Do Hummingbirds Eat Seeds? Are They Safe To Eat?

Whether it’s an ordinary no tooth billed hummingbird or tooth-billed hummingbird neither of them can eat seeds.  They do not eat seeds, as their bills are not capable of breaking, cracking, and eating seeds. 

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Intro Video - Backtobirds

Seeds are not safe for hummingbirds as they have a quick metabolism which does not allow the digestion of seeds properly. 

There are many reasons, but the main reason is that their bills are not designed to crack and tear seeds. Moreover, eating seeds requires cracking with a lot of effort, which hummingbirds cannot. 

Moreover,  hummingbirds do not have a gallbladder and thus the eaten seeds cannot be metabolized.

Hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism in the world among birds and their digestive tracts pass waste easily and quickly thus, if they consume seeds then their digestive system will not be able to work properly. 

What kind of birdseed do hummingbirds eat? Are there any exception:

No, Hummingbirds do not eat any variety of birdseed

Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Eat Bees And Wasps | Do They Eat Insects And Bugs?

Main food of hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds are famous for their love for nectar, it doesn’t matter if it is natural nectar extracted from flowers or artificial nectar from commercial solutions, or homemade sugar water. It is the most popular and abundant source of food for hummingbirds.

Nectar has a good amount of sucrose that provides hummingbirds required energy for high metabolism. As it is a liquid, it also provides them the water requirements and thus they do not drink water from any other sources. 

Nectar, however, does not meet the requirements of protein, amino acids, and various vitamins and minerals. So to get this, they must eat something more. 

Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Get Diabetes From Too Much Sugar Water?

What else do hummingbirds eat apart from nectar?

Insects:

Yes, Hummingbirds love to eat small insects, larvae, insect eggs, and even sometimes spiders. It is quite surprising that a single hummingbird eats dozens of small insects per day or even more than that.

Insects are the main source of protein for them. But different hummingbirds may have different preferences for the insects they usually eat.

The preferred insects they eat include small gnats, spiders, and aphids along with large wasps, larvae, and pluck insect eggs. 

Sap:

Yes, hummingbirds even sip the sap of trees. They do this when there is a scarcity of nectar or flower blooms.

They usually sip from the well drilled by woodpeckers. But the tree sap is not sweet as compared to nectar but still, it provides a proper source of sucrose and amino acid as required. 

Pollen:

Some of the hummingbirds have been seen having pollen in their stomach and digestive tract.

However, they do not consume it directly, but while sipping nectar from flowers, a great number of pollen sticks to their tongue and bills. 

Ashes and Sand:

Some hummingbirds (particularly egg-producing)  have been noticed eating ashes, soil, fine grit particles, and sand in a little quantity for their calcium requirement.

Fruits:

As you already know, hummingbirds are very fond of nectar because of its sweetness. So it’s very obvious that they also sip fresh juices from fruits, like apples, berries, etc.  

Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Eat Fruits? ( Interesting Fruit Facts On Hummingbirds )

Species of hummingbirds and their diet 

There are more than 330 species of hummingbirds. Yes, you saw right, 330! It is unbelievable but it is true. As there are different types of hummingbirds, they also have different dietary plans. 

Koepcke’s Hermit Hummingbird:

It mainly relies on nectar, the same as other hummingbirds. It even eats a wide range of arthropods. This species was discovered in 1997 in Peru. It is only found in Peru. 

Straight-billed Hermit

It usually looks for flowers for nectar, apart, it also eats arthropods. This species is quite different from other hummingbirds, different in the sense that it has a long and straight bill. It is found in Peru, Ecuador, and the Amazon basin of Brazil.

Tawny-bellied Hermit 

It usually lives in wet and humid forests, especially in subtropical moist montane forests in search of traplining nectar and arthropods. Females are pale while males have orange undersides. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds 

It mainly relies on small insects and nectar from flowers. These are mainly found in tropical and temperate regions. It is a sole breeding hummingbird in North America. 

Bee Hummingbirds 

Its diet mainly includes insects and nectar from flowers. This hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird, famous for its colorful looks. They live in swampy areas, coastal forests, and valleys. It has unique flying skills. 

Anna’s Hummingbird 

They usually travel different territories in search of food, which includes nectar and small insects. It is usually found in California and Arizona. It has a short and straight bill and a broadtail. 

Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Come Out At Night? Hummingbirds At Night

Wrapping up:

Hummingbirds come in different shapes, sizes, and families with different dietary structures. Though seeds form a major part of the diet for most birds, it’s not the case with hummingbirds. 

In the end, we know everything about how and what hummingbirds eat. With a wide range of species, all hummingbirds have some common features and diets.