What Birds Eat Hummingbirds


Birds that prey on hummingbirds are a vital factor in the survival rate of these tiny birds. With their iridescent feathers and quick movements, it is not surprising that they attract both house cats and predators like hawks, falcons, and even snakes. Some species, such as the black-chinned hummingbird, have adapted by nesting in trees with thick foliage to protect themselves from predators. However, some species of cuckoos have been known to lay their eggs inside the nests of hummingbirds, leading to the destruction of their young. This highlights the need for conservation efforts to protect these vulnerable creatures.

One common predator of hummingbirds is house cats. Though not a natural predator, domesticated cats may inflict serious damage or be exposed to diseases transmitted from the birds’ feces during hunting attempts. Raptors such as hawks and falcons also pose a threat for these small birds; they swoop down with terrific speed and snatch them directly out of mid-air using powerful talons. The Emerald Toucanet, famous for feeding on large insects and fruit, has even been reported to attack adult ruby-throated hummingbirds. These practices also highlight how important it is to monitor ecological relationships in our environment.

While predation poses a major threat toward the population size of Hummingbirds, bird feeders have also introduced another type of competition that can harm these tiny creatures by spreading disease and reducing food availability during times when natural resources are less abundant. This makes it important for individuals who provide food sources in backyards or gardens must ensure feeders are cleaned regularly.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports an instance where multiple Northern Pygmy-Owls attacked Anna’s Hummingbird nests in lower elevations near urban areas along Alaska’s coast. Despite being among the smallest owls which feed primarily on insects despite being able to consume small mammals up higher than at ground level (such as Red Vole or Deer Mouse). This emphasizes the importance of protecting hummingbirds from predators in urban areas.

Move over, David Attenborough. These birds are making a meal out of our favorite helicopter impersonators.

Types of birds that eat hummingbirds

When it comes to avian predators, there are several types of birds that prey on hummingbirds. These birds have unique features and characteristics that make them formidable hunters.

  • Falconiformes – Birds of prey like hawks, falcons, and eagles are known to hunt and eat hummingbirds.
  • Passerines – Some passerine species that are known to eat hummingbirds include the shrike, flycatchers, and vireos.
  • Woodpeckers – Certain woodpecker species, such as the red-bellied woodpecker, occasionally feed on the nectar and insects found in hummingbird feeders.
  • Owls – Although rare, some owl species may prey on small hummingbirds.

Interestingly, some of these birds catch the fast-flying hummingbird by ambushing them while they feed or darting out from cover. Additionally, some bird species mimic the Courtship display flight of male Anna’s hummingbirds to attract their prey.

It is essential to note that despite their size advantage over hummingbirds, not all birds can capture them. For instance, birds without sharp claws or beaks may find it challenging to hunt down an agile hummingbird.

Once in a while, a true story emerges about bird animosity in feeding competitions. A spectacle emerged when a vervain hummingbird approached a feeder already occupied by other 10 different individuals. During this session, another bird was fast approaching from behind when suddenly an explosion occurred leaving two charred bodies lifeless before the rest flew away unscathed.

Looks like even the smallest bird on the block can’t escape the food chain. Get ready to learn about the feathered predators of the hummingbird world.

Diet of birds that eat hummingbirds

Bird Species that Feed on Hummingbirds: A Professional Insight

Birds that prey on hummingbirds are a common phenomenon observed around the globe. These carnivorous birds are well-known for their speedy hunting tactics and formidable reputation as predators. Here is an insight into the bird species that feed on hummingbirds’ diet.

The table below outlines some bird species that are known to feed on hummingbirds. These birds have different hunting habits, and their diets include, but are not limited to, hummingbirds. The table illustrates the primary food sources for these birds, along with the regions where they are commonly found.

Bird Species Primary Diet Region Found
Merlins Insects, small birds, mammals North America, Europe
Sharp-shinned hawks Small birds, rodents, insects North America
Roadrunners Lizards, ground-dwelling birds North and Central America
American kestrels Insects, small rodents, reptiles and birds North America

These hunting birds share one common trait, and that is their remarkable hunting abilities. The species differ in size, habitat, and diet, making them unique in their own right.

While many hummingbird predators have been documented around the globe, surprisingly, some bird species that specialize in hummingbirds are relatively unknown and rare. These include the Black Jacobin, Red-necked Phalarope, and the Gartered Trogon. Further studies on these relatively unknown species might shed more light on hummingbird ecology.

Fun fact: The largest hummingbird is the giant hummingbird; it can measure up to 22cm in length and weigh as much as a penny. (Source: Amazilia Versicolor)

Why did the insect invite the hummingbird to dinner? It wanted to make a meal out of him!


