Hummingbirds are small, colorful birds with iridescent feathers. Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise. Hummingbirds can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, and even upside down. They are also able to hover by flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern. They have a specialized long and tapered bill that is used to obtain nectar from the center of long, tubular flowers. The hummingbird’s feet are used for perching only, and are not used for hopping or walking.
Hummingbirds actually lap up the nectar with their tongues. A lot of people think that hummingbirds have a hollow tongue like a straw. Their tongues do have grooves on the sides that collect nectar. When the bill constricts, the hummingbird can swallow the nectar from flowers and feeders.
The flight of hummingbirds is amazing to watch. They are able to fly up, down, forward, backward and sideways. They can stop in midair. Hummingbirds are famous for their aerial display. Some displays are courtship displays; other displays are aggressive. Hummingbirds fly great distances when they are migrating. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird migrates approximately 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico.