The hummingbird is a bird that can be very curious, both for its small size and colorful plumage as for the speed with which it flaps its wings, which makes it one of the fastest in the animal kingdom. For this reason, many are the people who are interested in their life cycle, their striking mating ritual or their diet..
¿Have you noticed that they are almost always near the flowers?, ¿you have an idea of how and what hummingbirds feed on? ¿Do you know what to do if you come across one of these injured birds? In AnimalWised we explain what does a hummingbird eat and we give you some tips to assist injured specimens.You may also be interested in: What does a sparrow eat? Index
- Hummingbird curiosities
- What do hummingbirds eat?
- What flowers does the hummingbird feed on?
- What does the baby hummingbird eat?
- Hummingbird pollination
- How to feed an injured hummingbird at home?
The hummingbird belongs to the genus Trochiliadae, which contains more than 300 species that are distributed throughout the American continent. See our article on "Types of hummingbirds " to find out more about it..
Stands out for speed to which they are able to move their wings, despite the small size of their bodies, which do not usually exceed 20 cm. Because of this, it is common to hear a small hum when they are close, produced by the rapid flapping of their wings. Likewise, his mating ritual It is one of the most curious in the animal kingdom, since the male courts the females, performing countless pirouettes and figures in the air, showing their speed and colors. The females then decide which male they want to mate with and head to their territory to do so. Yes, ¡each male has its own territory and they do not reproduce outside it!
However, ¿know what do the hummingbird feed on and the important role it plays in ecosystems? ¿The hummingbird is omnivorous? ¡Coming up next, we tell you!
What do hummingbirds eat?
The hummingbird it is not omnivore, it is nectarivorous, this means that feeds on the nectar of flowers. Nectar is made up of large amounts of natural sugars, such as fructose and sucrose, water, and minerals. Thanks to this food, the hummingbird gets all the nutrients it needs to live.
The metabolism of this bird is very fast, which forces it to ingest amounts that, in ideal cases where food is easy to find, can triple its weight. Usually, feeds 7 to 8 times per hour, although he consumes what he is going to eat quickly, so 25-30 seconds per dose is usually enough.
This nectar diet can be supplemented occasionally with the pollen intake, Sap from some trees and insects such as mites, mosquitoes, fruit flies and spiders, especially when the hummingbird bumps into them while flying or when it finds them in the flowers. However, they do not form the basis of their diet and, therefore, they are not considered omnivorous animals..
What flowers does the hummingbird feed on?
Now that you know what the hummingbird eats, you will be interested to know how it gets hold of the nectar. These birds have been shown to have a preference for orange, red and pink flowers. They feed mainly on tubular and hanging flowers, so they cannot perch on them to eat.
And if what you wonder is how the hummingbird feeds, You should know that the mechanism that the hummingbird uses to extract the nectar is its long tongue. It brings its thin beak up to the crown of the flowers and there it sticks out its tongue, thin and with various grooves. It moves between 12 and 13 times per second to extract the nectar. Once this is done, the nectar is deposited in a kind of bag that the hummingbird has in its throat before passing into the intestine..
What does the baby hummingbird eat?
The hummingbird chicks hatch after 28 to 21 days of incubation. At birth they are blind, they are only 2 centimeters tall and the mother is in charge of caring for and feeding them. To do this, it must leave the nest about 100 times a day.
However, ¿does a baby hummingbird eat? Basically the same as adult birds. The mother collects the nectar and carries it to the beaks of its chicks. It also offers previously regurgitated insects.
The chicks continue with this feeding until they are one month old, at which time they will be able to leave the nest to find food for themselves..
¿How to feed a baby hummingbird at home?
If you have found an abandoned hummingbird nest or a lost baby hummingbird, the best thing you can do is go to a veterinarian who specializes in birds or to a wildlife recovery center to take care of their upbringing until they are reintegrated into nature.
Now, if for whatever reason it is not possible to request help, you can try to raise it at home, although we anticipate that baby hummingbirds demand a lot of attention and it is not always possible to get ahead without their parents. With that said, below we show the homemade nectar recipe What you should prepare to be able to feed the baby hummingbird at home:
- 1 small pot
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons of water
Boil the water with the sugar in the pot for up to 3-4 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then let it warm up. Once the preparation is warm, use a dropper or syringe to gradually introduce the nectar into the hummingbird's beak. If it is very, very small, you will have to be even more careful and make sure to introduce the food correctly so that it can swallow it well and not choke. We insist on going very carefully and slowly, as they are very fragile animals. For this reason, it is also essential that all the utensils you use are well cleaned..
You shall feed the baby hummingbird every 15-20 minutes, like her mother would. And if you notice that the food spills or bubbles around its beak, stop.
Feeding is key to the chick's survival, but it is not the only factor that must be taken into account, since it needs to receive heat and, as it grows, learn to fly in order to be able to enter nature again. For all these reasons we recommend seeking professional help whenever possible..
Hummingbirds are very important for tropical forests, because with their method of feeding contribute to the pollination of flowers. ¿What is pollination? It is the process by which an animal, in this case the hummingbird, moves pollen from one flower to another, allowing the union between male and female gametes and, therefore, the reproduction of plants..
Although hummingbirds do not pay as much attention to pollen, many times it adheres to their wings or beak when they approach the flowers and in this way they transfer it to other plants.
Knowing where the hummingbird lives and what it feeds on is important to understand its important role on the planet. Therefore, protecting them and keeping them free is a responsibility that we must respect..
How to feed an injured hummingbird at home?
¿Have you found a hummingbird with a broken wing and you don't know what to do? Apart from heal the wound properly, You should worry about his diet while he recovers, as he needs to eat many times a day to be strong. Also, do not forget to go to a veterinarian specialized in birds or a wildlife recovery center if you do not have the knowledge to assist the animal.
It is unlikely that at home you will have the necessary flowers for its food and, since it cannot fly, the hummingbird will be unable to feed on them, so it will be your job to prepare a meal for it. Here we explain what to do as first aid to avoid possible malnutrition.
For the recipe you will need to the same ingredients as for the preparation of the nectar previously explained:
- 1 small pot
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons of water
Add the water and sugar to the pot and stir very well. Then cook over low heat until the water reaches the boiling point and the sugar has completely dissolved, there should be no granules.
Let cool very well and place in a bird feeder. ¡It's ready! Use large bird feeders, as they are more attractive to the hummingbird. If the bird is unable to get close to the feeder, use a very small syringe to feed it directly into the beak. You should feed every 30 minutes and stop when you see the mixture spilling or bubbling around its beak.
These are simple ways to feed it before you go to a professional, specialized veterinary care is the best for the bird in these cases.