcke’s Hermit.jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Straight-billed Hermit (Phaethornis bourcieri).jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Tawny-bellied Hermit (Phaethornis syrmatophorus).jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1.jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed June 27, 2019. Link.
What Do Hummingbirds Eat?
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