What do hummingbirds eat?

What-do-hummingbirds-eat

Hummingbirds are known for their feeding habit of drinking nectar because these birds just love sugar!  However, they don’t consume nectar only. In fact, they also feed on protein and mineral sources to complete their diet.

These birds are also known gleaning, a process of picking different insects off trees.  They’re also skilled fliers, enabling them to catch small bugs and fruit flies in midair. This process, on the other hand, is called hawking.

One of their known feeding habits is eating all day long.  Hummingbirds are known for making food trips all day, so they’re always moving and needing energy. Did you know that they eat once every 10-15 minutes? So per day, they need to feed to thousands of flowers about 2000 of them. For a better idea if ever you want to attract them to your yard, why not use the best hummingbird feeder?

In the following, let us discuss what these birds eat, including nectar, for a better idea if ever you want to attract them to your yard.


Foods that hummingbirds eat

Foods-that-hummingbirds-eat

Nectar

Nectar is the main food for hummingbirds. It is a sugar-rich food in flowers that they drink up using their tongue. [Did you know that they drink about half their body weight per day?]

Nectar is sugary water, which is made of 80% water and 20% sucrose. It is a favorite among hummingbirds.

They need nectar because they’re active and move around a lot most of the time.  Their bodies use so much energy!

For example, hummingbirds stick their tongues 13 times per second and can flap their wing up to 70X per second.

So without even saying, these hummingbirds rely mainly on nectar to survive. But feeding hummingbirds does not end on nectar alone. They do eat other types of food to survive.

If you want to attract these birds, you should plant a hummingbird garden. Know how to plant those flowers from which they can get their supply of nectar.

Once you have planted your garden with native flowers, you don’t have to clean your feeders frequently while you can expect these birds to visit your garden all year long.


Tree sap

In addition to nectar, hummingbirds also love tree saps, which are also sugary in nature. At certain times of the year, some species of these birds feed on a tree sap.

They do follow some woodpecker species, specifically the sapsuckers, which drill holes into large trees.

With this action, the trees release their sap in which the hummingbirds feed on instead of nectar.   Yes, the sapsuckers do the job for them. These woodpeckers open them an opportunity to drink from the well in the form of a tree sap.


Insects

Hummingbirds also do love insects in addition to nectar, which supplies them with the energy needed for all day activities.  They also need their protein and other sources of nutrition to survive.

These birds feed on many types of insects, especially small bugs that are a part of their diet. If you would notice, these beauties love to chase down or pick small insects off a plant. However, take note that every species does consume different bug types, too.

For example, the ruby-throated type enjoys catching insects in middle air, and a few of their targets include the fruit flies and mosquitoes. In addition, they do consume aphids and caterpillars that they pick directly off leaves.

On the other hand, the calliope hummingbird also hunts and feed on insects through hawking.  It sits on a perch and waits for a prey to fly by and then out to catch it in midair.

If you want to watch them eat insects, you don’t have to wait for hours to do so.   One solution is to attract these birds into your backyard, have a rotting banana from which the fruit flies will feed, and see these little lovelies feed on these flies. Make sure that you do find a quiet spot in your yard to ensure that you can watch the show.


Fruit juice

Certain types of hummingbirds like the Anna’s hummingbirds are attracted to it in particular. They find persimmon’s juice very appetizing.  Other fruit juices to attract hummingbirds include those of prickly pears, pears and oranges.

There you have some foods that hummingbirds eat. So if you want to attract them into your garden to beautify your landscape or simply to do bird watching, have these foods ready! Plant flowers and trees and use the right feeders to feed and supply them with water.

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