Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Cristina
Do hummingbirds play? Check out this article and learn that there is another type of behavior besides aggressive and territorial.
Just like people, birds have their own temper. Honestly, you don’t need to be an experienced birder to see what we are talking about, just spend a few minutes watching the feeder and things will soon become crystal clear. Hummingbirds, although the world’s smallest birds often have the biggest attitudes, and what is most interesting, watching them show off their temperament can be real fun entertainment.
We know they spend a lot of their time fighting and chasing each other around the yard, but do hummingbirds play? Keep reading this article to find out if there is any other form of behavior in these birds besides the classic, aggressive and territorial ones we are used to.
Basics Of The Social Life Of The World’s Smallest Birds
Even when you see with your own eyes a group of hummingbirds sharing a feeder, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are friends and that they are happy because they are eating in such conditions.
As for hummingbird behavior traits, in almost 100% of the cases, tiny hummers are solitary creatures that don’t like to do anything in a group, neither when it comes to migrating thousands of miles away nor eating. They are simply happiest when they do everything individually, with themselves, and for themselves.
When you consider that they are extremely territorial birds, which most of you will probably find funny to hear over and over again, given how delicate and tiny they are, they usually live divided into territories that they have claimed for themselves.
Based on some research, it has been proven that males occupy about a quarter of a hectare and females will stay near the nest, so you can always expect that there will be intolerance between them, especially between two males fighting for dominance.
Males, on the other hand, will almost always provide some sort of protection to females and will drive other birds and hummingbirds away from the nest, and females will drive away their males because their bright colors always attract enemies. Kind of a vicious circle, isn’t it?
If you notice a large number of hummingbirds congregating around your feeder, we advise you to add a few more feeders so that the dominant male doesn’t feel threatened. That way you can help avoid potential fights between them.
They are quite belligerent, but are there any exceptions to their behavior ever? Do hummingbirds play? Find out below.
Do Hummingbirds Play?
The chasing behavior of these jewel-like birds is mostly described and interpreted by bird lovers and ornithologists as dance courtship or territorial aggression. It’s no secret that many people, when they witness something like this for the first time, believe they are playing and having fun, just like younger siblings do. Having said that, it all depends on the situation, maybe they are fighting to the death for a certain territory or just showing off their skills to the local female they are attacking.
However, do hummingbirds play? We probably scared you a little when we described their dark side, so it’s finally time to move on to some lighter topics. The answer to the earlier question is very positive.
REZIPO Hummingbird Feeder with Perch – Hand Blown Glass – Blue
If you have ever thought you have witnessed hummingbirds playing, we have to tell you that you were right. Although it is rarely expected of them, these birds really enjoy spending time playing, although not often and not without reason.
The Reasons For The Playful Chase
The most common reason hummingbirds choose to play instead of fighting is to flirt. These birds have a very interesting courtship and mating process that almost looks like they are fighting, but it is much more than that.
Males have interesting body movements and paternal flights that send signals to females that they are ready to mate. They try to look much bigger and balder than they usually are. If he manages to attract the attention of a female, the male will always show off by flying outstretched with his tail feathers in the wind, showing off his strong and muscular body.
The mating rituals of these unique flying creatures are an extraordinary experience to observe. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see hummingbirds playing to seduce a female in real life, we recommend that you jump right in and watch a video on YouTube. You don’t know what you’re missing, but trust us, you are in for a delightful show!
Now that you know the answer to the question “do hummingbirds play”, let us teach you how to tell the difference between play and fight.
Are My Birds Fighting Or Playing?
You have probably seen two or more hummingbirds chasing each other around your yard at some point, and wondered what the heck is going on?! Luckily, you have come to the right place because below we will explain how to know what you are witnessing.
If you ever notice hummingbirds flying together, it doesn’t necessarily mean bloodshed is about to happen. Honestly, it is very easy to distinguish friendly “cat and mouse” play from aggressive territorial behavior. Every game is the same, is all about being playful, and aggression on the other side is full of punches, bites, fights, screaming, and maybe even blood.
If you aren’t sure what is going on, just listen, if you hear squawking or distinctive screaming from a bird, don’t doubt it, you are definitely witnessing a battle of epic proportions. It would be better if you move back so as not to get between the two rivals because there is a high probability that they will injure you as well.
To Wrap Up: Do Hummingbirds Play?
Hummingbirds are amazing to watch at your feeder, and they can definitely get along and play, but only if they want to. They are quite stubborn and eager to fight, but good friends when someone is in danger.
Do you know how to distinguish hummingbird behavior traits? Tell us more in the comment section below!
Related: Are Female Hummingbirds Territorial? Here’s How They Compare To Males