What Birds Eat Hummingbirds

Last Updated on April 19, 2023 by

As an avian nutritionist, I am often asked about the dietary habits of hummingbirds. One question that commonly arises is whether or not other birds prey on these small and delicate creatures. The answer may surprise you.

While it is true that there are some species of birds that will occasionally feed on hummingbirds, such instances are relatively rare. In fact, most birds do not view hummingbirds as a viable food source due to their size and agility in flight. However, there are a few notable exceptions, which we will explore further in this article. So if you’re curious about what birds eat hummingbirds, read on to discover more about this fascinating topic!

Hunting Behavior Among Birds

Birds are fascinating creatures, and their hunting behavior is an intricate part of their survival. They hunt for food to fuel their body’s energy needs, and this includes the consumption of other birds. Predatory birds such as hawks, falcons, and eagles have sharp talons that they use to grab their prey mid-air or on land.

While some predatory birds can catch hummingbirds, it isn’t a common occurrence due to the tiny size and agility of these small birds. However, larger bird species like roadrunners and shrikes have been known to prey on hummingbirds by impaling them onto thorns or spikes for easier feeding. Additionally, snakes may also consume hummingbirds if given the opportunity.

Understanding the hunting behaviors among birds is crucial in determining potential threats to various bird species’ populations. Researchers continue to study avian behavior patterns to help protect endangered bird species from becoming prey themselves. In the following section, we will discuss more about what hummingbirds eat in detail.

The Diet Of Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds, being one of the smallest birds in the world, have a unique diet that sets them apart from their avian counterparts. They are known to feed on nectar produced by flowers, tree sap, and insects such as mosquitoes and fruit flies. However, it is important to note that not all hummingbird species have the same food preferences.

Some species of hummingbirds are specialized in feeding on specific types of flowers while others may rely heavily on consuming small arthropods for protein. For instance, the Bee Hummingbird feeds mainly on nectar and pollen but supplements its diet with spiders’ eggs and soft-bodied insects like aphids when available. On the other hand, the Rufous Hummingbird relies majorly on flower nectar for energy during migration season but will also hunt down small flying insects like gnats and midges.

As an expert in avian nutrition, I recommend providing hummingbirds with a varied diet consisting of different types of flowers rich in nectar or sugar water mixed with protein-based foods like mealworms or ants’ larvae. This ensures they get all essential nutrients required for growth and reproduction throughout their lifespan.

  • Here are five interesting facts about the unique dietary habits of hummingbirds:

  • Some species can consume up to twice their body weight in food per day.

  • The tongue structure of hummingbirds allows them to extend it deep into tubular flowers to reach hidden nectar sources.

  • Hummingbirds have been observed licking spider webs to obtain trapped insects stuck within them.

  • During periods when flowering plants are scarce, some species resort to drinking tree sap from holes drilled by woodpeckers

  • Certain hummingbird species migrate thousands of miles each year relying solely on flower nectar as a source of energy.

Now that we know what hummers eat let’s shift our focus towards common predators that pose a threat to these tiny birds.

Common Predators Of Hummingbirds

As we discussed in the previous section, hummingbirds have a unique diet consisting mostly of nectar and insects. However, as with any animal species, they too are susceptible to predators that can endanger their lives. It is important to understand these common predators so that we can take steps to protect our feathered friends.

One predator that often preys on hummingbirds is larger birds such as hawks or falcons. These birds of prey target smaller animals for food, and unfortunately hummingbirds fall within their sights. While it may seem like an unfair fight, there are ways we can prevent this from happening. By placing bird feeders closer to trees or other areas where they can hide if threatened, we decrease the likelihood of them becoming easy targets.

Another potential threat to hummingbirds comes from snakes. Snakes will often climb up near bird feeders in order to catch unsuspecting prey. To prevent this from happening, be sure to clear away any brush or debris around your feeder area so that you reduce the amount of cover available for snakes.

Lastly, domestic cats pose a significant danger to hummingbirds because of their natural hunting instincts. Even indoor cats have been known to attack birds through windows or screens when left unattended. If you own a cat and enjoy feeding hummingbirds in your yard, make sure you keep a close eye on them at all times.

