If you’ve been reading this blog, you know we have discussed almost everything there is to discuss about hummingbirds. Whether it is about cleaning their feeders or weight, hummers are extensively discussed in this blog. But we need to know how fast our beautiful friends fly. We know hummers are expert flyers but are they fast?
Well, yes. Hummingbirds fly incredibly fast, and they fly with amazing skill. If you’ve ever looked up and seen a bird doing some great hovering it’s possible you saw a hummingbird. Read on as we discuss the flight prowess of our little friends.
So, How Fast Do Hummingbirds Fly?
Simply put, hummingbirds fly very fast. They reach speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour. If you think 20 to 30 miles per hour is quick, you must see hummingbirds fly during their mating display. Male hummingbirds like to put on a show when trying to woo the females. During their mating display, the males fly 60 to 90 miles per hour. They fly up and then turn right down, flying very fast toward the ground and pulling back up before hitting the ground. Amazing right?
The speed of hummingbirds differs according to species. Some of the fastest species of hummingbirds have been known to attain speeds of over 60 miles per hour. For example, when Anna’s hummingbird is accelerating and decelerating during courtship, the G-force acting around them will make you pass out if you ever experienced it!
The Fastest Hummingbird
Now that we know that hummingbirds are incredibly fast, it’s time to decide among the 350 species which of them is the fastest. The fastest hummingbird award goes to Anna’s hummingbird.
Remember how we told you that hummingbirds have the biggest brain-to-size ratio in the animal kingdom? That is how Anna’s hummingbird is the fastest bird compared to its size. They hit speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Anna’s hummingbird, with a speed of 50 miles per hour, covers about 385 body lengths per hour.
For the most part, hummingbirds show off most their flying skills for one purpose, to impress the ladies.
Hummingbird Wing Speed – How Fast Are Hummingbirds Wing Flapping?
Hummingbirds are truly packed with loads of excellent characteristics. Whether it is how much they need to eat or hanging upside down when they sleep, hummers are remarkable birds. The flapping speeds of hummingbirds are also another noteworthy feature. The smaller the hummingbird, the faster the wing speed. By this logic, the hummingbird species with the most rapid wing speed is the Bee hummingbird. Their wings beat 80 times per second when they are flying.
The hummingbird species with the slowest wing speed is the Giant hummingbird. This is because they are the biggest hummingbird species. Their wings beat at 12 beats per second.
Other hummingbird species that are commonly found in the Northern parts of the United States have wings speeds that are in the middle. For example, the ruby-throated hummingbird wings beat 50 times per second. The rufous hummingbird wing beats 52 times per second.
Can a Hummingbird Fly Backwards?
The flight prowess of hummingbirds is truly amazing. Hummingbirds can fly forward, sideways, and of course, backward. They are also the only birds that can truly hover. Hummingbirds keep making us proud, and we can’t stop writing about these small but mighty birdies.
Hummingbirds fly backward when they eat. They fly backward when moving from one nectar flower to the next. So, instead of turning around completely to move to the next flower, they fly backward, and voila, they are drinking nectar! They are the only birds that can do the backward acrobatic display mid-air—another record broken by our little champs.
Did you know that a hummingbird’s wings can stroke both backward and forward? Other birds stroke their wings upwards and downwards but not our smart hummers; they choose backward and forward. Hummingbirds can change their flight direction by simply changing their wings’ angle.
Hummingbirds: How Far Can They Fly In a Day?
Hummingbirds still come out in flying colors regarding how far they can fly in a day. Hummingbirds go for their yearly migration from the east coast of the United States to Central America. This migration means that the hummingbird needs to fly for 1,300 miles. Do you know that hummingbirds make this yearly migration without taking a break? You better believe it when we tell you how awesome these birds are!
When hummingbirds go for their yearly migration, they are believed to travel 500 miles daily. Hummingbirds complete the migration early enough to be home before the bad weather sets in. Their migration journey starts around the end of August, and hummingbirds arrive at their destination by the end of October.
Do Hummingbirds Ever Stop Flying?
It is understandable why people would think that hummingbirds are always flying. Whenever most people see hummingbirds, it seems that they are always flying. If they aren’t flying forward, they are going sideways or backward. They could also be right in the middle of a stunt display to gain a mate.
However, hummingbirds don’t fly perpetually. They also rest and sleep. When they sleep, they enter a state known as torpor. Their metabolism is greatly reduced in the torpor state, and their heart rate drops. Don’t be surprised if you see a hummingbird hanging upside down when they enter the torpor state.
Here is an interesting fact about hummingbirds: Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sounds their wings produce as they fly. This should give you an idea of how fast their wings beat per second!
The hummingbird comes out tops when it comes to flight speed and skill. As small as hummingbirds are, they fly incredibly fast, and their wings beat very fast. They fly long distances when it is time to migrate and even fly backward. Truly, hummingbirds justify the saying “small but mighty.”