Hummingbirds are one of the unique birds you can see visiting in your backyard. These tiny little birds can fly so fast compared to the other birds. They fly so fast and in extraordinary ways that they are even compared to insects in their ability to fly.
But why do hummingbirds fly so fast? Hummingbirds fly so fast because of the need to look for food and escape from the threats being presented by predators. But, there is more to the ability of these birds to fly very fast, which will be discussed in this article.
Why Do Hummingbirds Fly So Fast
Their Physical Attribute Helps Them Fly So Fast
There are many species of hummingbirds around the world but what is unique about them is their physical structure. In fact, most of them share the same body shapes, including small bodies, long and thin beaks, thin necks, and pointed wings.
In particular, the shape and the size of their wings will help create the power needed to flap their wings so fast without even tiring. The length of their tapered wings will also help them control how fast and the direction of their flying.
But how fast do hummingbirds wings flap? Experts suggest that hummingbirds have one of the greatest flying speeds of all flying animals. It can beat their wings 50 times per second, but it all depends on the type of species you are talking about. The table below shows some species of hummingbirds and their flying speed per second:
|Hummingbird Specie||Wing Beat Per Second|
|Ruby-Throated Hummingbird||50 Wing Beats Times Per Second|
|Rufous Hummingbird||52 – 62 Wing Beats Per Second|
|Bee Hummingbird of Cuba||80 Wing Beats Per Second|
|Giant Hummingbird of the Andes||12 Wing Beats Per Second|
In the table above, you can see that how the hummingbird beats its wings is influenced by the size of the hummingbird. Considered the smallest bird on earth, the bee hummingbird of Cuba can beat their wings very fast in a second, while the giant hummingbird from the Andes, which is one of the largest and is comparable to the size of the cardinal, can only beat their wings 12 times in a second.
Hummingbirds Needs the Energy to Beat their Wings
Another reason why hummingbirds fly so fast is that they need to beat their wings. They will get the required energy to beat their wings by constantly flying. The hummingbird also has a unique heart rate that does not slow down regardless of resting or sleeping.
Hummingbirds also come with a unique respiratory system that allows them to breathe oxygen really quickly to fly again very quickly. On average, they can fly fast at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour.
But why do hummingbirds flutter so fast? Hummingbirds fly so fast that they look like they are fluttering, similar to insects. But why is that? It turns out that the main difference is the way the hummingbird uses their wrist when they fly.
The normal bird flies by collapsing its wrist on the upstroke to draw the wing towards the body as it flies. With the hummingbird, they invert their wrists to move their wing, which is different from how regular birds fly.
Experts have said that the hummingbird has adopted a unique and insect-like flying style. The way they used the shoulder while flipping the wing back and forth like a fruit fly made them flutter, which is unique compared to the other birds.
Hummingbirds Need to Stay Active and Look for Food
Some species of hummingbirds, especially those based in cold climates, need to fly fast consistently to stay active and warm throughout the year. This situation is why around 5 million hummingbirds migrate to a warmer place up north every year to keep them warmer, breed, and look for food.
Hummingbirds will not stop flying because that is the only way to live and survive. Of course, they can get tired and lose their body weight during migration, but they make it up by eating non-stop once they arrive during migration.
Hummingbirds Fly So Fast to Keep Them Warm
Another reason for hummingbirds to fly so fast is to keep their bodies warm, especially in colder climates. Then the hummingbird flaps their wings, which will create heat that will warm their bodies and help them survive colder environments.
Some hummingbird species will stop flying once the temperature drops in a particular location. But these birds cannot keep it up for a long time. They will fly again because that is what they do naturally.
Why Do Hummingbirds Fly Back and Forth
Hummingbirds fly different from other birds, but one flying ability that is so unique is when they fly back and forth. But, what is the reason behind this unique flying ability? Hummingbirds will fly back and forth to impress a female hummingbird.
The male hummingbird will do it because the bird wants to show how strong and in control he is. The male hummingbird often combines flying back and forth while flashing the ruby-throat at the female hummingbird to impress her to mate with the male hummingbird.
Why Do Hummingbirds Fly So Close to Me
There are also moments when the hummingbird will also fly close to you. It is so close that they will fly near your face. When it happens, the bird is curious and trying to investigate something.
Naturally, hummingbirds are very inquisitive about anything. They will investigate the surroundings to make their territory safer. They also can recognize homeowners, which is why they will fly close to a person when they ask for food.
Why do hummingbirds fly so fast? As stated above, there are many reasons, but the most important thing is that they do it because it is their nature to fly fast. They can also fly back and forth to impress a female hummingbird while also flying close to humans to ask for food if they are well-trained.