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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird image
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird


Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Baby
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Baby

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Habits

Despite its tiny size, the ruby-throated hummingbird migrates more than 1,850 miles from the eastern United States, crossing 600 miles of the Gulf of Mexico, to spend the winter in Central America.
The ruby-throat's return to its breeding grounds is timed according to location. The birds that live in the southern part of the United States begin their return migration as early as February. The birds that live further north time their return to coincide with the flowering of their food plants.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Communication

Although hummingbirds don't usually sing, they chirp and chatter throughout the day, warning other hummers away from their territory. While the males are aggressive in defending their food sources, female hummingbirds are also known to defend their territories against other hummers. The ruby-throated hummingbird is able to produce a loud "chirp" with its tail feathers at the bottom of a display dive.
Hummingbirds are known for their visual displays, darting up and down, back and forth, in aerobatic maneuvers designed to either entice females or assert dominance over territory. Courting rituals may look like an aggressive display of U-shaped loops between male and female hummingbirds. At other times, a male defends his territory against all trespassers by dive-bombing humans, larger birds, other hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Breeding

Like many migrating birds, the male ruby-throated hummingbird arrives at the breeding area before the female. There, he establishes his territory. When the female appears, the male makes a courtship gesture by flying back and forth in a perfect arc.
Two eggs are laid sometime between March and July in a nest situated high up in a tree. The female makes the nest with lichen and other soft plants.
She incubates the eggs for 16 days until they hatch, and then feeds the young on nectar and small insects. The male takes no part in the male takes no part in the rearing of the young and may go off to find another mate. Young are fledged in three to four weeks, and some birds go on to raise a second brood.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Food & Feeding

The hummingbird's agility in flight lets it fit from flower to flower like an insect. Although it tends to feed from red flowers, at least thirty-one different plants have flowers which attract the ruby-throated hummingbird. They include honeysuckle, petunias, nasturtiums, and lilacs.
Flying from flower to flower, the hummingbird pollinates the plants it feeds on. Because it can hover for long periods of time, the hummingbird can effectively suck out all the nectar it needs from a flower with its long, fine bill. Although nectar is its main food, providing essential high-energy sugars, hummingbirds will also eat some insects and spiders. The hummingbird is not attracted to regular bird feeders, but it will feed on red-colored sugarwater offered from a drip tube.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Key Facts

              Height: Length: 4 inches. Wingspan: 5 inches
              Weight: 1/100 oz
             Sexual maturity: 6 months
             Mating: March-July
             Gestation: Incubation: 16 days
             Number of young: Eggs: 2 per clutch
            Habit: Woods, orchards, and gardens. Forest in winter
            Diet: Nectar and insects
            Lifespan: 5 years



  • The ruby-throated hummingbird has the smallest number of feathers ever counted on any bird.
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird have been caught by dragonflies and praying mantises, trapped in spiders' webs, snatched by frogs, and stuck on thistles.
  • Before migrating, the ruby-throated hummingbird stores a layer of fat equal to half its body weight.
  • During courtship, the ruby-throated hummingbird's wings beat up to 200 times per second, as opposed to its usual wing beat of 90 times per second.
  • The hummingbird needs to eat twice its body weight in food everyday.

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