Do Hummingbirds Fight And Kill Each Other? | Hummingbird Aggression And Behavior

Yes, hummingbirds do fight and kill each other. No matter how tiny and adorable they look, being territorial, they will fight to the death whenever unwelcome intruders violate their areas.

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

Even they have been known to claim a complete flower bed as their own, and whenever another bird enters, they will engage in a fight. 

Aggression is ingrained within hummingbirds, but that doesn’t mean you should restrict all the hummers to your backyard feeders thinking about other birds ‘safety;’ you can only stop the bully bird, though. 

Why do hummingbirds fight? Why are hummingbirds so aggressive with each other?

Hummingbirds fight with each other to express their sense of possession, be it over the territory or a feeder.

Rufous hummingbird holds the most aggressive nature among all other North American hummingbirds.

The intensity of the aggression may vary from species to species, but every hummer has at least a little bit of it. When triggered to that extent, hummingbirds can fight with each other till death. 

However, they generally show this aggressive nature during early summer or in late spring, not in all seasons.

Yes, when the breeding season comes, hummingbirds become too defensive in order to protect their breeding territories, nests, or feeding areas. 

The male hummingbirds are mostly aggressive and even known to guard up to a quarter acre of area. They never want their territories to overlap with others. Even if it does, they will strike a bluffing charge attack at lightning speed and impale the opponent with their bills. 

In the breeding season (spring), male birds stay so fierce near the territories to attract mates. Until the female one agrees to mate, she is not allowed to enter the field.

When she does, she gets access to her partner’s territory. This way, the mother stays close to the nest while searching for food after the offspring is born. 

Another reason ‘why do hummingbirds fight over a feeder and attack each other’ is to prepare for the migration. During this time, they defend the prime feeding grounds, and male birds are often found doing that.

On the other side, female hummingbirds guard their nests. Hence, they stay more aggressive near the nests. 

Note: Hummingbirds live very solitary lives. They only come together either to mate or to fight over a feeder. Hence, they don’t migrate in groups or create a flock. Instead, hummingbirds may swarm a feeder to grab quick food on the way to the town. 

Hummingbird behavior traits: How do they express aggression?

From increasing the humming noise density of their wings to flying backward and launching a quick attack on the unwanted visitor, hummingbirds have got some intimidating acts to deploy when it comes to defending their territories. 

Though the intensity of the attack varies depending on the “alpha-ness” of individual birds, each shows a certain amount of aggression when triggered.

Here are a few common signs to identify the bully hummingbird in your backyard that is chasing other ones away from your feeder. 

Posture

When a hummingbird wants to discourage unwelcome guests, it starts showing threat postures, i.e., a male Ruby-throated hummingbird may flaunt its gorget to show off the color more vividly as a sign of his strength.

Alongside, you may also find the most alpha of all the hummingbirds on your feeder is flaring its tail or spreading its wings, rising a feather on its crown, and pointing the bill at the unwanted visitors. 

Sounds

Along with threat postures, the hummingbirds can often go loud or chirp faster to let the visitor know that the area is already claimed.

In case you have a resident hummingbird, it may beat the wings rapidly to produce a loud humming noise whenever it finds an intruder. 

Chase

Chasing the competition is a way of expressing the aggression and territorial behavior of hummingbirds. They may first deploy some physical attack and then chase off the unwanted visitor far away from the feeder.

Sometimes you may see this act of aggression, followed by the sharp chirp sound of their tails or loud humming of their wings. 

Dives

If you have a hummingbird feeder in your backyard, you probably have already seen some of them diving at each other. This is no fun act.

If you watch closely, you’ll see the pattern of the attack, i.e., an aggressive hummingbird hovers in front of the competition at first, and then it flies backward and makes a sharp chirp sound with the tail feather to mark the base as well as warn the intruder for the last time, then dives straight down to impel the opponent.

This diving pattern is the same, no matter whether the intruder is another hummingbird, an animal, or even a human. 

