Why Hummingbird Flight is Unique

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by hummingbirds and throughout my life I have so many fond memories of watching the hummingbirds with my family, particularly my mom, while sitting on the back porch of my parents’ home. The hummingbird’s unique aerial displays and amazing flight maneuvers have always captivated my attention, and so writing this post brings to mind many found memories of observing these things with my mom. Once I began my journey to discover as much knowledge about hummingbirds as possible, I wanted to know as much as possible about the unique nature of hummingbird flight. This post will provide you some insight into what makes the flight of hummingbirds so unique and therefore fascinating.

The hummingbird is the only species bird which possesses the ability to fly forwards, backwards, up, down, sideways, or sit in sheer space. A hummingbird has the ability to sit in sheer space because of its unique ability to rotate its wings in a full circle, which is something that no other species of bird can do. A hummingbird’s wings will beat 22-78 times per second while the bird is in flight.

The hummingbird also possesses the ability to flight backwards. The hummingbird is able to do so by spreading their tail and then doing a backwards somersault. The pectoral or flight muscles account for a whopping 1/4 of the hummingbird’s its total body weight. By comparison a human’s pectoral muscles account for 5 percent of our total body weight.

Another thing that absolutely fascinates me about the nature of hummingbird flight is the hummingbird’s ability to hover. Whenever hovering, the hummingbird will move their wings forward and backwards in a repeated figure eight. Hummingbirds are known for their ability to hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 15–80 times per second (depending on the species). Capable of sustained hovering, hummingbirds also have the ability to fly backward, being the only group of birds able to do so.

If you should ever witness a hummingbird fly upside down for a short distance do not be surprised because the hummingbird has the ability to do so. This maneuver is known as a trick rollover and hummingbirds will use it whenever they are trying to evade being attacked by another bird.

As you can see, the flight ability of the hummingbird is also unique in a number of ways which helps to make this subject quite fascinating. I hope that you too will also have a greater appreciation for the unique nature of hummingbird flight.