As you can see, there are many different predators that threaten the safety of our beloved hummingbirds. By taking simple steps such as providing shelter and eliminating potential hiding spots for predators, we can help ensure the survival of these beautiful creatures for generations to come.
Moving forward into the next section about sharp-shinned hawks – one particularly common predator – it’s important to note that these raptors are skilled hunters capable of catching even the most elusive prey.

Sharp-Shinned Hawks

Sharp-Shinned Hawks are one of the most common predators of hummingbirds. These hawks have a slender body, long tail and short wings which allow them to dart through trees with great agility. They can easily catch prey in flight or on the ground.

As an avian nutritionist/expert, it is important to understand that Sharp-Shinned Hawks prefer smaller birds like finches and sparrows but will not hesitate to attack hummingbirds if they come across them. They usually hunt during the day by surprise attacking their prey from above, while flying at high speed.

It’s crucial for hummingbird enthusiasts to be aware of this potential predator in order to take appropriate measures such as providing cover near feeders or moving feeders closer to windows so hawks cannot swoop down undetected. Additionally, keeping cats indoors and trimming bushes around birdfeeders can also help protect these delicate creatures.

  • To deter sharp-shinned hawks, try hanging reflective items around your yard such as old CDs or mirrors.
  • Planting thick shrubs around feeding areas provides natural protection against hawk attacks.
  • Provide multiple feeding stations in different locations so hummingbirds aren’t all congregated in one vulnerable spot.
  • Consider using netting over your feeder area to prevent hawks from being able to dive down onto unsuspecting birds.
  • Regularly clean feeders and surrounding areas to reduce odors that may attract predators.

Moving on from Sharp-Shinned Hawks, let’s explore another bird species known for preying on small birds – American Kestrels.

American Kestrels

American Kestrels are small, colorful birds of prey that can be found throughout North America. They are known for their incredible hunting skills and ability to catch various types of prey, including insects, rodents, lizards, and even other small birds.

While American Kestrels primarily feed on smaller prey items, there have been documented cases of them attacking hummingbirds. This is most likely due to competition for resources in areas where both species coexist. However, it is important to note that these instances are relatively rare and should not cause concern for those who enjoy feeding hummingbirds.

In terms of nutrition, American Kestrels require a diet rich in protein and fats to maintain their high energy levels and hunting abilities. Their natural diet consists mainly of small mammals and insects, but they can also benefit from supplemental food sources such as mice or day-old chicks when kept in captivity.


As the saying goes, "big things come in small packages." This is certainly true for merlins, a species of bird that preys on hummingbirds. These compact raptors are known for their agile flight and lightning-fast hunting techniques.

Merlins primarily feed on smaller birds such as sparrows and finches, but they have been observed catching hummingbirds as well. Due to their size and speed, merlins are able to quickly swoop down and snatch up these tiny creatures mid-flight. It’s important to note that while merlins may occasionally target hummingbirds, this is not their main source of prey.

Despite being formidable predators themselves, merlins also face threats from other larger birds of prey such as peregrine falcons. These powerful falcons are known for their incredible speeds and impressive hunting abilities. While they do not typically hunt hummingbirds, they pose a significant threat to smaller raptors like merlins.

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Transition: With both merlins and peregrine falcons posing risks to other avian species, it’s clear that competition for resources can be intense in the world of birds. However, understanding the intricacies of each species’ diet can provide valuable insight into how different organisms interact with one another in nature.

Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine Falcons are raptors that primarily feed on other birds and mammals, so hummingbirds are definitely on the menu. They have a wide range of habitats, from mountainous regions to shorelines and even urban areas. As for their diet, they are opportunistic predators, so their nutrition depends on the availability of their prey. In general, they mostly consume small to mid-sized birds, such as doves, pigeons, and starlings.

Peregrine Falcons Diet

Are you curious about what Peregrine Falcons eat? As an avian nutritionist, I can tell you that they are formidable hunters and their diet consists mainly of other birds. In fact, one of the few predators of hummingbirds is the Peregrine Falcon.

The preferred prey for Peregrine Falcons includes pigeons, doves, and songbirds such as jays and sparrows. They will also hunt ducks, geese, and even bats if given the opportunity. Their hunting technique involves flying at high speeds up to 240 miles per hour before diving down on their unsuspecting prey with incredible force.

