Why Do Hummingbirds Fly So Fast? (facts Explained)

Have you ever wondered why do hummingbirds fly so fast? Well, the half-ounce (14 g) Anna’s hummingbird can fly up to 98 Km/h.

Hummingbirds have to fly so fast because this helps them escape predators and find new sources of food that are available throughout the year. They can also stay in one spot by hovering their wings at high speed.

However, there’s a lot more to learn about hummingbirds and the science behind their fast flapping wings.

In this article, you will find answers to all of your questions so keep on reading.

How Fast Do Hummingbirds Fly?

Why Do Hummingbirds Fly So Fast

This question has no one answer because there are many types of Hummingbirds around the world. The smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird which weighs less than 2 grams.

As per Wikipedia, this small bird can fly up to 100 body lengths per second. That means it would travel at over 33 meters per second which is around 200 km/h or 124 mph.

Even the biggest species of hummingbird, the Giant Hummingbird, has a ten-centimeter wingspan and weighs less than 30 grams.

One thing is common among all the types of hummingbirds, they can fly in all directions including backward and upside down. When flying forward, they beat their wings roughly 50 times per second.

They can also hover using their small feet which are stiff and covered with fine bristles to help cling onto flowers while feeding on nectar.

Why Do Hummingbirds Fly So Fast?

There are around 365 types of Humming Birds in the world and they form their own family which is called Trochilidae. Almost all of them have similar body shapes with long thin beaks, thin necks, small bodies, and long pointed wings.

The heart rate of a hummingbird beats around 1,260 times per minute when it’s resting. However, their heart rate can go up to a staggering 2,500 beats per minute when flying which is 45 times the normal heartbeat of an adult human.

In order to beat their wings so fast without getting tired, hummingbirds have a unique respiratory system that moves air in and out their lungs up to 30 times per second.

The unique breathing system in the chest helps them exchange oxygen quickly so they can take off flying in no time.

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

There are around 16,000 species of flowers all over the world and almost every single one of them has different nectar that is made up of different types of sugars.

This is the main food source for hummingbirds because they can easily digest nectar which contains large amounts of simple sugars.

Hummingbirds get the energy to fly so fast from nectar and other foods such as insects, spiders, pollen, sap from plants, and tiny crustaceans called Daphnia that live in freshwater.

What Makes Hummingbirds Fly So Fast?

The shape and size of their wings help them create the huge amount of power required to beat their wings so fast without getting tired. Their long and tapered wings also help them control how fast they fly and in which direction.

Hummingbirds can beat their wings 50 times per second, which is one of the greatest speeds in the animal kingdom. However, if they flap their wings too fast while flying, it can cause an increase in altitude which might not be good for them.

Hummingbirds have to fly so fast because this helps them escape predators and find new sources of food that are available throughout the year. When they hover, their wings rotate forwards and backward at a high speed which helps them stay in one spot without moving.

Do Hummingbirds Die After Flying So Fast?

A cute tiny hummingbird sitting on a branch

No, they don’t…

Hummingbirds have to fly constantly because that’s how they get the energy to beat their wings so fast. Their heart rate doesn’t slow down even when they are sleeping or resting. They can also fly in any direction including backward and upside down.

Hummingbirds also have a unique respiratory system that helps them breathe in oxygen quickly so they can take off flying again in no time.

They are able to fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour or 100 kilometers per hour depending on the type of hummingbird.

Their small body weights combined with their thin long beaks also help them eat easily and quickly.

However, there are hummingbirds that live in cold climates and they have to fly so fast more than the ones who live in warm or moderate climates because they need to stay active year-round.

This is why more than 5 million of them migrate every year from Central America up North where it’s warmer and food is available throughout the year.

So, Are Hummingbirds Tired After Flying So Fast?

The answer to this question is yes because their tiny bodies don’t have enough food energy to keep up with all that activity. They can also lose half of their body weight while migrating but they make it up by eating as much as possible when they arrive at their destination.

However, hummingbirds will never stop flying because that’s the only way they can survive and even if their tiny bodies get tired after flying for a long time, they can regenerate lost energy straight away with the help of nectar and food they find along the way.

