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How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

A hummingbird usually lives for about 5 years, but some have lived more than 10 years. But most hummingbirds don't live beyond a year after they hatch.

Yukihiro Nakajima
Yukihiro Nakajima
Oct 31, 202314Shares6.7KViews
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  1. How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?
  2. The Hummingbird Life Cycle
  3. How Old Is The Oldest Living Ruby-throated Hummingbird?
  4. How Do Most Hummingbirds Die?
How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

These tiny, captivating creatures are a delight to watch in our gardens, but have you ever wondered about their lifespan?

A hummingbirdusually lives for about 5 years, but some have lived more than 10 years. But most hummingbirds don't live beyond a year after they hatch. In very special cases, some hummingbirds have been observed to reach an age of over ten years.

Hummingbirds fly around 25-30 miles per hour and can even reach up to 50 miles per hour when they dive. During their migration, some hummingbirds travel a remarkable distance of over 2,000 miles twice a year.

How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

Determining how long wild birds, like hummingbirds, live can be tricky, but it's clear that life is tough for them. Like many other birds, most hummingbirds don't survive their first year, which is a vulnerable time. Even if they make it past that critical first year, their chances of living a long life are low.

Data from Pennsylvania's Powdermill Nature Reserve, where birds are banded, shows that only about 31 percent of adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and 42 percent of females survive each year. This suggests that most hummingbirds live only a few years at most.

Some lucky hummingbirds, however, manage to live surprisingly long lives. Among North American hummingbirds, the longest known lifespans include a Black-chinned Hummingbird that was at least 11 years old when captured and the record-holder, a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird that was first banded in Colorado as an adult in 1976 and recaptured in 1987, which means she lived for at least 12 years.

The Hummingbird Life Cycle

Hummingbirds have very short lives, which means they only have a few chances to have babies. Males put on fancy flying displays to impress females, and one male can mate with several females in the spring.

After that, it's up to the females. They build nests, take care of their eggs, and feed their baby hummingbirds all by themselves. The baby birds eat nectar and tiny insects for a few weeks until they're ready to go off independently.

How Old Is The Oldest Living Ruby-throated Hummingbird?

How long do hummingbirds usually live? Well, the oldest recorded ruby-throated hummingbird was 9 years and 1 month old. She was found, recovered, and released again in West Virginia.

Usually, male hummingbirds don't live beyond 5 years, but females tend to live longer. Male hummingbirds might live less long because they lose weight during the breeding season, have to defend their territory energetically and go through migration.

How Do Most Hummingbirds Die?

Hummingbirds can face many dangers that lead to their deaths. These dangers include predators like fast raptors such as sharp-shinned hawks and Mississippi kites. They can also be hunted by outdoor cats while they sit or sleep on a perch or when busy with tasks like reproducing or looking for food.

In their tropical winter homes, hummingbirds may have to deal with predators like lizards and snakes. Nests can be attacked by bats, squirrels, and chipmunks. Additionally, habitat degradation and the use of pesticides are artificial barriers that harm hummingbird populations. These challenges make life tough for these tiny birds.

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