If you ask, Do Hummingbirds Eat Bugs? What do you think hummingbirds eat? The usual answer is nectar. However, they aren’t exactly the pickiest of species and nectar isn’t the only thing they survive on. While there is no doubt that the sugary syrup is their first choice of food, if the habitat doesn’t allow them to feed on it regularly, they have other alternatives to feed on too.
This is where insects come into the picture. Insects are capable of providing hummingbirds with certain nutritions that the nectar isn’t. They can get oils and fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins from these insects, and it’s not something they can get from nectar. Let’s take a deeper look at this.
The Second Source Of Food
Do Hummingbirds Eat Bugs? As we have said, insects are their second preferred choice of food. And by insects, we do mean bugs, wasps, ants, mosquitoes, etc. Their most favorite among insects are actually harvestmen and spiders. By some research, it has been noted that about 60 to 80 percent of hummingbird diet can consist of spiders.
How Do They Capture Their Prey?
Scientists used to think that hummingbirds feed on insects which they tend to come across while feeding on the nectar of a flower. It turns out, things aren’t so simple.
What they do is make use of the acute vision they have been blessed with. They quickly look for insects and identify them from a distance. Now, when you combine how fast they can fly, how much control they have over flying, and their agility, it doesn’t take long for them to grab an insect before the creepy-crawlies are even aware of it.
Compared to that, it’s actually harder for hummingbirds to get some insects from flowers as they aren’t capable of seeing inside the tube of the flower. When they do get some insects from flowers, it’s mostly due to sheer luck.
Actually, even if they were able to see the insects in flower tubes, they won’t be able to remove it voluntarily. The gauge of the flower tube is extremely narrow and hummers would need to open their bill so they can actually catch the insect. That’s not a possibility when they are trying to fit their bill inside the tube.
If you see hummingbirds hovering around flowers but not feeding on it, it means they are looking for the insects in and around it and searching for them before they can get inside the flower.
So, yes, hummingbirds do eat bugs. In fact, insects are an integral part of their daily diet. Some days, when they fail to find nectar, they survive on insects instead. The insects provide the nutrients needed for hummingbirds to go on, even though nectars are a big source of their energy.