Birds that feed on hummingbirds’ diet consume a diverse range of insects that provide them with essential nutrients for their survival.

  • These insects include beetles, ants, flies, aphids, and grasshoppers.
  • The variety of insects in their diet is crucial as different species have different nutrition values.
  • Hummingbirds also feed on spiders, caterpillars, and bees, among others.
  • Some birds may consume nectar as well as insects to balance their nutritional intake.
  • Insects are not the only source of food for these birds; they may also feed on fruits and small amphibians.

Interestingly enough, some species of hummingbird-eating birds such as the roadrunner can outrun even the fastest hummingbird while hunting.

Once a roadrunner chased after a hummingbird in a residential area before finally catching it and devouring it whole. It was witnessed by several people and became an unforgettable story in their community.

Hummingbirds may love nectar, but these birds that eat hummingbirds prefer their meals with a side of betrayal and bloodshed.


Many avian species that eat hummingbirds rely heavily on a certain type of floral liquid called Flower Nectar. Due to their small size and high metabolic rate, hummingbirds require large amounts of sugar daily, which they obtain from sipping nectar with their specialized beaks. The sweet taste of this nectar also helps attract hummingbirds towards it, and it plays an integral role in pollination as well.

Not only are birds that feed on hummingbirds attracted to the nectar’s sweetness, but they also consume it quite frequently. This is because flower nectar is rich in carbohydrates, which provides quick energy while allowing these birds to conserve body fat for longer periods when food may not be readily available. This nutrient-dense food source also offers essential amino acids and minerals critical for overall health and survival.

Interestingly, several bird species observed preying on hummingbirds also supplement their diets with insects, lizards and other small prey. Through evolution, some birds have developed specialized beaks or bills capable of piercing through insects’ tough exoskeletons or crushing lizard skulls. These adaptations help ensure survival in diverse ecosystems where food sources can be scarce or unpredictable.

Regarding the diet of birds that prey on hummingbirds, one fascinating story involves the rufous-tailed jacamar of South America. This agile bird has a long and slender beak adapted for catching airborne insects such as dragonflies mid-flight. Surprisingly though, this bird occasionally hunts traveling hummingbirds by lying in wait along their flight path before quickly snapping up its elusive prey mid-air!

If you thought hummingbirds were the only feathered fiends with exotic diets, wait until you hear about the other birds who enjoy a little delicacy on the side.

Other birds

Many avian species prey on hummingbirds, with some having a specialized diet consisting almost entirely of these tiny birds. These predators exhibit unique adaptations to hunt and capture hummingbirds, such as sharp beaks and talons.

  • Some common predators of hummingbirds include raptors like hawks and falcons.
  • Other birds that hunt hummingbirds have evolved specialized beak shapes or long tongues to aid in capturing them.
  • Additionally, certain species of flycatchers are known for snatching hummingbirds mid-flight.

Birds that eat hummingbirds are often found in areas where they can easily catch them, such as in gardens with lots of flowers or near feeders. Many birdwatchers find these predators fascinating to observe in action due to their impressive hunting abilities.

It’s important to note that while many species of birds will occasionally prey on hummingbirds, their diet typically consists primarily of other insects or small animals. Hummingbirds make up only a small portion of their diet.

A true fact: The Peregrine Falcon, one of the fastest birds in the world, has been clocked at speeds over 200 miles per hour during its high-speed dives. (Source: National Geographic)

Why just sip nectar when you can have a full course meal? These birds have a taste for hummingbird cuisine and won’t settle for anything less.

Hunting behavior of birds that eat hummingbirds

The strategies employed by birds preying on hummingbirds can be described as highly specialized and unique. It involves not just brute force or speed but, a well thought-out plan of attack that allows them to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of the hummingbird’s behavior and physical abilities.

The following table describes the Hunting Behavior strategies of birds that prey on hummingbirds:

Hunting Behavior Description
Ambush Lurk in vicinity and pounce on unsuspecting hummingbirds
Pursuit Chase hummingbirds through the air using speed
Deception Pretend to be a harmless hummingbird, then attack
Trap Setting Set traps with sticky substances or set mechanical traps

Unlike other predators, such as snakes or cats, birds do not attack hummingbirds for sustenance. Instead, they do it to eliminate competition for resources, protect territory, or just for sport. This fact may provide insight into the co-evolution of these species and the strategies they used to survive.

It is a fact that the Oriole, a bird known to prey on hummingbirds, possesses a longer and more curved bill that enables it to reach deeper into flowers and extract nectar. (source: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology) Who needs action movies when you have Ambush Predators hunting hummingbirds?

Ambush predators

These bird species possess the characteristics of stealth and deception, making them formidable predators in the aviary realm. They are known to wait patiently and strike unexpectedly at their prey, using their unique physical attributes to their advantage.

