Hummingbird’s consume half of their weight in food daily.
With the exception of insects, hummingbirds while in flight have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute, a rate once measured in a Blue-throated Hummingbird. They also typically consume more than their own weight in nectar each day, and to do so they must visit hundreds of flowers daily. At any given moment, they are only hours away from starving.
Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of plants and are important pollinators, especially of deep-throated, tubular flowers. Like bees, they are able to assess the amount of sugar in the nectar they eat; they reject flower types that produce nectar which is less than 12% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is around 25%. Nectar is a poor source of nutrients, so hummingbirds meet their needs for protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. by preying on insects and spiders, especially when feeding young. Hummingbirds do not spend all day flying, as the energy costs of this would be prohibitive; the majority of their activity consists simply of sitting or perching. Hummingbirds feed in many small meals, consuming many small invertebrates and up to five times their own body weight in nectar each day. They spend an average of 10-15% of their time feeding and 75-80% sitting and digesting.
Myth and Culture about Hummingbirds: Wikipedia Article
- The Aztec god Huitzilopochtli is often depicted as a hummingbird. The Nahuatl word huitzil (hummingbird) is an onomatopoeic word derived from the sounds of the hummingbird's wing-beats and zooming flight.
- One of the Nazca Lines, displayed at right, depicts a hummingbird.
- The Ohlone tells the story of how Hummingbird brought fire to the world. See article at the National Parks Conservation Association's website for a recounting.
- Trinidad and Tobago is known as "The land of the hummingbird," and a hummingbird can be seen on that nation's coat of arms and 1-cent coin as well as its national airline, "Caribbean Airlines".