Everything You Need To Know About The Hummingbird Heart Rate

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 25, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Nov 16, 2021
Allen's Hummingbird profile sitting on branch.

Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sound their wings make when they are hovering or flying.

Hummingbirds are the smallest migratory birds in the world. One of the hummingbird’s distinctive characteristics is that the bird does not roam in flocks like other birds.

The bodyweight of a hummingbird is not that much; it’s similar to the weight of a nickel or even less in some species.

These birds cannot smell anything, even insects, and have poor vision; some of their species, such as ruby throated hummingbirds like to go for orange or red flowers for nectar despite the fact that red or orange flowers can be dangerous for birds.

A hummingbirds ability to fly backward makes them stand out from other species of birds.

Female hummingbirds only lay two eggs, unlike other birds who lay a larger number of eggs. The hummingbird eggs size can be compared to the size of a small jellybean.

After reading about the heart beat of these birds of North America during exercise and while at rest, also read about how fast do hummingbirds fly and how big are hummingbird eggs?

Why does a hummingbird's heartbeat so fast?

A hummingbird species like the ruby-throated hummingbird has a very fast heartbeat or rate. The features of a hummingbird lie outside the normal animal world.

The hummingbird’s heart beats around 1000 times per minute. The resting heart rate is around 60 to 100 times per minute. The rapid beating heart of a hummingbird is quite different when compared to other animals. The muscle fiber of their heart is comparatively more populated with a greater number of mitochondria.

The hummingbirds are able to process oxygen at a speed that has a much higher rate when compared to other humans or other animals. The reason why a hummingbird’s heart beats so fast is that these birds have a lot of capillaries, and they pump a lot of blood every minute.

The hummingbirds also have the ability to take fructose in their cells. The muscles of a hummingbird have a lot of fructose, unlike other animals.

How many beats per minute does a hummingbird flap its wings?

These tiny hummingbirds are truly an extraordinary species of birds. They can hover over a flower long enough while humming their wings to suck the nectar from flowers for their dinner.

Different tiny hummingbird species have a different rate of flapping their wings and heart rate. One of the species of hummingbirds, the giant hummingbird, can make its wings beat about 10-15 times per second, the fastest recorded rate of a hummingbird’s wings is 80 times per second which was done by woodstar hummingbird.

On average, North America’s hummingbird can flap its wings around 53 times per second. Most adults will flap their wings around 1200-1800 times per minute, and this flapping of their wings is the reason why you hear the humming sound whenever you see a hummingbird around you.

The pace of speed at which they move their wings is truly magnificent if you think about it; no other bird species can do the same while flying or resting.

Which bird has the highest heart rate?

These tiny hummingbirds have the fastest heart rate in comparison to any other bird species on this planet.

The hummingbirds have the highest heartbeat rate.

A hummingbird’s heart beats around 1,200 times per minute, making it the fastest heartbeat among all birds and animals, with the exception of pygmy shrew in the case of animals, which have a heartbeat rate of 1510 times per minute. A hummingbird’s body temperature changes according to weather and seasons.

On an average day, a hummingbird’s body temperature is anywhere between 40-42.5 C (104-108.5 F).

The body heat can change if they are sick or suffering from a disease. The hummingbirds do not have a normal flight pattern like some other species of birds.

If we take forexample of the ruby-throated hummingbird, one of the many hummingbird species, their muscles for flight allows them to rotate their wings nearly 180 degrees which grants this bird the ability to fly forward, backward, down, sideways, and upside down to search for food such as insects and flower nectar.

The feet of the hummingbirds are generally weak when compared to other birds, and they only use their feed for the purposes of perching. Hummingbirds cannot smell like many other birds.

Hummingbirds have the largest brain, heart, and flight muscles in proportion to their body size than any other bird in the wild.

They are also unique among all other species of birds because of their sheer small size, body temperature, and rapid heart rate; they are the smallest birds in the world.

The bee hummingbird weighs less than America’s penny. Due to their extremely fast metabolic rate, hummingbirds depend on feeding quite frequently, they need to feed every 15 minutes.

The hummingbirds feed from nectar found inside several different flowers. These birds can feed on 1000 flowers in a day, they have to consume total food, which is half of their body size and have to drink about eight times their body weight in order to survive.

Nectar does not contain all of the nutrients they need in their diet so the hummingbirds will also feed off small insects.

When the hummingbirds prepare for migration, they might have to consume food that is about ten times their actual body weight. They will double their body weight before the process of migration as they store fats to increase their flight time.

Like their unusual flight pattern, a hummingbird’s nest habits are also different.

They do not use nest boxes or cavities of trees but instead build their nests in trees that are sheltered. After the process of mating, a male hummingbird does not have any right to choose the place for the nest, but it’s the female hummingbird that chooses the location and builds the nest.

How fast is an average birds heart rate?

The rule of nature is that the smaller the body size of a bird, the higher the heart rate the bird will have. Other than hummingbird species, there are many bird species that have a high heart rate.

Like all mammals, birds also possess a four-chambered heart in which there is a complete separation between the blood, which is oxygenated, and which is deoxygenated. The average heart rate which can be seen across all bird species is about 282 beats per minute.

A bird’s heartbeat can range from anywhere as low as 192 beats per minute which are seen with Rhode Island male fowls, and as high as 1260 beats per minute which are seen with the tiny blue-throated hummingbird.

A crow has a heart rate of 35 beats per minute, and a domestic chicken has a heart rate of 245 beats per minute.

The left ventricle in a bird’s heart is the largest chamber and the chamber to work hard in birds that have high heartbeats, such as hummingbirds and house sparrows. Birds that have glide flight do not need more capable hearts than those who actively fly around and hover.

Any bird’s heart rate will increase at a high speed whenever they are indulged in any kind of exercise.

Does a hummingbird's heart rate help in its survival?

A hummingbird will lower its heart rate when it is resting, or it is hiding away from its predators. This process is called ‘torpor.’

A Hummingbird will enter the state of torpor every night when they are resting. You can think of it as a sort of hibernation in which these tiny hummingbirds conserve their energy and prepare themselves for the activities of the next day.

Their heart rate in this state drops to around 60 to 260 beats per minute which also helps them stay away from their predators. Some hummingbirds might even stop breathing for a short period of time to completely conserve their energy.

The hummingbirds have a high metabolism rate, if they do not go into this state while sleeping they will starve, which is why they need to consume a lot of food. This state allows hummingbirds to survive winters and freezing nights and times when the food availability is low.

The metabolic rate of a hummingbird completely drops in a state of torpor. The hummingbirds have a metabolism which is 77 times faster than a humans!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for hummingbird heart rate then why not take a look at are hummingbirds territorial, or Hummingbird Facts.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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