What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

What Do Hummingbirds Eat


Are you a bird lover and likes to feed them food? Do you want to create a feeding area in your backyard for hummingbirds? If so, then we can help you attract the best crowd of these birds.

The primary thing to understand if you want to attract hummingbirds is their eating habits. These tiny creatures require a frequent meal to make up for the energy they use during different processes. 

If you have been wondering what do hummingbirds eat, then you've come to the right place. Here is everything you need to about it.

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

Many of you may believe that hummingbirds survive on nectar only. However, that is not true. They require various nutrients which the sweet solution alone cannot provide. That is why hummingbirds feed on different things.

Here are the top things that hummingbirds eat:



This is one of the prevalent things that hummingbirds love to eat. Typically, they feed on flowers to fulfill some of their nutrient requirements. However, they also have the nectar that humans make.

Artificial nectar is typically a solution made from the combination of sugar and water in appropriate ratios. Hummingbirds are carnivores which is you may be wondering why they feed on nectar. 

Well, nectar and sugar solutions are rich in sucrose which is a carbohydrate these birds need. They consume this compound so that their body can make glucose from it and use it to create energy. This energy is then used by the hummingbirds for flight, metabolism, and much more.




This is the best carnivore meal that hummingbirds love to feed on. Typically, they eat small insects, spiders, insect eggs, and much more. The survival of hummingbirds depends on the carnivore diet because it allows them to get fats, proteins, and salts that nectars lack.

All these three compounds are necessary for the growth of hummingbirds. It also helps with producing hatchlings promptly. An adult bird eats at least more than five dozen insects every day. In fact, during the time of migration, they feed on an extraordinarily high number of insects.

There are various ways that hummingbirds can feed on insects. For example, they may pick them from tree branches or flowers. They can also catch them in midair because of precision. Besides that, they can catch them when crawling on spider webs too.

Tree Sap

tree sap


Nectar is not always available to hummingbirds which is why they require alternatives. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to fulfill their sucrose needs. The best option hummingbirds have when they cannot get nectar is tree sap.

Typically, woodpeckers drill holes on tree branches which allows hummingbirds to access the sap. The liquid is not as sweet as flower nectar, but it provides an adequate quantity of sucrose. So, the birds can keep up with their daily processes easily.

However, you should note that hummingbirds do not eat the sap that drips the tree and has hardened on a branch. Instead, they catch insects that get stuck in the fluid because the liquid is sticky.




This is not exactly a food that hummingbirds purposely eat, but nonetheless, they ingest it. Pollen is located on the surface of flowers where the birds stick their bill to have nectar. Due to that, a large amount of pollen reaches the tongue of hummingbirds and gets ingested.

The benefit that hummingbirds get from having pollen is that this substance is rich in protein. So it acts as a source of protein to these tiny creatures. However, the amount they get from pollen is not very high.

Typically, hummingbirds can digest only less than 10% of the pollen they eat. This is because they are tiny and do not have an advanced system and energy to complete pollen digestion.

Sand And Ashes

sand and ashes


Some species of hummingbirds are known for eating sand and ashes. However, they only feed on these things in small quantities, which is not harmful to them. These items are not necessarily beneficial for their diet as they don't contain proteins, fats, or sugars.

However, sand and ashes contain some essential minerals that help hummingbirds. Besides that, they also get salts from these things, which allows them to meet specific requirements.

A key thing to keep in mind is that researchers cannot confidently say that hummingbirds eat sand and ashes. Some even believe that the tiny creatures may have been picking on these things to get insects. Only time and further research will if these items are a part of hummingbirds' diets or not.

Fruit Juice

fruit juice


During the harvest season, many fruits become over-ripe. Additionally, they are left with some exposed area when animals pecker them. This allows the hummingbirds to stick their bills into the fruit and have its juice. They have been observed to do this on many occasions.

It is believed that hummingbirds feed on fruit juice because it is sweet like nectar. Additionally, fruits contain high amounts of nutrients, mainly sucrose. The scent of the liquid also attracts them to the location of the fruit.

Hummingbirds are well-known for sipping on the juices of fruits such as oranges, pears, berries, and apples. You should keep in mind that the birds only feed on them if the outer peel has been removed. This is because their bills are not strong enough to remove the coverings.

Additional Ways To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden


What Do Hummingbirds Eat


Besides using food, there are other methods to attract hummingbirds to your garden as well. One of the things that attract them is native flowers such as coral bells and honeysuckle. The birds love their nectars and are attracted to them instantly.

Thus, you can plant native flowers in your garden to get the attention of hummingbirds. Besides that, you can make homemade nectar and place feeders in shaded regions of your property. The food will encourage them to rest at your place.

Bottom Line

That was all you needed to know about what do hummingbird eats. If you keep all their dietary items in mind, you can create the perfect backyard to attract them.


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