Many people tend to perceive the hummingbird as constantly needing to eat. This is not entirely accurate. Yes, hummingbirds do possess extremely high metabolic rates, but the hummingbird does not eat constantly. On average, a hummingbird will eat between 5-8 times an hour with each feeding lasting about 30 seconds in length.
The amount of nectar that a hummingbird must intake each day is dependent on a number of factors including activity level, air temperature, quality of available resources, and time of year. The hummingbird will require one and a half times its body weight in nectar to meet its daily energy needs.
The hummingbird can digest nectar very rapidly and efficiently. The nectar will pass entirely through the hummingbird’s digestive system in less than 20 minutes!
Due to the large amount of fluid a hummingbird will intake each day, a hummingbird’s daily urine output may exceed 80 percent of its body weight, whenever nectar is found to be plentiful.
Even though they have an extremely high metabolic rate, hummingbirds do not eat until they are full at every opportunity. During daylight hours, the hummingbird will eat frequently for short periods of time. At night, the hummingbird will eat as heavily as the nectar supply will allow. The hummingbird may store a third of its weight in nectar to ensure that it will survive its overnight fast while maintaining its normal resting metabolic rate.
I hope you have found this information about the hummingbird’s dependence on nectar informative. Was there anything mentioned in this post that came as a surprise to you? Do you have a comment you would like to make? Please feel free to do so.