Surrey, British Columbia

Ruby-throated HummingbirdFun Facts About Hummingbirds

Find out more about the ups, downs and sideways of the world's smallest bird.

 

  • Hummingbirds are only found in North, Central and South America.
  • There are over 325 species of hummingbirds, making them the second largest bird family in the world, second only to flycatchers.
  • Hummingbirds weigh 1/10th of an ounce; about the weight of a penny.
  • Hummingbirds’ brains are about the size of a BB.
  • Hummingbirds’ hearts are larger proportionally to their body than any other bird or mammal.
  • Hummingbirds have such underdeveloped legs that they are unable to walk well.
  • Hummingbirds' nests are about the size of a golf ball; around 1 ½ inches in diameter.
  • Hummingbirds learn to associate flower colors, like red, with food. They do not have an innate preference for red.
  • Hummingbirds can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day (most birds only eat ¼ - ½ their body weight).
  • Hummingbirds can extend their tongue approximately a distance equal to the length of their bill.
  • While lapping up nectar, Hummingbirds can move their tongues in and out of their bill at a rate of up to 12 times a second.
  • Female Hummingbirds’ tongues are longer than the males.
  • Hummingbirds can fly up to 60 miles per hour, but typically fly at 30-45 miles per hour.
  • Hummingbirds can hover and are the only birds able to fly backwards and upside down.
  • Their wings beat 20-80 times per second.
  • During the night, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can enter into a state of torpor to save energy. Similar to a type of short-term hibernation, torpor reduces their metabolic activity and drops their heart rate from 1,200 beats per minute to 50 beats per minute.