Although small in size compared to some of their larger prey items, hummingbirds are not immune to being hunted by these impressive raptors. However, it’s important to note that this is not a common occurrence as hummingbirds have evolved to be incredibly agile fliers with quick reflexes allowing them to avoid most predators.

So there you have it – while Peregrine Falcons may occasionally target hummingbirds as part of their diverse diet, these tiny birds are generally safe from predation due to their unique abilities in flight.

Habitat Of Peregrine Falcons

As an avian nutritionist, I have studied the behavior and habits of Peregrine Falcons extensively. One crucial aspect that affects their survival is their habitat. Peregrine Falcons are known to inhabit a diverse range of environments, including coastal cliffs, mountain ranges, and even urban areas.

In North America, these raptors can be found nesting on high-rise buildings in cities such as New York City and Toronto. This adaptation allows them to take advantage of the abundance of pigeons and other prey species that thrive in urban environments. However, they also require undisturbed areas for breeding and raising young.

Peregrine Falcons prefer open spaces with suitable nest sites and clear flyways for hunting. They often make use of natural features like cliff ledges or man-made structures such as bridges or tall buildings for nesting purposes. Understanding the habitat requirements of these impressive hunters is crucial for conservation efforts aimed at preserving healthy populations across different regions worldwide.


Owls are fascinating birds of prey that belong to the Strigiformes order. These nocturnal hunters have sharp talons and beaks, which they use to capture their prey silently at night. While owls primarily feed on rodents, insects, reptiles, and small mammals, some larger species can also hunt other birds.

Despite being formidable hunters themselves, owls can occasionally fall victim to predation by larger raptors such as eagles or hawks. However, it is rare for an owl to eat a hummingbird due to its size and agility in flight. Hummingbirds are swift flyers that can easily outmaneuver most predators, including owls.

It’s important to note that while owls may not eat hummingbirds often, there are still many threats facing these tiny birds. Habitat loss and destruction from human activities like deforestation and urbanization pose significant risks to hummingbird populations worldwide.

  • Owls have excellent vision and hearing abilities that help them detect even the slightest movements of their prey.

  • Some owl species can consume up to 1/3 of their body weight per day!

  • Owls regurgitate indigestible parts of their prey such as bones and fur in pellets.

  • In recent years, efforts have been made to reduce the impact of human activities on hummingbird habitats through conservation programs and education initiatives.

As we move forward in exploring avian nutrition further let us now dive into another intriguing bird – Roadrunners.


Roadrunners are a type of bird that belong to the cuckoo family. They are known for their incredible speed and agility, which allows them to capture prey with ease. While they primarily feed on insects and small animals like lizards and snakes, roadrunners have been known to eat other birds as well.

In terms of hummingbirds specifically, roadrunners may occasionally target them if they are within reach. However, this is not a common occurrence as hummingbirds typically stay high up in trees or flit around too quickly for a predator like a roadrunner to catch. Plus, hummingbirds tend to be quite territorial and aggressive towards other birds, so they often avoid potentially dangerous situations altogether.

Overall, while it’s possible for roadrunners to eat hummingbirds, it’s not something that happens very frequently. These birds mostly stick to their preferred diet of insects and smaller creatures that are easier for them to catch and consume. In the next section, we’ll take a look at another bird species that has been known to prey on hummingbirds – woodpeckers.


Moving on from our discussion of Roadrunners, let us now delve into the eating habits of Woodpeckers. These birds are known for their unique feeding strategies and can often be found drilling holes in trees to hunt insects. However, when it comes to hummingbirds, woodpeckers are not a major threat.

While some species of woodpeckers have been observed preying upon small birds such as chickadees or nuthatches, they rarely target hummingbirds. This is because hummingbirds are much faster than other small birds and possess incredible maneuverability that makes them difficult targets for predators like woodpeckers. Additionally, hummingbirds tend to feed high up in flowers or trees where woodpeckers cannot reach them easily.

It’s important to note that while woodpeckers may not typically prey on hummingbirds, there are still many other bird species that pose a threat to these tiny creatures. From hawks and falcons to larger songbirds like jays and grackles, there are numerous avian predators that will attack hummingbirds if given the opportunity. As such, it’s crucial for backyard bird enthusiasts to take steps to protect their beloved hummers from potential harm.

