How Do Hummingbirds Mate?

Save

Hummingbird Mating Season

  • Hummingbird mating season begins in early spring. In mid to late March, hummingbirds return to the U.S. and Canada from their southern winter migration to Mexico and Central America. Males of most hummingbird species typically return north 1 to 2 weeks ahead of females to scout out and establish their mating territory. Mating grounds are chosen for the prevalence of food sources, most important among them nectar-yielding flowers.

Male Hummingbirds Attract a Mate

  • Once the female hummingbirds arrive, the males begin the process of attracting their mates. The main component of the ritual is energetic and showy flight. Besides looping and zigzag patterns, males will fly anywhere from 50 to 150 feet up into the air, then plummet straight down to the ground, pulling up just before impact. Other displays male hummingbirds engage in to win a mate include singing, showing off their feathers (especially in the sunlight) and flapping their wings as fast as possible to create the loudest humming sound they can.

    When choosing a male to mate with, female hummingbirds also take into consideration how much food is readily available in the prospect's secured territory. Plentiful food sources are essential, as hummingbirds must eat their own body weight in nectar daily.

Hummingbird Nests

  • By the time a female hummingbird has chosen her mate, she has already begun building her nest. Different hummingbird species choose different locations for their nests. Some species prefer their nests to remain close to the ground, while others build their nests in the highest branches of trees. Hummingbird nests are tiny, about half the size of a golf ball. They are constructed from twigs and foliage, with spider webs used like mortar.

Hummingbird Reproduction

  • Hummingbird sex only lasts from 3 to 5 seconds. As male hummingbirds have no external penis, no actual penetration takes place. Instead, the male presses his cloaca (posterior opening) against the female's, and sperm is passed along to fertilize the female's eggs.

After Hummingbirds Mate

  • After mating, the female hummingbird finishes building her nest. Withing a few days, she will lay two eggs, roughly the size of peas. Though in rare instances a female may only lay one egg, three is almost entirely unheard of. Female hummingbirds are only capable of caring for two chicks. The male hummingbird does not remain with his mate or assist in caring for the eggs or raising the offspring. In fact, he often goes on to mate with a few other females. Hummingbird eggs take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to hatch.

  • Photo Credit BrandyCorc
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • Life Cycle of the Hummingbird

    The hummingbird, among the smallest bird in the world and a native of the Americas, is the only bird that can fly...

  • What Time of Year Do Wild Birds Lay Eggs?

    Wild birds lay eggs when environmental conditions are best for providing adequate shelter and food for building nests and feeding their young....

  • How to Tell Female & Male Hummingbirds Apart

    With over 300 distinct species, the hummingbird is a very diverse creature. Fortunately, all hummingbird species have certain characteristics -- such as...

  • How to Breed & Hatch Hummingbird Eggs

    Breeding hummingbirds in captivity is a very difficult process limited to zoo exhibits and large aviaries. Raising hummingbirds requires a special permit...

  • How Do Hummingbirds Migrate?

    Hummingbirds migrate from the north, usually Canada and New England, to the south, in Florida and Mexico, for the winter months. Find...

  • How Do Hummingbirds Reproduce?

    Hummingbirds reproduce after the males put on a flashy flight display for the females, and the females stay with the eggs and...

  • How Many Eggs Do Hummingbirds Lay?

    Hummingbirds lay two eggs at a time for each season, and a female can lay up to 12 eggs in a lifetime....

  • How Do Hummingbirds Behave?

    Hummingbirds behave in a certain way to survive, as their purpose is to sip nectar, mate, reproduce and sometimes to migrate. Understand...

  • Where Do Hummingbirds Sleep?

    Hummingbirds sleep where they can perch on a tree branch at nighttime, which is when they enter a torpor state of temporary...

  • How Do I Make Hummingbird Food?

    Hummingbird food can be made simply by boiling 4 cups of water for five minutes, adding 1 cup of sugar and waiting...

  • Do Birds Mate in the Air?

    A bird that mates in the air is the falcon, which flies to the highest height it can and mates while falling...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!