Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Facts
Size 2.7 - 3.5 inch; wingspan 3.1 - 4.3 inch (7 - 9 cm)
Speed Up to 30 mph (48 km/h)
Weight 0.07 - 0.2 oz (2 - 6 g)
Lifespan 3 - 5 years
Food Nectar, tree sap, insects, spiders
Predators Falcons, Eurasian jays, cats
Habitat Breeding territory: North America, winter habitat: Central America
Order Apodiformes
Family Hummingbird
Scientific name Archilochus colubris
Characteristics Long thin bill, able to fly backwards

There are 330 - 340 species of hummingbirds. They exclusively live in America, most of them near the equator, mainly in South America. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only one living in the east of Canada and the USA.

Fastest wing beat

The ruby-throated hummingbird is one of the fastest birds. Not because of its speed when flying. Of all birds, the ruby-throated hummingbird has the fastest wing beat.

Bird with the Smallest Number of Feathers

The ruby-throated hummingbird holds a record: Of all birds worldwide, it is the one with the smallest number of feathers. While the whistling swan has about 25,000 feathers, the ruby-throated hummingbird does not have more than about 940.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female) - Photo: Matt Cuda/Shutterstock

The Sun Makes the Plumage Shine

If the sun shines on the plumage of the ruby-throated hummingbird, it starts to shimmer beautifully. In the shade, the animals appear fairly gray and matt.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds Have a Lot of Stamina

When winter comes to their breeding territory in North America, it is getting extremely cold. Too cold for the little birds. Therefore they make a move and fly to Central America, where it is nice and warm.

For this they cover a distance of 1,860 miles (3,000 km) and manage a 620 miles (1,000 km) nonstop flight over the Gulf of Mexico (a huge bay).

They need a lot of energy for their journey, so that they stuff themselves with food and double their weight before they start.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (male) - Photo: mbolina/Shutterstock

Males and Females Have Different Plumages

When having a look at our picture gallery, you could think that it shows two different species of birds. But all pictures show ruby-throated hummingbirds.

The throats of the males have a distinct red and shimmering color and a greenish back.

The females have a white throat and are generally less flashy and colorful. With good reason as this makes it much more difficult for enemies to detect them.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (male) - Photo: Holly Miller-Pollack/Shutterstock

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds Have Many Enemies

Not only birds of prey, snakes, cats, and reptiles are threats for the ruby-throated hummingbird. As the bird is so small, it also has to watch out for the praying mantis, orb-weavers, and green darners.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female) - Photo: Kerry Hargrove/Shutterstock


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