Hummingbirds beat their wings so fast not just to fly but also to stay warm during winter when the temperature drops. 

The more they flap their wings, the more heat they create around their bodies which helps them survive in cold weather conditions.

Do Hummingbirds Ever Stop Flying?

Hummingbirds are constantly moving because that’s the only way they can extract energy from their food, fly in any direction, and stay warm.

They also have to look for new sources of food all year long which is why more than 5 million birds migrate every single year.

However, some hummingbirds will stop flying when the temperature drops, and they can’t keep up with it.

When this happens, they become torpid and stay motionless for as long as the cold conditions last until there is enough warm weather to make them fly again.

Why Do Hummingbirds Fly High and Dive?

Hummingbirds fly high and dive when they are looking for new sources of food or escaping predators, particularly snakes.

They can also fly in this way when they need to save energy because the air pressure at higher altitudes is lower than it is closer to the ground.

More importantly, that’s the only way they can breathe easily because the air pressure is higher closer to the ground.

Also, they fly high because that helps them escape predators who are looking for them on the ground. They can also take off much faster when they are in high altitudes which gives them more time to escape any threat.

When hummingbirds dive, they go really fast towards their prey and gain speed when they get closer. They also make high-pitched sounds with their wings which helps them surprise their prey and catch them easily.

Suggested Read – Why don’t We Eat Roosters?

Do Hummingbirds Breathe When Flying?

hummingbird in action

Yes, they do…

Hummingbirds have to constantly flap their wings because that’s the only way for them to fly so fast, or stay in one place.

This means that they have to constantly take deep breaths so they don’t pass out.

When a hummingbird is breathing, you can actually see its tiny chest going up and down which shows us that it’s breathing. They also flap their wings faster when they exhale and inhale because that helps them fly better or stay in the same spot.

Hummingbirds take really quick shallow breaths because their lungs and breathing tubes are really small and that’s the only way they can extract energy from food and fly in any direction.

They also breathe faster when they fly high where the air pressure is lower than it is closer to the ground which helps them extract more oxygen from each breath.

Why Do Hummingbirds Make Sounds When Flying?

Hummingbirds make sounds while they fly and hover around flowers because that’s the only way they can communicate while flapping their wings really fast.  

This means that they have to inhale more air while making these high-pitched sounds which helps them stay in one place longer.

Do Hummingbirds Sleep While Flying?

Yes, hummingbirds sleep during the flight and don’t remember anything about it.  

While they are asleep, their heart rate drops to just once every minute which is around 40 beats per second. 

This makes them look dead to predators looking for food or other creatures trying to hurt them.

Hummingbirds also sleep during flight because it is the only way they can save energy when they are tired or there aren’t any flowers around that they can feed on.

Hummingbirds also fly in this state if their food supply is scarce which means that they have to save as much energy as possible until the food supply increases again.

Also Read – Why Do Hawks Circle?

Do Hummingbirds Have Any Predators?

Hummingbirds are really vulnerable to predators because they are small, weak, and slow when compared to other birds. 

They also have tiny sharp beaks which means that it’s hard for them to attack other creatures.  

Also, their wings are so small that they can’t fly at high speeds or reach high altitudes…

Hummingbirds also make sounds when flying which means that they can’t sneak up on their prey at all. They are really small and weak so other birds or predatory animals like cats, snakes, etc. can easily catch them in the air.

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

hummingbird drinking nectar from the flower

Most hummingbirds eat nectar from flowers, but also eat insects that they find on the ground or in trees. They also eat sugar water that people put out for them at their feeders because it contains sugar and other nutrients which help them live longer.

Final Words

Why do hummingbirds fly so fast? There are multiple reasons due to which hummingbirds fly so fast. The first thing is that they have to flap their wings really fast if they want to fly which means that they have to breathe faster as well.

The second thing is that hummingbirds can’t stay in one place for a long time unless there’s a flower nearby that they can feed on.

This is why they need to take shorter breaths when flying or hovering around flowers because it’s the only way they can stay in one place for a longer period of time.

The last reason is, they have to protect themselves from predators and also search for food.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and learned interesting facts about hummingbirds.

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