How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

Species of Hummingbirds Found In Canada British Columbia 5
The lifespan of a hummingbird varies, but the typical life duration can range between an average of 3 to 7 years.

It may seem like a short time, but for a hummingbird, it’s enough.

However, this can vary. Hummingbirds’ average lifespan usually depends on what species of hummingbird they are. Most typically die during the first year, but if they get through the baby hummingbird phase and adapt to their environment, they can live for a long time.

Here is the average life span and oldest hummingbirds according to species:

Hummingbird SpeciesTypical Life ExpectancyLongest Recorded Life Expectancy
Anna’s hummingbirds6 to 8 years8 and a half years
Black-chinned hummingbirds6 to 9 years10 years old
Ruby-throated hummingbirds3 to 5 years6 years and 11 months
Rufous hummingbirds5 to 8 years8 years and 11 months
Allen’s hummingbirds3 to 5 years6 years old
Broad-tailed hummingbirds5 to 8 years12 years old
Buff-bellied hummingbirds5 to 8 years11 years and 2 months
Bee hummingbirds5 to 7 years7 and a half years
Calliope hummingbirds4 to 6 years8 years
Rivoli’s hummingbirds5 to 7 years5-6 years
Costa’s hummingbird5 years
hummingbirds torpor20

Hummingbirds longest life cycle

The oldest hummingbird was found in Colorado in 1967 and was a female broad-tailed hummingbird. 

In Arizona, banding studies revealed a 10-year-old black-chinned hummingbird. But as mentioned above, this is not typical.

It seems that two Black-chinned hummingbirds in Arizona ended up living until they were 13 and 14 years old – the difference is that they were held in captivity, pointing to the fact that they might live longer.

Some species tend to have a longer life span – for example, the Buff-bellied Hummingbirds or the Giant hummingbirds live longer. But bird species is not the only factor that can tell you how long a hummingbird can survive.

hummingbirds torpor18

Reasons why hummingbirds die

Common hummingbird deaths include hitting other objects, predators, being hit by a car, hardcore migration, diseases, or – the best-case scenario – old age.

However, as long as their natural habitat is preserved, hummingbirds have a high chance of having a longer life span. That’s why you must protect them from dangers and attackers. 

A big problem for hummers is the wide use of pesticides. When spread on their primary food source, it affects their whole body because they have a small weight.

But other than that, hummingbirds can be killed off by cats, dogs, snakes, raccoons, and squirrels.

Long migrations can also pose a significant risk – especially considering some hummers migrate without ever so much as taking a break.

Do female hummingbirds live longer than male hummingbirds?

Generally yes. Female hummingbirds usually live past the age of 5, while males don’t get to that point. This may be due to the breeding season that drains males and makes them lose too much weight -because they have a speedy metabolism.

Hummingbird facts

Sightings of these tiny birds have always fascinated people throughout time. Unlike other birds, they stand out with their small size and fast moves. They are also the only birds that hover and fly backward.

Here are some basic facts about hummers:

  • There are 300+ species of hummingbirds in the world.
  • Hummingbirds are the smallest birds that belong to the Trochilidae family. Their body weight is .1 to .2 ounces, and are usually between 3″-5″ in length.
  • Most of them live in Central and South America. Some species like The Rufous hummingbird live in Alaska as well and have to endure low temperatures. However, most of them fly to Mexico or Central America in the winter season. Some (fewer) also spend time in North America during the summer.
  • Hummers love hummingbird feeders, so if you want to see more of them, place at least one in your backyard.
  • Hummingbirds’ diet – Hummingbirds love nectar and sugar water. Their taste buds aren’t too complex, but they can notice sweetness. Other than nectar, hummers usually also look for and eat small insects.
  • Hummingbirds can be food too – Hummers can be a food source for other creatures, like the praying mantis.
  • Hummingbird nests are built using lichens and sometimes spider webs- where their jelly bean-sized hummingbird eggs will comfortably sit before hatching.
  • The hummingbird’s heart rate is usually very high, reaching a whopping speed of 1260 beats per minute – especially when flying.
  • Hummingbirds don’t have the same partner for the rest of their life.
  • The bill of a hummer is longer than its body.
  • Some hummingbird eggs are the size of a US penny.
  • Hummingbirds have a fast metabolism, so they must keep up and visit many flowers during the day (about 1000-2000).
  • During the winter, hummingbirds enter a state of torpor, similar to hibernation. Hummers can minimize their body temperature and become torpid or ‘asleep.’ Being that they’re small birds, they have to do that to maintain their body temperature and survive cold winters.

Final thoughts

The lifespan of a hummingbird also depends on its diet and environment. If they eat healthy food or live in an area where they are safe, their lifespans will increase because they can stay healthy for extended periods.

You can help them out!

Information about hummingbirds can be a valuable asset to birders and nature enthusiasts. 

Look for information that can help protect your backyard hummingbirds from harmful parasites and predators and teach you how to care for them – so that they have a better chance of survival.

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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