Hummingbirds are the most mesmerizing ones among 10,000 species of birds in the world. They are very small in size but can fly at an incredible speed. They can be seen migrating long distances from one place to another in a year. In this article, let us know in detail about its migration.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly 500 miles in a day. And different hummingbirds can fly 1200 miles in a day. On an average, hummingbirds can fly around 720 miles in a day and 1200 miles nonstop.
Therefore they can reach their destination faster in a few days, depending on the location they want to migrate to.
How far each hummingbird can fly in a day
There are various species of hummingbirds, each having its unique features, native place and breeding location. So let us have a quick glance at it.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird can fly 500 miles in a day
Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly around 500 miles in the daytime across the Gulf of Mexico during the spring and fall migrations.
They breed farther north than any other hummingbird. They do not breed in winter, so they spend their time in Southern Mexico in the wooden areas of Guerrero.
The breeding range of these birds stretches from Southern British Columbia in Canada through Idaho and Nevada. They migrate to Southern California, Arizona and Texas for the winter.
These birds migrate in winter as far as to Southern Mexico. They move to the Pacific coast in the late winter and move to the south through the mountains in the late summer season. They are very limited in number and mainly nest in California.
These birds breed from Vancouver, Canada to California and from the east through southern Arizona. They are a permanent resident of the pacific coast and stay there through the winter in many areas where no hummingbirds are present.
These species migrate to the north in the spring and leave the non-migrating hummingbirds there in Central Mexico. After the breeding is done, these birds start their southbound migration to Guatemala.
These hummingbird species breed in the mountains of the Northwestern United States and Canada to Alaska. During the spring and summer season, they travel through Arizona and Northern Mexico and in winter to Southwestern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
These are small North American desert birds that inhabit the Western United States and Mexico and migrate to Alaska and Canada. Their breeding areas are the Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert and San Joaquin Valley of California.
How far can hummingbirds fly without stopping?
A hummingbird that is just a few inches in size can fly more than 1200 miles without stopping at its annual migration from the East coast of the US to Central America.
Also, it has been observed that the older birds migrate earlier as compared to the younger ones and travel faster and reach the destination bit early. Male birds cover a more significant distance without rest than female birds.
These birds can fly over the Gulf of Mexico in one go, but it is still unclear whether they travel over or around it.
How far does a hummingbird fly without food?
Hummingbirds have a very high metabolism and therefore must eat all day to survive. They need to eat food half of their body weight to survive. They can starve to death if they don’t eat food within 3 to 5 hours.
Every 10 -15 minutes, they have to eat to gain energy for migrating. They visit almost 1000-2000 flowers to eat the nectar throughout the day. They also feed on small insects, mosquitoes, ants, beetles, wasps and many more.
They digest their food in approx 20 mins and with excellent efficiency. They extract 90% of the sucrose and eliminate the water from the food they eat. Instead of resting, they spend their time digesting the food.
How fast can a hummingbird fly during migration?
The flying speed of the hummingbird depends on the species. The smaller the bird is in size, the more faster it flaps its wings for flying to its destination.
Ruby-throated hummingbird wings can flap 50 times in a second. A Rufous hummingbird can flap 52 to 62 times in a second. The bee hummingbird of Cuba is the smallest and flaps its wings 80 times in a second.
On the other hand, a giant hummingbird which is of the same size as the cardinal flaps its wings only 12 times in a second.
Do hummingbirds fly at night during migration?
Hummingbirds travel hundreds or thousands of miles during migration. And to travel continuously, a lot of energy is consumed, so they usually fly in the day and rest at night in a place where they feel safe. But, some hummingbirds fly even at night during migration time.
When these migrating hummingbirds sleep, they go into their hibernating state called Torpor. It is deep sleep, but in this state, the metabolism of the birds will lower to 1/15 of the normal state. Also, their body temperature and heart rate drop and also their breathing slows down, and it seems that the bird has stopped breathing.
Hence, sleeping in this position helps hummingbirds save approximately 60% of their available energy. It is a win-win situation as the birds get rest and save energy for further journeys.
Does hummingbird migrate in flocks during migration?
The hummingbirds travel individually while migrating instead of travelling in flocks. They mostly migrate during the day and fly on a lower height to watch for feeding opportunities and resting places. These migrating birds usually travel to the exact locations each year and at the same time.
Hummingbirds are one of the smallest birds with great flying speed. There are various species of hummingbirds, each having its own breeding location and having its own migrating time. The migration of these birds depends on the climate and the season.
I hope this article has helped you understand these birds migration journey. If you know any other interesting information about their journey, then do share it with the other readers in the comment section below.