With this in mind, we’ll now move onto the next section where we’ll discuss some effective ways of preventing bird attacks on hummingbirds. By implementing these measures, you can ensure your feathered friends remain safe and healthy throughout the year!

Preventing Bird Attacks On Hummingbirds

I recommend hanging feeders away from trees and other perches that predators can use to launch an attack. Planting shrubs around the feeders can also provide additional protection from birds of prey. Additionally, placing nets around the feeders can be an effective way to keep them away from hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are a favorite among predators, so it’s important to take preventative measures to protect them. With the right precautions, we can ensure that hummingbirds are safe from attack. Let’s work together to ensure their safety and survival!

Hanging Feeders

Have you ever wondered why hanging feeders are such a popular choice for bird enthusiasts? Well, let me tell you! Hanging feeders not only provide birds with easy access to food, but they also help prevent attacks on hummingbirds. As an avian nutritionist/expert, I highly recommend using hanging feeders to reduce the risk of predators attacking your precious hummingbirds.

Many predatory birds have learned that hummingbird feeders can be an easy source of food. By positioning your feeder high up and away from branches or structures that could allow predators to hide, you will create a safer environment for your delicate hummingbirds. This is where hanging feeders come in handy. You can easily hang them on hooks or poles without having to worry about placing them near any potential hiding spots for predators.

In addition to its safety benefits, hanging feeders also offer greater convenience when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. They are easier to reach and clean than ground-based feeding stations, which ultimately leads to healthier and happier birds. So if you want to protect your beloved hummingbirds while ensuring their health and wellbeing, consider investing in a sturdy and reliable hanging feeder today!

Planting Shrubs

Now that we have discussed the benefits of using hanging feeders to prevent bird attacks on hummingbirds, let’s talk about another effective method: planting shrubs. As an avian nutritionist/expert, I highly recommend incorporating shrubs into your yard or garden as a means of creating natural barriers and hiding spots for birds.

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Shrubs provide excellent coverage for feeding stations, making it more difficult for predators to ambush unsuspecting birds. They also create natural hiding spots where birds can take refuge if they sense danger nearby. By strategically placing shrubs around your feeder area, you will create a safer environment for your delicate hummingbirds while providing them with the necessary cover and protection against potential attackers.

It is important to choose the right type of shrub when considering this option. Opt for species with dense foliage and branches that are closer to the ground, such as holly bushes or boxwoods. These types of plants not only offer great coverage but also attract insects which serve as additional food sources for birds. So why not add some beautiful greenery to your yard while keeping your beloved hummingbirds safe at the same time?

Placing Nets

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of using hanging feeders and planting shrubs to protect hummingbirds from bird attacks, let’s discuss another effective method: placing nets. As an avian nutritionist/expert, I highly recommend this approach as it can provide a physical barrier against predators.

Placing nets over your feeder area prevents larger birds or other animals from reaching the feeding station, thus protecting your hummingbirds from potential danger. This method also allows for easy monitoring of the feeding area since any attackers will be caught in the netting, making them easier to identify and remove if necessary.

When choosing a net, make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand various weather conditions and strong enough to deter larger predators. It should also have small openings so that smaller birds like hummingbirds can easily access their food while keeping out unwanted visitors. By incorporating this technique into your backyard setup, you can create a safe environment for these delicate creatures without compromising on their natural habitat.

In conclusion, there are several ways to prevent bird attacks on hummingbirds such as using hanging feeders, planting shrubs, and placing nets. Each option has its unique advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference and what works best for your particular situation. By taking proactive measures to safeguard your feathered friends, you’ll ensure that they continue to thrive in a secure environment.

Conclusion: Understanding The Complexities Of Avian Ecology

The intricacies of avian ecology are vast and complex, much like the intricate feathers on a peacock’s tail. Understanding the interactions between different bird species is essential to maintaining balance in our ecosystem. While some may think of birds as simple creatures that fly around and sing pretty songs, there is so much more going on beneath the surface.

One aspect of avian ecology that often goes overlooked is nutrition. Birds must consume specific nutrients to survive, just like any other animal. However, their unique physiology requires certain types of food that can only be found in specific habitats or prey items. For example, raptors need high levels of protein for muscle development and energy production, while seed-eating birds require carbohydrates for quick bursts of flight.