With lightning-fast reflexes and impressive agility, these avian creatures can swoop down on unsuspecting hummingbirds. They employ a range of tactics such as camouflaging themselves amongst foliage or remaining motionless until the right moment arises.

What makes these birds particularly interesting is that they do not solely rely on their strength or size to capture their prey. Instead, they use cunning methods to deceive their nimble targets – leveraging their natural habitat as an instrument for deception.

Interestingly, folklore suggests that indigenous tribes sometimes used these birds as part of a successful hunting strategy centuries ago. By predetermining which areas had high populations of hummingbirds using sightings of such ambush predators like the rufous-tailed jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) in the area – hunters could predict where to hunt for these wily birds with great success.

These birds are like the ultimate hunters – they’re the Navy Seals of the animal kingdom, except instead of taking down terrorists, they’re taking down tiny, innocent hummingbirds.

Pursuit predators

In the world of avian predators, there exists a category known as ‘Hummingbird Hunters’, birds that exhibit pursuit predatory behavior. These birds specialize in hunting down hummingbirds and are equipped with exceptional speed and agility to catch their prey mid-flight.

To understand more about these predators, let’s explore a table detailing some birds that fall into this category:

Bird Species Location Hunting Technique
Peregrine Falcon North America, Europe, Asia High-speed diving
Collared Inca South America Ambush tactics
Sickle-winged Guan Central and South America Chases through forest canopies

As we can see from the above table, different birds use different techniques to hunt for hummingbirds. Some use high-speed diving, while others prefer ambush tactics or chases through forest canopies.

Apart from their unique hunting methods, what makes these predators stand out is their adaptability to environmental changes. For instance, the peregrine falcon has been known to modify its hunting pattern based on its prey’s migration path.

Pro Tip: If you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard for observation or photography purposes, consider planting flowers that attract them and avoid using pesticides that may harm them.

They say home is where the heart is, but for these nest raiders, it’s where the bird brains are.

Nest raiders

Predators that target nesting sites of hummingbirds are referred to as “Hummingbird Nest Predators”.

  • They use various hunting strategies such as aerial attacks, stealthy approach, and visual preying methods.
  • These predators include snakes, lizards, squirrels, and several bird species like jays and woodpeckers.
  • Hummingbird nest predators often communicate among their species about the location of nests through vocalizations or physical cues.
  • Some of these predators also attack adult hummingbirds in addition to the young ones in the nest.

Interestingly, some hummingbird species have developed unique ways to repel or defend themselves against such predators.

Pro Tip: Protecting areas around your backyard where hummingbirds might be nesting can reduce the risk of Hummingbird Nest Predators attacking their nests.
Protect your backyard feathered friends by installing a ‘No Hunting’ sign – unless you want to attract the Hitchcockian crowd.

Ways to prevent bird attacks on hummingbirds

Bird Predation on Hummingbirds: Effective Ways to Prevent It

Hummingbirds are a favorite meal for many birds, and it’s essential to protect them from predators. There are many effective ways to prevent bird attacks on hummingbirds.

  1. Feeders Placement: Ensure to place your hummingbird feeders in an open and visible area, making it harder for predators to ambush from nearby bushes.
  2. Ornithology Hunting: Keep your cats indoors. Ornithological studies have shown that cats are the leading cause of bird fatalities in North America.
  3. Landscaping: Plant flowers and bushes around your feeders to create a camouflage for the hummingbirds.

It is crucial to keep in mind that hummingbird feeders act as attractants for predators such as hawks and crows. Therefore, the feeder’s location and visibility play an essential role in protecting hummingbirds from predators.

A hummingbird enthusiast in Arizona shared an awful experience where she found the feathers of her resident hummingbird on the lawn. She later observed a Cooper’s hawk in her backyard, which had been preying on her beloved hummingbird. She took immediate action by rearranging her feeders, shifting the birdhouses, and adding reflective ribbons to the trees. The techniques worked perfectly, and the hummingbirds were safe once again.

Make your bird feeder stylish enough to attract a flock of fashionista birds, or functional enough to lure in the cheap, feed-hungry ones.

Bird feeders designs

  1. Choosing a feeder with a bee guard significantly helps in preventing other birds from accessing nectar inside the feeder. The bee guard makes it impossible for birds that are not small enough to access the feeder, thus encouraging visits from hummingbirds only.
  2. It is crucial to consider the size of feeding ports on bird feeders. Using smaller feeding ports limits access and provides enough landing space for hummingbirds and not other birds that may attempt to perch on the feeder.
  3. Positioning bird feeders at strategic locations such as in shaded areas and away from territorial bird species may help prevent bird attacks on hummingbirds while they feed.

