how do humming birds eat

10 Facts About Hummingbirds – And other interesting tidbits

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 By: Lisa M. Genier – Adirondack Council Program Analyst.

Observing the hummingbirds (Trochilidae) fly around the flowers and my hummingbird feeders is one of my favorite things about spring and summer.

Since I was a little child and we started hanging a hummingbird feeder at our family’s Adirondacks cabin, I have always been in awe of these tiny creatures. We still set up a feeder outside our screened-in porch every summer and wait for the hummingbirds to come for their meal.

The distinct sound of the hummingbirds, which resembles a bumblebee who has had too much coffee, is always exciting to hear as they approach the feeder. They quickly move up and down, back and forth, eating and pausing to rest between bites of their meal. I particularly enjoy it when they perch on the feeder with their little feet and sip the sweet water and sugar mixture that sustains them for a long time, seemingly relaxed.

Does a hummingbird have a tongue?

The tongue of a hummingbird can extend twice as long as its beak. When they open their beaks and extend their tongues, tiny, hair-like barbs known as lamellae, which line their forked tongues, extend outward. Their long tongue coils up inside their head and wraps around their skull as they put it back into their beak. The average hummingbird’s beak can range from 15mm-21mm (. 59in-. 82 inches) long, allowing its tongue to extend up to 1. 6 inches long! [ credit: Bob Lewis, www. wingbeats. org].

how do humming birds eat

How much does a hummingbird drink per day?

A hummingbird can feed five to eight times an hour and drink about half of its body weight in sugar water each day.

how do humming birds eat


How does a hummingbird drink nectar?

A hummingbird’s tongue can stick out as far as its bill is long. The bird dips its long, forked tongue lined with hair-like extensions called lamellae into a nectar-rich flower. The tongue flicks in and out of the bill, up to 12 times a second.

Do hummingbirds have hollow tongues?

In a few studies of lab-reared hummers, scientists noted that the birds sometimes used capillary action—the tendency of a liquid to be pulled into a narrow space, even upward against gravity—to draw nectar into the long hollow tips of their cylindrical tongues.

How does a hummingbird’s beak work?

The hummingbird has considerable control of its bill and can open just the tip. The bill protects a long tongue which is forked with tiny hairs on the tip that is used by the hummingbird to lap up nectar; the hummingbird DOES NOT suck up liquid using its beak as a straw..

Do hummingbirds eat or just drink?

They Eat A lot Hummingbirds have a very high metabolism and must eat all day long just to survive. They consume about half their body weight in bugs and nectar, feeding every 10-15 minutes and visiting 1,000-2,000 flowers throughout the day.