To truly understand the complexities of avian ecology, we must consider all aspects of a bird’s life cycle, from egg to adult. This includes habitat selection, migration patterns, predator-prey relationships, and even social behaviors. By studying these factors together, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of how each species fits into its environment and ultimately contribute to preserving the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystems.

  • Four interesting facts about avian nutrition:
  • Hummingbirds have one of the highest metabolisms among animals due to their constant wing flapping.
  • Owls regurgitate pellets consisting of undigested bones and fur after eating small mammals.
  • Some seabirds rely almost entirely on fish oil for energy during long flights over vast oceans.
  • Certain songbirds have been known to eat toxic monarch butterflies without being affected by their poisonous chemicals.

Through careful study and observation, it becomes clear that every bird plays an important role in shaping its environment. From pollinating flowers to controlling insect populations, they provide vital services that directly impact human societies as well. As such, it is crucial that we continue to learn more about avian ecology so we can protect these fascinating creatures and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Hummingbird?

As an avian nutritionist, I can tell you that the average lifespan of a hummingbird varies greatly depending on species and habitat. Generally speaking, most hummingbirds live between 3 to 5 years in the wild, while some captive individuals have been known to live up to 10 years or more. Factors that influence their lifespan include access to food sources, predators, diseases, climate change and human activity. With proper care and attention given to these factors by humans who share their environment with them, we can help ensure the longevity of these fascinating creatures for generations to come.

How Do Hummingbirds Mate?

How do hummingbirds mate? This is a question that often comes up when discussing these magnificent creatures. Hummingbirds are known for their unique and intricate mating rituals, which involve elaborate displays of aerial acrobatics and vocalizations. During courtship, males will perform daring dives and swoops in front of females in an effort to impress them with their agility and speed. Once the female has chosen her mate, they will engage in a brief but intense period of copulation before going their separate ways. While the lifespan of a hummingbird may be short, their passion and energy during mating season is truly remarkable.

What Is The Migratory Pattern Of Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures, known for their incredible wing speed and ability to hover in mid-air. But did you know that they also have an impressive migratory pattern? These tiny birds travel great distances each year, flying from Central and South America all the way up to North America and even Alaska. Along the way, they stop at various points to refuel on nectar from flowers and feeders. It’s important for us as humans to provide these fuel sources for them, especially during their long journeys. By doing so, we can help ensure the continued success of these amazing little birds.

How Do Hummingbirds Communicate With Each Other?

Listen closely, fellow avian enthusiasts. The world of hummingbirds is full of secrets waiting to be discovered. One question that has piqued our curiosity: how do these feathered wonders communicate with each other? Well, let me tell you – it’s a symphony unlike any other. Hummingbirds use chirps and trills to convey messages ranging from territorial warnings to mating calls. These tiny creatures are masters of vocalization, ensuring their survival in the wild through effective communication strategies. It truly is a marvel to behold!

What Is The Role Of Hummingbirds In Pollination?

As an avian nutritionist, I can tell you that hummingbirds play a crucial role in pollination. They have long beaks and tongues that enable them to reach deep into flowers for nectar, while simultaneously picking up and depositing pollen on their feathers. This makes them important pollinators for many plant species, especially those with tubular-shaped flowers. Without the help of hummingbirds, these plants would struggle to reproduce and maintain genetic diversity. So next time you see a tiny hummingbird buzzing around your garden, know that they are doing much more than just looking pretty – they’re helping to keep our ecosystems thriving!


As an avian nutritionist, it is my duty to educate bird enthusiasts about the various aspects of birds’ lives. Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures that have captured our hearts with their beautiful colors and unique characteristics. Did you know that some species of birds eat hummingbirds? Yes, that’s right! Despite being speedy little flyers, there are predators out there who see these tiny birds as a meal.

However, before you start panicking about your beloved backyard visitors getting eaten by other birds, let me assure you that such occurrences are rare. In fact, most threats to hummingbirds come from natural factors like climate change or habitat loss. So when you’re filling up your feeder for your feathered friends, remember that they rely on us humans for their survival too. Let’s do our part in protecting these magnificent creatures and ensuring their continued existence in nature. After all, where would we be without the joy of seeing a vibrant hummingbird flit among our flowers?

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