Hummingbirds: The Tiny Jewels from the Americas
Hummingbird Photo Galleries ... Hummingbird Species (Listing as well as by Location)
Useful / Interesting Links:
- White Hummingbirds (Albinos or Partial) - Images and Information
- Breeding / Nesting - Reproduction
- Finding a Hummingbird Nest or Chicks (on the ground, injured or orphaned)
- Finding Injured (Adult) Hummingbirds
- The Hummingbird's EXTREME Metabolism and Survival & Flight Adaptions - Amazing Facts
Feeding & Attracting Hummingbirds To Your Garden
Bookmarks / Links:
- Overview (scroll down)
- Where we find hummingbirds (Distribution / Range / Migration - Facts & Myths)
- Description / Similar Species
- Diet / Feeding
- Lifespan & Predation
- Sounds / Vocalizations
Hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds with over 340 species - 29 of them are on Birdlife International endangered list.
The predominantly nectarivorous hummingbirds are only found in the Americas (New World). They are found as far north as Alaska and as far south as Chile. An (introduced?) population has been reported as being common on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Old World ecological equivalents include the Australian honey-eaters and the African sunbirds. They have specialized bill shapes and foot types to help them retrieve nectar from flowers; and many of them have a colorful or iridescent plumage.
One of the rarest hummingbirds is the Marvelous Spatuletail which is only found in a small area in northern Peru.
Hummingbird Species by US State (listing and photos)
The hummingbird family is divided into two subfamilies:
- Trochilinae: all the colorful species, numbering nearly 300
- Phaethornithinae: includes the 6 genera and over 40 species of hermits, which have a mostly brownish plumage
Hummingbirds are dominant nectarivorous birds that are only found in the Americas (New World). They occur as far north as Alaska and as far south as Chile. One of the rarest hummingbirds is the Marvelous Spatuletail, which is only found in a small area in northern Peru. Rufous Hummingbird is the most widespread species in North America.
They are among the smallest of birds, and include the smallest living bird species - the Bee Hummingbird, which weighs less than a U.S. or Canadian penny, and is 5cm in size.
They have the highest metabolism of any animal on Earth, which is necessary to support the rapid beating of their wings. They must consume more than their weight in nectar daily to support their need to survive. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute.
They have just about the longest migration route of any bird (except for some much larger birds). Some hummingbirds travel 2,000 miles (3,200 km) during their migration, including an amazing 500 mile (800 km) non-stop flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
They are able to hover in mid-air by flapping their wings 12-80 times per second. They are known as hummingbirds because of the distinct humming sound they make when they are beating their wings. They are also the only bird species that can fly backwards.
For more information about Hummingbirds, please visit this web page: http://www.avianweb.com/hummingbirds.htm
The typically brilliantly colored hummingbird are found only in the Americas
Their range stretches from Alaska and Canada down south to the southernmost tip of the South American mainland (Tierra del Fuego). About seventeen hummingbird species occur in the United States; and the rest in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean islands.
Until recently, we assumed that they never occurred outside the Americas; however, in 2004, Dr. Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main identified two 30-million-year-old hummingbird fossils that were found in a clay pit at Wiesloch–Frauenweiler, south of Heidelberg, Germany, This finding, in addition to some Asian fossils, suggests, that this group may have originated in the Old World. (The "Old World" includes Africa, Asia and Europe).
Hummingbirds are amongst our most unique birds.
Hummingbirds are among the smallest of birds, and include the smallest living bird species - the Bee Hummingbird, which weighs less than a U.S. or Canadian penny.
Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any animal on Earth - with the exception of insects.
Hummingbirds have just about the longest migration route of any bird (except for some much larger birds). Some travel 2,000 miles (3,200 km) during their migration, including an amazing 500 mile (800 km) non-stop flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
Plus, hummingbirds are more maneuverable than helicopters, with flying abilities that any other bird can only dream of.
The "hummingbird's" name is derived from the characteristic hum made by their rapid wing beats. They are often simply referred to as "hummers."
The species were often named for their physical characteristics, such as Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird, Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbird and the Shining Sunbeam.
Others were named for their particular locations, like the Mangrove Hummingbird found only in mangrove swamps.
Other languages named them for either physical traits or feeding habits; for example in Portuguese, hummingbirds are known as Beija-Flor (translated: Flower Kisser); in Spanish, they are known as Chupaflor, Picaflor or Joyas Voladoras (translated: Flower-Sucker or Poker, or Flying Jewels); in the Caribbean, they are commonly referred to as "El Zunzun" (translated: ‘going fast’) - in reference to their quick movements.
A group of hummingbirds has several collective nouns, including a "bouquet", "glittering", " hover", "shimmer", and "tune" of hummingbirds.
Other Global Names:
German, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Swedish: Kolibri ... Spanish / Italian: colibrí, Chupaflor, Picaflor or Joyas Voladoras ... Portuguese: beija-flor ... French: oiseau-mouche ... Dutch: Kolibrie ... Russian: колибри ... Chinese: 蜂鸟, 蜂鳥 ... Japanese: ハチドリ ... Korean: 천지 ... Czech: Kolibřík ... Hebrew: יוק-הדבש ... Persian: مرغ مگس خوار
Where do we find hummingbirds? (Distribution / Range / Migration - Facts & Myths)
What do Hummingbirds Eat? (Diet / Feeding)
- Feeding Hummingbirds the Right Way - Recipes and Instructions
Hummingbird Lifespan & Predation
Hummingbirds have long lifespans for organisms with such rapid metabolisms.
The lifespan in the wild varies by hummingbird species, for most it is about 3 to 5 years. Larger species can live over a decade.
- The record of longest living hummingbird was held by a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird. She was banded as an adult in Colorado in 1976, then recaptured in the same location in 1987 - making her at least 12 years old.
- One female Black-chinned Hummingbird was at least 10 years and 1 month.
- One much larger Buff-bellied Hummingbird was recorded as 11 years and 2 months.
- The oldest known surviving Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a banded bird that was 6 years 11 months old.
- The oldest known Rufous Hummingbird is a banded bird that was 8 years 1 month old.
However, many hummingbirds don't make it through their first year. They are particularly vulnerable in the period between hatching and leaving the nest (fledging).
Various larger birds, snakes and mammals raid their nests for eggs and chicks.
Animals known to prey on adult hummingbirds, their eggs and young, include:
- birds (small hawks, owls, shrikes, roadrunners, orioles, tanagers, large flycatchers, grackles, herons, gulls)
- largemouth bass (fish) - which will catch small birds close to the water surface
- green frogs and bull frogs
- spiders and praying mantises.
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