Last Updated on November 28, 2022 by Cristina
Do hummingbirds eat butterflies? Check out this article and find out if it is possible for birds and butterflies to coexist peacefully.
Hummingbirds are known as one of the most unique flying species that visit our gardens. Of the 350 currently known species, each of their lives exclusively in America and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Flower nectar and its exploiters provide an almost inexhaustible source of food for these pollinators (at least during the season while they are in a certain place), however, there are plenty of other helpful beasts that we love to welcome such as butterflies for example.
So, do hummingbirds eat butterflies? Let’s find out below.
Is There A War Zone Between Butterflies And Hummingbirds?
Can we start with an interesting and fun fact? Sometimes it can seem to people that hummingbirds spend too much time with butterflies, but did you know that your own eyes can deceive you? We know it can be hard to believe when you can literally see the proof with your own eyes, but there really are butterflies that look like hummingbirds.
This is precisely why misunderstandings often occur because when they see creatures that irresistibly resemble hummingbirds, people all over Europe brag that they have a hummingbird right in their backyard, which is actually very far from the truth.
Based on some research, it has been proven that hummingbirds compete with bees and hawks, and butterflies for flower nectar during their southward migration. It is about the fact that the intensity with which the hummingbird defends flowers from insects depends on the energy requirements of the competitor.
Accordingly, we can claim with 100% certainty that the larger the competitor (bees and large butterflies), the more vigorous and aggressive the defense is, while on the other hand, the less powerful the competitor, the lower the defense (small bees, flies, and butterflies).
It is known that hummers prefer to live in a habitat with a variety of flowers and shrubs, especially those with overlapping flowering seasons because they can provide year-round sources of nectar for these, shall we say, always-hungry creatures.
Notwithstanding, no matter how beautiful they look to us, it should be emphasized that hummingbirds are quite aggressive and territorial, but in spite of that, they can still live in the same garden with butterflies. In fact, some argue that these two flying creatures are simply a perfect match for each other.
Accordingly, you are unlikely to ever see a hummingbird attack a butterfly unless it feels extremely threatened, so they live in fairly peaceful coexistence, eating much of the same food and occasionally hanging around the feeder. This is primarily because both species prefer similar conditions, starting with those of light that help them maintain proper body temperature, and in addition, both also need areas with dense vegetation for night shelter and protection from inclement weather.
Do Hummingbirds Eat Butterflies?
If you have ever read one of our articles, you may have gotten an idea of how diverse a hummingbird’s diet is. They get most of the energy they need to survive the day from nectar, which is an excellent source of carbohydrates, and on the other hand, they get protein from various insects such as mosquitoes, wine flies, small bees, and aphids.
Speaking of which, butterflies start out as caterpillars, or larvae, which hatch from tiny eggs, then shed their skin several times before entering the pupa stage, and after a few weeks become beautiful adults that are simply euphoric to humans.
When you put two and two together, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that butterflies are insects just like ants, cockroaches, bees, and flies. Based on the hundreds of videos we have watched so far, as well as first-hand experiences, it seems to us that they love nothing more than grabbing and eating insects while they’re still flying in the air. They are tremendously wise and resourceful.
Given that hummers generally nibble on smaller flying insects, we can’t help but ask ourselves: “do hummingbirds eat butterflies”.
As we have already stated, if a hummingbird feels threatened by the presence of a butterfly, there is a high probability that he will attack, injure, and possibly kill the butterfly in self-defense, but the probability that the hummingbird will eat his companion flying buddy is very small.
However, it cannot be ruled out that this has never happened in the past, nor will it happen in the future. Basically, the thing is that butterflies are usually not to their taste.
Can Butterflies Eat Hummingbird Nectar?
Now that you know the correct answer to the question “do hummingbirds eat butterflies”, we can talk about some other things that might interest you. Therefore, if you are in favor, let’s go!
Much like hummingbirds, butterflies are attracted to red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple flowers. Another characteristic they have in common is their great love for nectar. They will always pick that perch on flowers that grow in clusters, especially if they have flat petals to rest on while they feed (two birds with one stone).
We must emphasize that we were very surprised when we saw with our own eyes that some species of butterflies visit food sources that you might not expect even in your wildest dreams, and one of them is hummingbird feeders. Granted, they won’t do this regularly, but they can get to the feeders, especially if some sugar water has been spilled on the outside.
To Conclude: Do Hummingbirds Eat Butterflies?
Hummingbirds are really aggressive and territorial creatures that cannot stand the proximity of members of their own species, let alone other species. However, they can live in peaceful coexistence with butterflies.
Accordingly, the answer to the question “do hummingbirds eat butterflies” is negative. However, it cannot be ruled out that this has never happened in the past, nor will it happen in the future, everything depends on the circumstances at the given moment.
Have you noticed them hanging out in your yard? Write your answers in the section below.
Take a look at this article as well: Can You Use Granulated Sugar For Hummingbirds? Instructions That Mean Life For These Birds