Hummingbird General FAQs

Trochilidae Family

By Connie S. Soto


How did the Hummingbird get its name?


The Hummingbird got their name because of the unique humming sound they make with their wings during flight.


Where do Hummingbirds live?


Hummingbirds are resident only in the Americas; by definition the Americas specifically include the North, Central and South America.


How many species of Hummingbirds exist?


There is a little more than 325 Hummingbird species in the world.


How long does a Hummingbird live?


The life span of a Hummingbird in captivity is between 15 and 17 years. In the wild they do not typically live as long as in captivity.


Are home feeders helpful to the Hummingbird population and what about backyard gardens?


Some Hummingbirds were declining in the past but due to home feeders and more flowers planted in backyard gardens across the Americas it has actually helped the Hummingbird population.


Do Hummingbirds help to pollinate flowers?


Yes, Hummingbirds do help to spread pollen from flower to flower.


How fast does heart of a little Hummingbird beat?


A Hummingbird’s heart beat can reach a maximum of about 1200 beats per minute.


Hummingbirds seem to be very smart, is that true?


Yes, Hummingbirds are very smart; in fact a Hummingbird has the largest brain in the bird world in proportion to its body size.


Is it true that Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world?


Yes, the Cuban Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the Trochilidae family and is considered the smallest bird in the world. They are about 2 to 2 ˝ inches in length and they weigh a mere .06 ounces. They were named in accordance with their size which is literally similar to the size of a bee.


If the Cuban Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world do they also produce the smallest bird egg in the world?


Yes, that is true. The Cuban Bee Hummingbird lays the tiniest egg of all the birds in the world.


Do Hummingbirds need a perch to feed?


Providing a perch for Hummingbirds to eat is advantageous to the bird as it helps them to conserve valuable energy.


What is the largest Hummingbird in the world?


The largest Hummingbird in the world is a Patagona Gigas or more commonly called the Giant Hummingbird. It has a size of about 8 ˝ inches and typically uses a perch when feeding.


Do Hummingbirds spend most of their time searching for food?


No, I find it quite interesting that Hummingbirds spend more than half of their time, preening, singing and just plain hanging out. It is my belief the reason is that they watch to protect their territory once it is staked out. The energy used is more important for protecting the source than to hunt for new. This fact also accounts for the early warning call of the Hummingbird when a hawk arrives in the area. This early call typically comes before any other bird or birds realize the hawk has arrived.


Does the Hummingbird have any enemies?


Unfortunately they do have enemies; these can include crows, frogs, jays, lizards, mice, roadrunners, snakes, squirrels, and rats.


Is it true that a Hummingbird can fly upside down?


Yes, it is true; a Hummingbird is the only bird in the world that can fly upside down. The Hummingbird can hover and fly forward, backward, up, down and upside down.


Is it true that Hummingbirds are iridescent in color, are fearless in nature, and most are territorial?


Yes, absolutely, and they are also one of the most popular.