Do Hummingbirds Mate for Life? Discover the Relationships of These Wonderful Birds

Hummingbird Mating
© Frank Cone from Pexels, OGphoto from Getty Images Signature, and Iuliia_Syrotina_28 from Getty Images/ via Canva.com

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: April 6, 2024

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Hummingbirds are some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. They are these tiny birds that fly around and take the nectar out of flowers. Humans are fascinated by these creatures. Scientists know so many facts about these beautiful birds, including that there are more than 350 species out there. We all know some birds mate for life and that can be a beautiful thing. Most animals in the animal kingdom, however, do not do that. So the question remains, do hummingbirds mate for life? No, hummingbirds do not mate for life. They may be around each other’s lives for a period of time, but not for life. But let’s get into more detail. Let’s explore the relationships of these wonderful birds.

About Hummingbirds

Male ruby-throated hummingbird

Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward.

©williamhc/iStock via Getty Images

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. They are native to the American continents — both North and South — and only roam around in the western part of the world. There are around 366 species of hummingbirds, and of those, 21 are either endangered or at risk of endangerment. Hummingbirds flap their wings at a whopping speed, ranging from 12 beats per second to 80 beats per second. 

Do Hummingbirds Mate for Life?

Rufous-breasted Hummingbird

The Rufous hummingbird is known to migrate the farthest of any North American hummingbird — 4,000 miles north from Mexico to Alaska.

©Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

The simple answer is no, hummingbirds do not mate for life. The more detailed answer is that hummingbirds just mate for a few minutes. Usually, hummingbirds —  both male and female —  have several mates throughout their lives. The reality of the matter is that after mating, the male flies away and maybe even finds another female to mate with. Females stay around to build nests for their young.

Hummingbird Courtships

Black-Chinned Hummingbird Searching for Nectar Among the Blue Flowers

Even though there are 350 species of hummingbirds in the world, only about 15 are found in the United States.

©rck_953/Shutterstock.com

Male hummingbirds are usually the prettier birds. They have beautiful colors that they use to attract females. They dive and do all sorts of spectacular flying, which is called displaying so that females get attracted to them and they can mate. After the meeting, males usually go back to feeding, preening, or roaming around looking for other mates. 

Conclusion

And there you have it, hummingbirds do not mate for life. The courtships and relationships of these wonderful birds are fascinating to scientists and non-scientists alike. If you have the luck of seeing hummingbirds throughout your life, know that they represent beauty, devotion, and love. It may be a good luck charm if you do see one or two at the same time.


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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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