Hummingbirds are amazing, captivating and remarkable. Did you know that there are 350 species of Hummingbirds and they all live in the Western Hemisphere? Most live near the equator, but 15 species live in the United States. They happen to be the smallest warm-blooded creatures. Due to having a special flexible shoulder they can do a figure eight with their wings enabling them to fly backwards and to hover which no other bird can do. They can even fly upside down and backwards! They are very agile in the air making them unique among the avians. Adult hummingbirds lack down which could keep them warm. Hummers can live up to 12 years, but most live 5 to 8 years.
The primary food of the Hummingbird is flower nectar, but they also eat bugs for protein. They must eat half of their body weight in nectar, which means visiting about 1000 blooms per day. They have a very fast metabolism. Their heart rate can reach 600 beats per minute or 200 wing beats/second –that’s fast. You can observe them fighting in midair in another bird tries to trespass on their bloom. To conserve energy they will perch and fluff their coat to retain body heat and they then enter torpor (almost like hibernation) at night. Their body temperature can drop by more than half during torpor. Also their heart beat can drop to about 26 beats per minute. Sort of like a very good yogi!
A few hummingbirds only eat flowers that grow close to the ground so that they can hop from one flower to another rather than hovering which takes a lot of energy.
They have some cool names for other countries such as: in Portugal the word is beija flor or flower kisser or in Mexico chuparosa or rose sucker.