Fighting

The angriest hummingbird often considers the least aggressive option at first to defend the territory. That’s why fighting is considered as the last resort by most hummingbirds; it happens regularly, though.

Yes, you may often find an angry hummingbird ramming the opponent in a fight by pecking it with their needle-like bills and talons.

These tiny creatures can be really dangerous when they are fighting as hummingbirds fight to injure, sometimes even kill the opponent, who does not yield to their dominance. 

Why do hummingbirds fly so close to me?

Hummingbirds fly so close to humans to investigate a situation as per their curiosity. They are too inquisitive regarding their surroundings and cautious about their territory.

So, whenever they sense a situation that can potentially hurt their territory, hummingbirds investigate it instantly to ensure “safety.” 

There is another reason; if you’ve trained the hummingbirds in your backyard to expect food from the feeder only, they will start buzzing loudly when there is no food in the feeder.

Yes, there are even instances when a hummingbird flew straight up to the homeowner’s face as he was late to place food into the feeder. 

Are hummingbirds dangerous to humans? Do hummingbirds attack humans?

No, hummingbirds are not dangerous to humans but to other hummingbirds or animals, which don’t yield to their size. They fly close to humans because of their curious and defensive nature, as they know that they can fly off pretty quickly. But hummingbirds never attack humans.

No matter what grudges they have against you, they can’t just do any harm due to such tiny size and less body weight. 

How to stop a bully hummingbird?

Increase the number of feeders, place the feeders at a wide distance, and more- yes, fortunately, you can do a number of things to curb the aggression of that bully bird in your backyard.

Otherwise, it’s quite disheartening to see your hummingbird garden going in vain. Follow the below methods to keep hummingbirds from fighting with each other over a feeder. 

Related Read: Can You Keep Hummingbirds As Pets? | Why Pet Hummingbird!

Trick 1: Feeder Placement

If you have a medium to large space in your backyard or garden, just create multiple bird feeding areas. Make sure you place one or two feeders out of sight to ensure that the aggressive hummingbird doesn’t dominate both areas.

Offering them multiple options will help the hummingbirds from territorial overlapping. Hence, you will see less fight. 

Trick 2: Feeder Spacing

If you have a small-sized garden, try to keep enough space between the feeders. Do not overcrowd a single area to fit multiple objects in your backyard. Try to install the feeders at the furthest corners of your backyard, even if they are less in numbers. 

Trick 3: Add Hummingbird Flowers

Some homeowners can’t install multiple hummingbird feeders due to a lack of space. In that case, adding hummingbird flowers to your garden will help the birds to stay engaged and not get involved in a fight. 

Trick 4: Alter the Position

Have you noticed any certain position in your backyard where the bully hummingbird generally rests? If yes, try to relocate the position of the bird by blocking the existing one. If it’s a perch, trim it to ensure the aggressive bird can’t find its dominant place again.

Also, if it’s an open space in your backyard, try to cover it or block it with some unmovable object. It will definitely lower the aggression of the bully bird since it won’t find its comfortable position. 

Trick 5: Remove the Trigger

It’s not always another hummingbird; a songbird, a cat, even a human can violate a hummingbird’s territory. Hence, you need to find the exact cause which is triggering the stress and remove it to calm down the hummingbirds in your backyard.  

How to differentiate between a male and a female hummingbird?

Adult male hummingbirds have an emerald green back with ruby red gorget, which may appear black under certain lighting conditions, a forked tail with no white patch, and gray flanks. Male hummingbirds are smaller in size than female ones. They flare their gorget to express aggression. 

Adult female hummingbirds also have a green-colored back but white-colored throat and breast, accompanied by a white-tipped rounded tail. 

Hence from now onwards, you’ll be able to identify the hummingbirds in your backyard to understand whether the bully bird is a male or female. Then, depending on the probability of an intense fight, you can plan where to place the feeders to avoid it. That’s all!

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