Do Praying Mantises Kill Hummingbirds

Do Praying Mantises Kill Hummingbirds
Yes, Praying Mantises eat Hummingbirds, but it's rare. While Hummingbirds may be fast, the Praying Mantis lies in wait next to Hummingbird's feeders in search of a feast. It climbs atop a feeder and uses the green foliage and shrubbery surrounding it to lie stealthily in wait. It can happen, but it is rare. 

More often than not, a Praying Mantis kills a Hummingbird because it is desperate for a meal. The good news, however, is that there are simple tricks to ensure that your Hummingbirds stay safe this summer and ways to keep harmony between you, your backyard insects, and the Hummingbirds. Keep reading to discover easy tricks to keep your Hummingbirds protected.

Do Praying Mantises Kill Hummingbirds close up

Praying Mantises Eat Hummingbirds

If a Praying Mantis is desperate and hungry, it will attempt (and succeed in most cases) to kill a Hummingbird. Praying Mantises are small and slow, so how on earth could they catch a Hummingbird? While some Praying Mantises are small, others can be quite large. For instance, the Chinese Mantis (Tenodera Sinensis) is large enough to catch a Hummingbird. A Praying Mantis must be four inches long to catch a Hummingbird.

These large Mantises are a master of disguise with their bright green coloring that blends in with their surroundings. To catch a Hummingbird, they lie in wait on the edge of Hummingbird feeders waiting for a snack. Once the Hummingbird lands, the Mantis strikes. They hold the small bird in its forelegs for front legs as it feasts. While most Hummingbirds are larger than the average Mantid, they do not eat the entire bird. Instead, they eat the insides and leave the rest for scavengers.

Do Praying Mantises Kill reptiles yes

Should I Kill Praying Mantises?

If you spot a Praying Mantis hunting around your Hummingbird feeders, your first inclination is likely to kill it, don’t do it! Check your feeders regularly, and if you spot a Mantid on your feeder, politely escort it off of your feeder and place it in your garden. Praying Mantises are wonderful backyard bugs to keep around because they’ll eat other pests that wreak havoc in your garden.

Praying Mantises are vilified for eating Hummingbirds, but it’s very rare. Like shark attacks on humans, Praying Mantises only eat Hummingbirds if they are desperate and starving. By placing the Praying Mantis in an insect-rich location (such as your garden), everyone wins, especially the Hummingbirds!

hunting praying mantis

Hummingbird Predators

Hummingbirds may be fast, but they aren’t fast enough to outfly some predators. Some of the most notorious hummingbird predators include bigger mammals like feral and domesticated cats and dogs, bigger predatory insects like orb-weavers, and praying mantis to other reptiles and birds like spider snakes, loggerhead shrikes, and hawks.

While it’s rare, Praying Mantises have been spotted killing hummingbirds. The Praying Mantis eats other flying insects in North America, such as crickets, cockroaches, wasps, grasshoppers, aphids, and sometimes even small vertebrates. However, a large and particularly hungry Praying Mantis will sometimes catch a Hummingbird as a meal.

praying mantis eating grasshopper

Protect your Local Hummingbird Population

Bird watchers want to know that their Hummingbirds are safe when they put out their Hummingbird feeders. So, how can you ensure that your Hummingbirds are safe when they perch at your feeders for a drink? Check out some of these clever (and humane) tricks below.

Place Feeders in A Safe Spot 

Be sure to place Hummingbird feeders in a location that isn’t hidden by shrubbery or other leafy green foliage. If Hummingbird can see the Praying Mantis before it lands, it will fly away to safety. The reason that Praying Mantises can hunt down larger pray is due to their impressive camouflage ability. Place feeders in wide open spaces were not only Praying Mantises hunt but other predators such as neighborhood cats and dogs.

Add Additional Food Sources for Hummingbirds

Oddly, there is only one Praying Mantis in your garden looking for a snack. If you hang multiple Hummingbird feeders, these small birds are likely to move to a safer feeder if they notice that there are predators around. Give your neighborhood Hummingbirds many options on where to feed, so they always select the safest option.

Use a Bird Feeder Cover or a Wide Bird Feeder

Some Praying Mantises have wings, but they cannot fly. If you hang a bird feeder cover over your Hummingbird feeder, predators such as Mantids can not really perch and pray on hummingbirds or other animals that fly by the feeder. Opting for a wide bird feeder is another great way to keep Praying Mantises off your birdfeeders entirely. Sometimes, Mantids perch on Hummingbird feeders in search of other insects attracted to the nectar. If you can fend off other insects, the Mantis is less likely to be attracted to your feeder.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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