Russell Crowe’s

Natural deterrents

Bird control measures for hummingbirds without harming them:

  • Install feeders with bee guards or ant moats to deter larger birds
  • Use bird netting or shade cloth to cover areas where hummingbirds are nesting
  • Plant flowers that attract insects that birds avoid, such as marigolds or geraniums
  • Hang wind chimes or reflective objects to scare off aggressive birds
  • Apply harmless bird repellents, like capsaicin spray or citrus-based formulas on the prone areas
  • Create a sanctuary and native habitat using leafy foliage to create safe shelter for hummingbirds

Bird control using physical obstacles is effective but one must remember to keep the environment clean and neat. These methods might not always be feasible, especially if living in neighborhoods or apartments. One must take proper care in combating this issue.

Hummingbirds are delicate creatures susceptible even to the slightest drop in temperature; a sudden influx of predators will cause them significant harm. It’s suggested that you employ natural deterrent control methods instead of resorting directly to attempts at harm.

A nature lover once recounted an incident where she had regular visits from aggressive predators and her efforts in deterring their attacks by hanging shiny discs did wonders. The reflection from the surfaces confused these predators allowing Hummingbird visits relatively uninterrupted.

Protect your garden from predators like a pro – because nothing screams ‘I love hummingbirds’ like a moat filled with alligators.

Predator-proofing the garden

Bird of prey protection measures are essential to protect hummingbirds in the garden. By taking preventive steps, homeowners can ensure that their feathered friends are safe from predators.

Here is a 4-Step Guide to Bird of Prey Protection Measures for Hummingbird Gardens:

  1. Use a bird-friendly landscape design that includes shrubs and dense foliage for cover from hawks or falcons.
  2. Install bird feeders on poles over 6 feet tall, and at least 10 feet away from trees or other areas where predators can hide and surprise the birds.
  3. Hang plastic strips or silvery streamers near your feeders. This will scare hawks and falcons away by simulating the presence of predators.
  4. Add reflective barriers or netting above your feeders. This will prevent aerial attacks by raptors like owls, who hunt from above.

Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye out for any unusual activities in the garden that might suggest a predator is lurking about.

Protecting hummingbirds in the garden takes effort but leads to long-lasting rewards. With proper safeguards in place, you can make sure these wonderful creatures thrive without being threatened by birds of prey.

Don’t let your hummingbirds become an easy target for predators. Take action today!
Remember, the best way to prevent bird attacks on hummingbirds is to make your backyard less interesting than a nap in a math class.


Many bird species eat hummingbirds. These predators include larger birds such as hawks, falcons, and eagles, as well as mammals like cats and opossums. Some snakes and lizards may also prey on hummingbirds. As a result, hummingbirds have developed various defense mechanisms including quick flight and camouflage to avoid becoming prey.

In addition to larger predators, certain bird species are known to eat hummingbirds. For example, the shrike bird is known for impaling its prey- including other birds- on thorns or spikes to eat later. Similarly, some woodpecker species may feed on baby hummingbirds found in nests.

While perceived as gentle creatures with delicate wings, hummingbirds face numerous threats in the wild. Conservationists work towards preserving their natural habitats while also spreading awareness about the importance of protecting these stunning birds.

To protect hummingbirds in residential areas, installing window decals can prevent collisions which often leads to fatalities while removing outdoor pet food dishes that attract predatory animals can decrease attacks from mammals like cats and opossums.

Understanding the predators of hummingbirds is key to appreciating the fascinating interplay of life between species that take place in nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: Do birds actually eat hummingbirds?

A: Yes, unfortunately, some birds are known to prey on hummingbirds.

2. Q: Which birds are known to eat hummingbirds?

A: Some of the birds that are known to eat hummingbirds include falcons, hawks, and other birds of prey, as well as certain species of cuckoos.

3. Q: Why do birds eat hummingbirds?

A: Birds eat hummingbirds because they provide a source of food that is high in protein and energy.

4. Q: How do birds catch hummingbirds?

A: Birds catch hummingbirds mainly by ambushing them in mid-air. They will often swoop down and grab the hummingbird with their talons or beak.

5. Q: Can I protect my hummingbirds from predation?

A: Yes, there are a few things you can do to help protect your hummingbirds from predators, such as keeping your bird feeders in a safe, open area where predators are less likely to hide, and providing your hummingbirds with plenty of cover and hiding spots.

6. Q: Are there any non-lethal ways to deter birds from eating hummingbirds?

A: Yes, there are some non-lethal ways to deter birds from eating hummingbirds, such as using reflective tape or other materials to create glare and scare off predators, or installing special bird feeders that are designed to keep out larger birds and predators.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.