What Is the Diet of a Hummingbird?

diet-hummingbird Credit: B Garrett/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Hummingbirds have a diet consisting mainly of tree sap, flower nectar, pollen and insects. Hummingbirds are extremely active and must eat food several times a day. These birds have a long tapered bill that allows for them to extract nectar from the middle of long tubular flowers.

Hummingbirds have a high breathing rate, heart rate and body temperature. These birds have a heart rate of 1,260 beats per minute. Hummingbirds are capable of flapping their wings at a staggering rate of 80 times per second and lick their food at a rate of about 13 licks per second. Hummingbirds do not use their feet for walking or jumping, but only for perching. Hummingbirds have a lifespan of about 4 years and grow to be between 1.75 and 8 inches in length. The heaviest hummingbirds weigh less than an ounce.

Hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere, with most living in tropical regions. Hummingbirds can be found stretching from Alaska to Chile. There have been over 300 species identified, but only 12 of these spend summers in North America and migrate to the tropics in winter. Hummingbirds are well-known for being territorial and have even been seen chasing away much larger birds such as hawks.