Last Updated on December 31, 2021 by Guillermina
Thinking about it closely, do you really think hummingbirds can walk? Hummingbirds are very graceful and glamorous to behold when in flight. They are however not renowned for their walking abilities.
A close look at the physical characteristics of hummingbirds will however show that they have feet. This may make you wonder whether hummingbirds can walk on the ground and for how long.
This is glamorous on whether hummingbirds can walk on the ground. Some of the facts about the feet of hummingbirds are also discussed.
In the situation where you discover that hummingbirds are not good on their feet, you may wonder what the feet are for. This write-up also gives an exposition on what the feet are used for.
Before we get into whether hummingbirds can walk or not, let’s look into whether they have feet. Without legs, the issue of walking cannot come into contemplation.
Do Hummingbirds Have Legs?
Just like most other species of birds, hummingbirds have feet. You will likely see them perching on twigs, feeders, small branches, etc, around your yard.
Hummingbirds are however a part of the birds order called “Apodiformes”. Apodiformes is Latin and means footless. Hummingbirds however have both legs and feet.
The reason why they fall under the class of birds referred to as Apodiformes is because walking is very difficult for them. On account of the fact that they have no knees, they can neither walk, nor hop.
To make up for this inability, these tiny birds have very powerful wings. They are considered as one of the most advanced flyers of all bird species. For this reason, they can adapt very well without needing to hop or walk.
So Yes! Hummingbirds do have legs. They just don’t use them for walking, hopping, or launching into fight like other birds do.
Can Hummingbirds Walk On The Ground?
Hummingbirds cannot walk for a distance on the ground. If this is the case, what then is their foot used for. They use their feet for perching, scratching, fighting, and in the construction process of a nest generally.
The reason why they are not able to walk despite their feet is because of the nature of the feet and their bodies. Their legs are very short, and their feet are disproportionate in comparison to the rest of their bodies.
Furthermore, hummingbirds have no knees and their feet are not positioned properly compared to their size. All of these make it very difficult and almost impossible for hummingbirds to walk a distance.
At best, hummingbirds tend to shuffle with their extremely short legs even though the legs aren’t so strong.
Also, when a hummingbird is on a tree branch or even on the ground, they don’t use their legs to launch into flight. Most other species rely on their legs when launching into flights. But this is not the case for hummingbirds. They rely instead on their wings.
Hummingbird Feet Facts
Now you know a hummingbird cannot walk a distance despite having feet. Let’s look into the anatomy of a hummingbird’s feet. A foot of the hummingbird basically has four toes. There are three at the front and one at the back.
The toe positioned at the back is referred to as a ‘hallux’. It bears striking similarities with your thumb. The shape of this toe allows the hummingbird to grip the branch it is perching on.
Hummingbirds can therefore hang upside down when perched on a tree. This is common at night. Do not be surprised when you hear something like this. Their toes and claws are quite long and allow for this.
When compared to the size of their bodies, a hummingbird’s legs are very short. Also, their leg-to-foot length ratio has been discovered not to be symmetrical. They also have no knees.
All of the above makes it really difficult if not impossible for the hummingbird to walk or hop. So for most of their movements, the hummingbird uses its wings. You may wonder what happens when they are no longer able to fly.
What Happens When A Hummingbird Stops Flying
For reasons ranging from illness to old age, the hummingbird may be unable to fly. Considering how much reliance they place on their wings for movement, you may wonder what happens.
Some people think hummingbirds die once they stop flying but this is not entirely true. If this were true, hummingbirds will not be able to rest on a branch or relax in their nest.
While it is truism that hummingbirds cannot walk, they can relax on a branch when they are not flying.
When you find a hummingbird on the ground, it is very likely that it is injured or bumped into an object accidentally. It is therefore stunned and resting to get better.
So essentially, when hummingbirds stop flying, they usually rest. Resting helps the bird recuperate from any injuries that may have been suffered in the day or any ailment. Also, resting reduces the metabolism of the bird to a degree that’s not harmful.
What Can You Do When You Notice A Hummingbird Cannot Fly?
There may be an occasion where you find a hummingbird on the ground, unable to fly. This may be as a result of an injury suffered or a broken wing. You must in such a situation try to get help for the bird immediately.
The best thing to do in such a situation is to call a wildlife rehabilitation center. While awaiting a response from the center, you may try to feed the injured hummingbird.
You can decide to provide such an injured hummingbird with a sugar-water solution. Where possible, you can also feed it with small insects like beetles, ants, and gnats. Don’t try to force the bird to eat.
Conclusion On Do Hummingbirds Walk
As you have seen from the above, hummingbirds have legs and feet, but they cannot walk. Their physical characteristics make it almost impossible for walking to happen.
They however have very strong flight abilities to compensate for their inability to walk. Seeing a hummingbird on the ground is a likely sign of such a bird needing help. Try and pay attention to the bird.
The question, Do you think Hummingbirds can walk should be an easy one to circumvent by you now.
Eunice is a passionate lover of hummingbirds and all things nature. She loves to observe and study the tiny birds, learning about their unique behaviors and unique features. She has written a number of articles about hummingbirds and their habitats, which have been featured in a variety of publications. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting hummingbird sanctuaries and going on bird–watching trips in her local area. She also volunteers with local wildlife rescue organizations, helping to rehabilitate injured birds. When she’s not outdoors, Eunice can be found writing articles, creating bird–inspired art, and playing the flute.