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Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Archilochus colubris
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Superorder Passerimorphae
Order Apodiformes
Family Information
Family Trochilidae
Population statistics

Hummingbird is any species of New World bird of the family Trochilidae, consisting of some 340 species within two subfamilies, and named for the humming sound from their rapidly-beating wings. Although hummingbirds include some of the smallest birds in the world, they belong to one of the largest families of birds. Hummingbirds are native to tropical rain forests but can be found in deserts, mountains, and plains. The smallest of these is the bee hummingbird. It weighs approximately 1.8 grams and is about 5 centimeters in length. The giant hummingbird is the largest hummingbird, weighing in at 18-20 grams and measuring eight and a half inches in length.


Hummingbirds are called "nectivores" because about 90 percent of their diet is nectar from flowers. hummingbirds slender bills which are perfect for collecting nectar from flowers. The bills allow each kind of hummingbird to feed from specific types of flowers. They also protect their long split tongues. Although their main diet is nectar, they sometimes eat insect which are often caught by "hawking". Hawking is when a hummingbird catches insects by flying and diving to snap them up out of the air. Hummingbirds consume between 3.14 and 7.6 calories a day. Humans (who may eat somewhere around 3,500 calories a day) would have to consume approximately 155,000 calories a day if they had the metabolism of a hummingbird. This is about 77 times the amount which humans usually eat. Because of their heart rate and small body size, hummingbirds need a lot of calories. Hummingbirds must digest their food quickly because they eat so much. A hummingbird can digest a fruit fly in 10 minutes. Some flowers rely on hummingbirds for pollination. Hummingbirds are attracted to flowers that are bright colors and are open during the day.

Hummingbird nest with two chicks.


Every spring the hummingbird migrate north to make a home for their young. The mother hummingbird find a spot where temperatures will stay below 96 degrees F to make her nest. The first thing the hummingbird lays down is spider webbing. After she applies the material to her nest site, she then carries soft material to the site in her beak. When the material is arranged the way she likes it, she carries another load of spider webbing to the nest. She repeats this process a few more time and then applies a soft layer of down to the inside of the nest. The hummingbird lays her eggs, which are the size of a coffer bean, inside the nest. When hummingbirds hatch, they are blind, have only a little down, and have small bumps for bills. These chicks are very vulnerable and sometimes their predators are large insects.

See also