If you have ever seen a hummingbird, you can guess just by looking at them that they don’t weigh a lot. Did you know that it will take 150 hummingbirds to make one kilogram? That should give you an idea of how small these critters are. But how much do they weigh exactly?
The average hummingbird weighs about four grams. That is outrageously light by any standard. Their weight also varies from species to species( we will talk about this as we go along), making it difficult for one to make a blanket statement concerning their weight.
What Is The Average Hummingbird Weight?
The average weight of a hummingbird is about 4 grams. But if you think that these adorable creatures can’t get any lighter, think again. Some hummingbirds weigh as much as 4.5 grams and as little as 2.5 grams.
If you’ve ever held a US nickel, you have an idea of what it feels like to hold a 4.5 grams hummingbird in your hands. Also, if you have held a US penny, you know what it means to hold a 2.5 grams hummingbird!
Let us take a step further. Did you know that about thirty percent of a hummer’s weight is muscle? A hummingbird’s egg is about the size of a pea weighing 0.4 grams to 1.4 grams. When the eggs are hatched, the chicks weigh about 0.62 grams and are barely one inch long.
Hummingbird Weight: Male and Female
Now that we have established that hummingbirds are outrageously small, it is time for us to know the weight differences between males and females. Unlike other birds, the females of hummingbirds weigh a little more than their male counterparts. For example, the male ruby-throated hummingbird weighs about 2.4 to 3.6 grams. The females come in a bit larger at 2.8 grams to 4.5 grams.
The rufous hummingbirds are not different. The females weigh about 3.4 grams, while the males weigh approximately 3.2 grams. So, why are the females of hummingbirds generally larger than the males? The answer is simple. The females do all the work during reproduction. They produce the eggs, keep them warm and provide food for their babies.
What Is The Weight Of Common Hummingbird Species?
This section will give you the weight measurement of some common hummingbird species. Over 350 species of hummingbirds exist, but for this piece, we will provide the weight of the most common species.
|Ruby Throated Hummingbird||2-6 grams|
|Broad Billed Hummingbird||3-4 grams|
|Rufous Hummingbird||2-4 grams|
|Calliope Hummingbird||2-3 grams|
|Broad-tailed Hummingbird||3-4 grams|
|Black-chinned Hummingbird||3-3.5 grams|
|Anna’s Hummingbird||3-6 grams|
|Costa’s Hummingbird||2-4 grams|
|Allen’s Hummingbird||2-4 grams|
The Smallest Hummingbird
Can hummingbirds get any smaller? Yes, they can. The Bee hummingbird proves it. The Bee hummingbird in adulthood weighs a paltry 1.6-1.9 grams and has a length of 6.1cm. Do you wish to see this tiny bird? You have to make your way to Cuba. Bee hummingbirds aren’t found anywhere else in the world. This hummingbird gets its name because they are often mistaken for bees.
To better understand the size of a Bee hummingbird, you can picture a ruby-throated hummingbird and divide it in half. When the females of the Bee hummingbird are building a nest, they make it only an inch across, and the eggs are the size of a coffee bean. That is incredibly small!
The Biggest Hummingbird
Now that we have seen the smallest hummingbird size, it only makes sense to look at it. The biggest hummingbird is the Giant hummingbird. Their name is truly fitting because, when compared to the rest of their species, Giant hummingbirds are gigantic.
Giant hummingbirds are so big that they are often confused with a swallow. They have a large wing span and fly in short glides intermingled with slow wing beats. The Giant hummingbird weighs about 20 grams which is outrageous considering how much hummingbirds weigh.
If you are an amateur bird watcher, you may have difficulty identifying Giant hummingbird’s. This is because they don’t fly with the notable fast-wing beats that hummingbirds are notorious for. The Giant hummingbird has cinnamon-brown plumage, and its rump is white.
The Giant hummingbird is common, and it is very widespread in the Andes. These giant birds occur in Argentina and Chile. They prefer open habitats like montane scrubs.
How Much Does a Hummingbird Eat?
Since we are talking about hummingbird weights, we might as well discuss how much they eat. If you look at the size of a hummingbird, you won’t be completely wrong to think they eat small. However, hummingbirds are voracious eaters. Hummingbirds have a high metabolism and eat about half of their body weight. They also need to drink about eight times their body weight to stay alive.
They don’t just stop eating and drinking; hummingbirds also eat a lot of insects daily to top their protein and mineral diets. Before their migration season, the appetite of hummingbirds increases, and they eat about three to ten times their body weight in preparation for the journey.
So why do hummingbirds eat so much? Well, for one, they eat because of their size. Ruby-throated hummingbirds weigh about three grams but have the largest brain size. They also have the largest heart and flight muscles.
All these large organs need a lot of food to keep them sharp. Did you know that ruby-throated hummingbirds can remember every year where their nectar supplies are? What do you think maintains such an exceptional brain? Food!
Hummingbirds also eat a lot because of their high metabolism rate. Their metabolism rate is the highest in the animal kingdom compared to their body size and weight. Their heart beats about 1,200 times per minute when they are flying. A hummingbird’s heart also beats 200 beats per minute when they aren’t flying. This means hummingbirds must eat every ten to fifteen minutes to stay alive and maintain their body weight.
However, during the night, hummingbirds power down and enter a state known as torpor. In the torpor state, hummingbirds lower their body temperature and slow their heart rate to 50-180 beats per minute. This is how they break the “eat-every-ten-to-fifteen-minutes-to-stay-alive rule.”