so how do baby hummingbirds look like?

Well, that entirely depends on the species of the hummingbird.  Their nests are so small and well camouflaged that it is very difficult to trace and find the baby hummingbirds. They are born naked and eventually grow pin-like feathers that resemble porcupine spines after ten days. Some are born with a yellow strand that runs down their backs. The baby hummingbirds are dark-skinned. The hummingbirds are born blind and only open their eyes after a few days. The hummingbirds are born short beaks, unlike the long-pointed beaks of their parents.

ゴスロリ, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

What is the size of the baby hummingbirds?

Baby hummingbirds begin life as the smallest eggs in the world. It’s truly a wonder of nature how they develop from such tiny eggs. The eggs weigh approximately 0.62 grams and are less than an inch long. The size and weight of baby hummingbirds vary with the species. The eggs of a hummingbird are the size of a coffee bean. Averagely the chicks are about an inch long and weigh about 62 grams at the time of birth. When they are born, they are the size of a jellybean. When leaving the nest, the baby hummingbirds are usually larger than their mother, who considerably lose some weight due to the stress of raising a young one.

How do the baby hummingbirds feed?

Hummingbirds are voracious eaters and spend most of their time feeding. Baby hummingbird mostly feeds on nectar from flowers. The sugar from nectar provides energy for the birds. Hummingbirds, more so the growing chicks, need protein in their diet to grow healthy. At their early stages of life, the mother hummingbird is responsible for feeding their young ones. They fly out of the nests and forage for arthropods and bugs for their nestlings. Hummingbirds feed on mosquitoes, aphids, spiders, caterpillars, insect eggs, gnats, fruit flies, and small bees.


The baby hummingbird detects their mother when they feel the wind from her wings. They automatically lift their heads and open their mouths, and then the mother inserts her beak deposits the partially digested burgs and nectar into the nestlings’ throats. The baby hummingbirds need to feed every twenty minutes for healthy growth. This is quite hectic for the mother and explains why they lose weight after the chicks are hatched. By the time the baby hummingbird leaves the nest, the mother is usually 2.5 grams in weight, down from about 6 grams. The mother hummingbird feeds her chicks for about ten days to 21 days.

The baby hummingbirds start to leave the nest around twenty-one days after they hatch. However, the mother hummingbird continues to feed the chicks for a while when they start leaving the nest to do their own forage.

Development of baby hummingbirds

Young hummingbirds develop rapidly in body size and weight. After about a week after they hatch, the growing nestlings will be covered with fuzzy feathers that look like a hedgehog or porcupine spikes. They are born blind and develop their sight after a week.  On average, the chicks’ eyes take nine days to open after they have hatched. Even after opening, the chicks have poor night vision making it difficult for them to see very well in the dark.

After birth, the baby hummingbirds can not regulate their own body temperature. The mother takes care of them by sitting on them and covering the chicks with her feathers when it is cold. After growing their feathers, the baby hummingbird starts regulating their temperature. The hummingbirds have a heartbeat averaging 1260 beats per minute.

After two weeks from birth, the baby hummingbirds start looking more like small adult hummingbirds. At this time, they have grown real feathers, and their beaks are often longer. Baby hummingbirds are considered fully mature and independent adults after one month.

BABY HUMMINGBIRD IN NEST Mike’s Birds from Riverside, CA, US, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When do hummingbirds start flying?

Hummingbirds cannot walk; instead, they hover around and fly. Baby hummingbirds cannot fly as the feathers are not fully developed. They spend most of their time lying in their nests. The baby hummingbirds start flying when they are about three weeks old. Their short tail feathers enable them to fledge around. You might confuse a fledgling bird for an injured bird because of the way they move. This should not cause any alarm. When they develop their ability to fly, their speed ranges between 25 to 30 meters per hour.

The hummingbird can flap their wings up to 100 times per second. This is possible as the birds are quite small, and their wings are small too, making it easy for them to flap their wings more rapidly. The sound of the birds’ wings flapping rapidly was the source of the name hummingbirds. Baby hummingbirds have fewer feathers than other birds.

The mother mostly accompanies the baby hummingbird when it’s fledgling and takes her time to teach them how to catch insects on the fly and where to find nectar. The baby hummingbirds can fly up, down, sideways, and backward. The hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward. The baby hummingbirds learn this technique as they mature up.

Do baby hummingbirds have a sense of smell?

Hummingbirds, unlike many animals, do not have a sense of smell. It is impossible for the baby birds to detect any foul smell or smell from a human being. Some people say that when you touch a baby hummingbird, the parent will reject it as it detects the human smell. That’s only a myth, and it is not true. Do not be afraid to touch a baby bird with the fear that it will be rejected by its mother. If you come across a stray baby hummingbird, carefully pick it up and place it in the nearby nest as the mother might be around. You can also consider taking it with you and take care of it till the baby bird grows. It is advisable to sit quietly in a secluded area for about an hour and watch to see if the mother will appear to pick the baby before making a decision to take the baby hummingbird with you.

