Hummingbird Facts | Costa Rica Wildlife Guide
In the Americas, more than 300 species of hummingbirds belong to the family Trochilidae. These minuscule, brilliantly colored birds beat their wings at speeds of up to 100 beats per second. While beating, the wings produce the humming sound from which their name derives. These small birds are able to fly backward, due to the remarkable ability of their wings being able to generate lift on both forward and backward strokes.
Hummingbirds in Costa Rica are frequently seen hovering over flowers and lapping up nectar with their long, hollow tongues, which are forked at the end. They also favor a wide array of insects, including beetles, flying ants and daddy long-legs.
The pulse of hummingbirds can surpass 1,200 beats per minute—the fastest heart rate of any bird. To sustain this workout, plenty of nourishment is needed. Some white-eared hummingbirds have been found to eat 850 percent of body weight per day. Hummingbirds “hibernate” during the night, decreasing their metabolism and body temperature to preserve energy.
Hummingbirds are mainly solitary creatures, and breeding season is typically the only time hummingbirds are seen together. Mating lasts only a few seconds. Males guard flower-laden areas, hoping to attract females to the sweet nectar. Males become highly territorial, displaying a dramatic aerial conflict. After copulation, the female lays two eggs, each about the size of a coffee bean, in a thimble-sized nest of cobwebs, bark and silken plant down.
Header Credit: Cassiano Zaparoli
Natural Jewels of Costa Rica
Costa Rica Wilderness Explorer
Photo departures available