Providing interesting hummingbird facts for kids can include sharing all kinds of information regarding a hummingbirds diet, creating the right environment for the little bird, providing support for them by making a food source available for them. Kids will love these activities.
You can teach your kid anything you think they should know about this tiny bird – things like a hummingbird’s body weight, species of hummingbirds, their humming sounds, their lifespan, what they eat, their ecosystem, and their flight skills. Anything that you can imagine.
We know that sometimes “fun facts” are just plain facts, but we’ve prepared the most interesting of the bunch, and provided some activity suggestions towards the end of this post, so that you can teach children in an engaging way. Here is our remarkable list of hummingbird facts and activities.
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Hummingbird facts for kids
- Hummingbirds are small birds part of the Trochilidae family, which is a big bird family that includes hundreds of species. They were first seen in North America, but you can find most of them in South America.
- There are 361 different species of hummingbirds in the world. Some of them are more common than others.
- Hummingbirds can live in various habitats according to their species: Some like woodlands, mountains, canyons, and others like desert areas (an example would be Costa’s hummingbirds).
- The lifespan of a hummingbird can vary a lot too. The oldest hummingbird ever discovered was 12 years old, but the life expectancy is usually five years.
Hummingbird Anatomy Facts
- The hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird, sporting a length of 7.5 – 13 cm in most bird species. But sizes can vary a lot – the bee hummingbird is the smallest ( a Cuba native) and has 5 cm, and the Giant hummingbird is the biggest one and can get to a length of 20 cm.
- A hummingbird usually weighs between 1.8 – 20g. The Bee hummingbird has about 2g, and the Giant hummingbird weighs 20g.
- A hummingbird’s beak and tongue are longer than that of other birds. That’s because it is perfectly shaped to fit narrow tubular flowers, thus ensuring that the hummingbird has no competition over other pollinators.
- Hummingbirds have feet but don’t use them for walking.
Hummingbird Migration Facts
- Most hummingbirds are migratory birds, which means they travel long distances – particularly for breeding and during the winter. But some birds are all-year residents: an example would be Anna’s hummingbird – they stay all year round in California.
- Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most commonly seen species of birds in most American states. You can see them flying across the Gulf of Mexico during spring.
- Rufous hummingbirds have the longest migration distance – they have to fly about 6,000 miles from Alaska to Central America.
Hummingbirds’ Skills Facts
- Hummingbirds have an incredible vision – and memory. They must remember all the flowers they’ve visited to know which ones to visit next. Unlike their vision and memory, their sense of smell is not that great.
- Hummingbirds can enter a state of torpor, a type of hibernation in which they can slow their metabolism and heart rate, maintaining a very low body temperature. Thus, from a heart rate of about 1200 beats per minute, they can go down to 50 beats per minute. They can reduce their metabolism rate by up to 60%. When in torpor, hummingbirds hang upside down and may look like they’re dead, but don’t worry. Just wait a little longer to ensure they’re well.
- A hummingbird’s wings can move at a whooping speed of 50 beats per second (and sometimes more). Their aerodynamics allow these hummingbirds to hover mid-air, and fly backward. They’re the only birds in the world that have these incredible skills.
- Hummingbirds make a humming sound when flying around.
- Male hummingbirds have more impressive gorgets than female hummingbirds. All that glitter is gold (as they say). Their throat is usually iridescent and looks glamorous in full sunlight. By comparison, females look duller in general.
- In extremely rare instances, you can see albino hummingbirds – this albinism happens due to a genetic mutation that impedes melanin production.
How Hummingbirds Eat
- Hummingbirds primarily eat nectar from red tubular flowers but also need protein from small insects like gnats, spiders, aphids, and beetles. Sometimes they will follow sapsuckers to find a bark where they can munch on tree sap. But you can also feed hummingbirds if you make a mix of sugar and water and put it in your backyard
- A hummingbird’s metabolism is crazy fast, so they have to eat more than their weight – not to mention that they engage in all that flying. Besides the nectar of flowers, you can help them get enough food by making homemade nectar (mixing up 1 part sugar with four parts water).
Hummingbird Mating Facts
- When courting, male hummingbirds perform courtship displays by doing U-shaped dives, showing off their moves to the ladies.
- These little birds are not monogamous. Typically, male hummingbirds mate with multiple partners during the mating season.
- After breeding, female hummingbirds have to do the rest of the work alone: the nest building, the incubation, and caring for the baby hummingbirds.
Hummingbird Nest and Egg Facts
- When building the nest, female hummingbirds gather nest materials from their surrounding (moss, lichen, leaves) and put them all together with spider silk (that acts like glue).
- After building the nest, female hummingbirds typically lay a minimum of 1 egg per nest and a maximum of 2 eggs. Hummingbird eggs generally are the size of a jellybean. Just so you get an idea, a hummingbird nest is approximately the size of a walnut shell.
- Hummingbirds are usually territorial birds and will fight with other hummingbirds if they don’t have their way. They tend to be solitary creatures, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
Ideas for fun hummingbird kid activities
- Build a
- Make your own hummingbird nectar
- Build a hummingbird perch
- Write a story about your favorite type of hummingbird.
How can you help hummingbirds?
The number of hummingbirds is starting to decrease by the year. Even if that’s the case, people can generally help if they make their garden as hummingbird-friendly as possible, put out hummingbird feeders at the right time, and keep them clean. The goal is to build an environment as close to their natural habitat. But it wouldn’t hurt if you add in an extra bird bath or sprinkle here and there.