Do baby hummingbirds sing?

Nestlings do not sing when they are hatched. With time the baby hummingbirds Twitter and chirp depending on the species. Unlike other birds, the hummingbirds do not sing at all.

Lifespan of hummingbirds

The life expectancy of hummingbirds varies with the species. Most of them die within their first year of life. Hummingbirds are considered fully mature after a year. The life expectancy of hummingbirds goes up dramatically after it survives its first year.  Generally, a hummingbird’s lifespan is between three to four years.

Hummingbirds living in the tropics have a significantly longer lifespan than birds in cooler areas. Some of the birds live up to a decade. The larger species of hummingbirds have a longer life expectancy. Examples include giant hummingbirds and Buff-bellied hummingbirds. The oldest hummingbird was recorded to have existed for twelve years.

Baby hummingbirds mostly die as a result of harsh environmental conditions and lack of proper adaptation to their habitats. Many others die a slow and painful death due to starvation. The changing climates and decreasing food sources for the birds have adversely affected their life expectancy. Urbanization also plays a key role in the destruction of hummingbird-friendly habitats.

Hummingbirds hatching

Hummingbirds begin mating and reproducing when they are a year old. According to research, male hummingbirds do not take part in nesting. As soon as the male and female hummingbird mate, the male hummingbird’s involvement in reproduction and nesting seizes. The female hummingbird views the male hummingbird as a potential threat to the nestlings considering their bright yellow feathers. They are likely to attract predators to the nest due to their brightly colored feathers. The female hummingbirds are fiercely territorial, especially during their nesting period.

The female hummingbird searches for a suitable place for her nest, often on top of branches of tall trees or on bushes and shrubs where they are well camouflaged.  The female hummingbird builds a nest with spiderwebs and plant parts and lays eggs in it within a few days. The eggs of a hummingbird are very tiny, ranging around eight by 13 millimeters, and are white. They have between one to three broods every year. In mild climates, hummingbirds can lay eggs during any month of the year. In cool climates, the hummingbirds mostly lay eggs in the summer and autumn seasons, whereby the temperatures are a bit high. They mainly lay two eggs and occasionally one at a turn because it is believed that a hummingbird can only care for two chicks at a time.

Incubation can last 14 to 23 days depending on the hummingbird species, the temperature of the area, and the attentiveness of the female hummingbird to the nest. In cold climates, the hummingbird eggs take longer to hatch than in warm temperatures. The egg that was laid first hatches first since the mother starts incubating the first egg as soon as it is laid. The baby hummingbird has strong neck muscles and a sharp hook on its short bill while still in the egg. This adaptation helps the baby hummingbird to peck their way out of the egg. The mother hummingbird keeps her nestlings warm by sitting on the nest. The female feeds her nestlings on small arthropods and nectar. The nestlings double their mass by the third day and again double on the fifth and eighth day. Baby hummingbirds stay in the nest for 18 to 22 days till they are completely grown. After that, they leave the nest and forage on their own. The mother bird may continue to feed her nestlings for another 25 days.

Domesticating hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are beautiful birds, and one might want to domesticate them for aesthetic value. You will love having the tiny birds around you and your kids as they are adorable to look at. Hummingbirds are on the top list of nicest and adorable birds in the world. Despite being aggressive with other birds, the hummingbirds are quite submissive to human beings. The baby hummingbirds are extremely small and require extreme care for survival.

The hummingbirds need nectar, and it’s, therefore, advisable to plant a garden for your hummingbirds. Ensure the flowers are colorful to attract the hummingbirds. It’s important to note that the hummingbirds are attracted to the color red more. It is important to always remember this while preparing your garden. Examples of flowers attractive to the hummingbirds include the red bee balm, honeysuckle, red hollyhocks, cardinal flowers, coral bells, among others. Your baby hummingbirds will definitely love the nectar from the flowers.

You can feed the baby hummingbird a solution of sugar and water if there is no nectar available. The ratio of sugar to water should be 1:4 tablespoons. Feed this solution to the bird every half an hour.

Avoid touch the baby birds a lot and do it only when it’s necessary as they are very small and delicate. It’s very easy to injure them, especially by breaking their tiny feet.


Hummingbirds are small birds belonging to the taxonomic family Trochilidae. The birds are divided into two subfamilies: Phaethornithinae, which consists of the hermits, and subfamily Trochillinae which comprises all other typical hummingbirds. The hermits contain 37 species of hummingbirds widely distributed from southern Mexico, through Central America to South America as far as northern Argentina. The Trochillinae family consists of about 284 species of hummingbirds.

The name hummingbird is derived from the superior humming sound its wingbeats make when fling or hovering around. The humming is a form of communication to alert other birds of the arrival of a fellow forager or a potential mate.


The hummingbirds, more so the chicks, are a true wonder of nature. Their development is adorable, considering how tiny they are at the time they are hatched.