Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Cristina
Check out this article to find out how much do hummingbirds eat a day.
Hummingbirds are truly one of the most unique creatures on this entire planet. They are so small, yet so full of temperament. Watching them play in your backyard is more than just exciting, it is an opportunity that not everyone gets to experience. If you are one of those who have the honor of being visited by these birds every year, we have to admit that the rest of the world is jealous of you.
Considering all their energy, we can’t help but wonder: “how much do hummingbirds eat a day”. Stay here and find out everything you might be interested in about the diet of these beautiful flying creatures.
What Does Their Diet Consist Of?
You don’t have to be a seasoned birder to know that nectar isn’t the only thing that drives a hummingbird’s incredibly fast metabolism. It is true that nectar, whether it’s from wildflowers or the kind you prepare yourself in your kitchen, is the most abundant and popular food source for hummingbirds, but it is certainly not the only one. Given that it consists of a large proportion of sucrose, such solutions have the ability to provide the necessary energy for hummingbird metabolism, swift flight, as well as an energetic way of life.
In addition, their daily menu consists of various creepy-crawly, soft-bodied creatures including insects, larvae, insect eggs, and spiders. Such food sources are rich in fats, proteins, and salts that cannot otherwise be obtained from nectar and are one of the key nutritional components, especially for growing hatchlings.
We mustn’t forget to mention ash and sand. We assume that it might sound strange to you, but there are scientists who have seen with their own eyes (in various experiments) that these birds enjoy this kind of food source, albeit in small quantities. By the way, know that if hummingbirds ever see a piece of ripe fruit left on the ground, they will not ignore it. Moreover, they will be happy to enjoy drinking juice from berries, apples, pears, and oranges if they are peeled or cut.
Now that you know all about their favorite food sources, it’s time to find out the answer to the question: “how much do hummingbirds eat a day”. So let’s get to the point.
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How Much Does A Hummingbird Eat In A Day?
Did you know that these birds have such unique flight mechanisms that no other bird in the world can fly in a similar way? These birds can beat their wings up to an incredible 200 times per second. Have you ever heard of another flying creature being able to do something like this? – Probably not. Given that they can fly up to 60 miles per hour in a steep courtship dive, we can’t help but wonder what drives their bodies, that is, how much do hummingbirds eat a day to be able to withstand all challenges.
Well, we believe that you cannot even imagine how gluttonous they are. If they come across something they like, there is no way they won’t stop all their activities to enjoy it. Although extremely small, their appetite is huge.
We know it might be hard for you to imagine, so we will try to explain it another way. Their lifestyle is so fast-paced and energy-intensive that they must consume at least ½ their body weight and drink almost eight times their body weight in nectar just to get through a day.
An Example Of A Rufous Hummingbird
Real numbers always come in handy, don’t they? Watch the following example. The Rufous hummingbird has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 1,600 kcal/kg/day. Given that this bird weighs barely 3.5 g, or 0.0035 kg, to get the exact number, we have to multiply the number of calories by its weight in kg. After completing the calculation, the result tells us that our Rufous must eat 5.6 calories per day, but without flying, only in a state of rest.
To some, this may sound too little, but if a man of 12 stone (76 kg) had the same fast metabolism and lifestyle as this little bird, believe us, he would have to consume at least 121,600 calories a day, or in other words, about 875 cans Coca-Cola just to survive the daily challenges.
How Many Times A Day Does A Hummingbird Eat?
Now that you know the answer to the question: “how much do hummingbirds eat a day”, it’s time to tell you how often they do it.
If you have a feeder in your yard, you must have noticed that hummingbirds return to it often. These birds need to eat every 10 to 15 minutes to meet their needs. If they don’t eat something for more than 20 minutes, they risk death from starvation. Therefore, we believe that there is no better answer to this question than non-stop.
How Much Does A Hummingbird Drink In A Day?
Unlike other members of the flying kingdom, hummingbirds do not drink clean water. We won’t tell you that sometimes they don’t choose to drink fresh water from the birdbath, but this is a very to extremely rare case.
So, how can they not die of thirst? Well, it’s actually very simple! They consume nectar! Nectar is truly a divine and saving liquid. This drink has the ability to supply these beautiful creatures with almost all the necessary hydration and nutrients. As we already mentioned, they consume about half of their body weight in this sweet solution per day, more specifically 5-8 times in just one hour, so they don’t even feel any special need to drink water.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do Hummingbirds Eat A Day?
So let’s recap what we learned today. These incredible creatures must eat at least ½ their body weight and drink nearly eight times their body weight in nectar just to survive the day. This is the same as if an adult consumes 121,600 calories a day, or about 875 cans of Coca-Cola, just to survive the daily challenges.
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