Hummingbirds are beautiful, fascinating creatures that are signs of good luck, joy, and wisdom. They can also be helpful to have around, as they play a crucial role in their ecosystem. In part, that’s because they eat insects. Are mosquitoes among their prey?
Do Hummingbirds Eat Mosquitoes?
Yes, hummingbirds eat mosquitoes. They play a crucial role in controlling the mosquito population.
How many mosquitoes do hummingbirds eat? That varies depending on how many mosquitoes are around, the time of year, and other weather conditions.
We’ll explore more about the diet of hummingbirds below, so keep reading.
What Else Do Hummingbirds Eat?
Hummingbirds spend much of their lives either eating or looking for food. They eat every ten to 15 minutes so that by the end of the day, they consume about half their body weight.
Hummingbirds don’t subsist primarily on bugs. Instead, they eat mostly nectar, which they get from flowers or feeders left out by humans. Hummingbirds land on 1,000 to 2,000 flowers daily to collect this much nectar.
Much of the rest of a hummingbird’s diet consists of insects and not just mosquitoes.
Hummingbirds also eat:
- Fruit flies
Hummingbirds will favor insects over nectar when they need more protein in their diets. This increased need happens when they’re migrating or regurgitating food for hatchlings.
They also work hard to find their delicious bug snacks. They’ll pull them out of tree bark, find them in leaves or flowers, steal them from spiders, and even catch them out of the air.
Other Sources of Nourishment for Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds supplement their diets with several other things. They will also eat sap, especially when there isn’t a lot of nectar. Similarly, they will also eat sugary fruit.
Sometimes hummingbirds ingest dirt, salt, pollen, and other matter. They don’t necessarily seek these things out, but they get some nutrients from these sources that help them stay strong and healthy.
What Do Hummingbirds Need To Survive?
Like all living things, hummingbirds need several things besides food.
For one thing, they require oxygen. Because taking flight is so physically taxing, hummingbirds have highly efficient respiratory systems that help them take in as much as they need.
Hummingbirds need a steady supply of fresh water to stay healthy and alive. They meet most of their fluid needs through drinking nectar but still need water, primarily for bathing.
Hummingbird baths aren’t about vanity; their tiny bodies and feathers become coated with sticky pollen and other substances. This excess weight and resistance make it harder for them to fly.
Rest and Shelter
Like humans, hummingbirds need to rest their bodies and find a safe place to do it. For hummingbirds, shelter is more about camouflage and protection from potential predators than anything else.
It’s rare for people to see hummingbirds at rest, and there’s a reason for that. They typically land and nest inside bushes or on well-concealed, dense branches. They’re also protected from wind, rain, and other elements.
Hummingbirds sleep about 12 hours a day, from dusk until dawn. They are one of only a few species of birds that enter a state of torpor when they sleep. During this deep rest period, their metabolism slows, body temperature drops, and they conserve as much energy as possible.
FAQs About Hummingbirds
There’s so much to learn about hummingbirds! These are answers to just a few fun questions.
Where did hummingbirds originate?
Early hummingbird species probably first appeared in central Eurasia and migrated to the Americas from there.
What kind of hummingbird feeder should I buy?
Bees and wasps can harm hummingbirds, so choose a feeder with a red base or bottom, which will help keep them away.
What should you put in your feeder?
Make simple nectar by combining one part sugar and four parts water. To help the sugar fully absorb, warm over low heat and stir.
Before You Go
Hummingbirds are beautiful, intelligent animals, and we should protect them. How can you do your part?
One of the most important things you can do is minimize the use of pesticides in your yard. If you set up a feeder, use a red base to protect them from bees and wasps. You can also plant hummingbird-friendly flowers.