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How Long Can a Hummingbird Live Without Food & Water?

The hummingbird is one of the most fascinating birds that are available in the world. They have a large variety of characteristics that make them quite different from other birds.

You may ask about how long can a hummingbird live without food and water. Let us help you find the answer to that question and let you know some interesting facts about them as well:

How long can a hummingbird live without food & water?

A hummingbird can live without food and water for around 3 – 5 hours. As hummingbirds consume only nectar. It can extract sucrose from it within a few minutes. This is taken as food by them. On the other hand, water is extracted which as well gets eliminated.

A hummingbird is a small creature. It can fly very fast in the sky. A hummingbird is unique from all other birds because it can hover indefinitely. 

Therefore, it can fly for a long period. It can have its food from a source where nectar can be found even while flying.

As a hummingbird can fly for longer periods, it requires food frequently. It can consume the nectar that it takes within a few minutes. It is said that it can process the nectar and break it down in 20 minutes. While breaking it down, it separates the sucrose and water.

The sucrose is used for its energy. This is the only source of energy that a hummingbird has. This helps a hummingbird keep flying without any problem. On the other hand, water is being separated from the sucrose as well which is being eliminated by it.

But a hummingbird cannot last long without its food for long. It is said that a hummingbird can last up to 5 hours without any food. Here food means that it needs to take nectar within every 5 hours. Without this, it cannot survive long and many end up passing away.

A baby hummingbird:

A baby hummingbird can live for around 2 – 3 hours without food and water. A baby hummingbird is dependent on its mother.

As it cannot fly during its early days, it has to rely fully on its mother for food. The mother goes out in search of food whenever they need it.

After the mother collects the food for herself and her babies, it returns to its home. The baby hummingbird is fed by the beak of its mother.

They are provided with a high-protein diet that contains insects to help them grow fast and nectar for the energy they need. The mother feeds her babies for up to a month.

How often do hummingbirds feed in a day? How often do hummingbirds drink water?

Hummingbirds feed every 10 – 15 minutes a day. As hummingbirds have a high metabolism, they must eat all day long in order to survive.

Moreover, they need a lot of energy as they fly all day long. So, hummingbirds are constantly in search of food to keep up with their needs.

Hummingbirds do not drink water directly. Unlike other birds, hummingbirds do not require access to water for drinking.

For water, they depend on nectar. Every day they collect nectar from 1000 – 2000 flowers. The nectar provides them with the water they require.

Nectar has both sucrose and water. Hummingbird uses sucrose as the source of energy. On the other hand, water is found in the nectar as well.

This water is used by a hummingbird and then eliminated by the bird from its body. But still, a hummingbird needs some fresh water in order to bathe.

How long does it take for a hummingbird to starve?

It takes 3 – 5 hours for a hummingbird to starve. A hummingbird has a high metabolism diet. This means that it requires a lot of food.

Therefore, a hummingbird collects nectar from about 1000 – 2000 flowers a day to fulfill its requirements for the energy it needs.

After collecting the nectar from a flower, it can process 90% of it within a few minutes. It is said that a hummingbird’s powerful metabolism can separate the sucrose and water from the nectar in 20 minutes.

That means a hummingbird is one of the fastest birds to consume its food.

As a hummingbird consumes food within a very short time, it needs to gather its next meal after 10 – 15 minutes from its previous meal. Thus, a hummingbird is constantly in search of food.

What happens if hummingbirds don’t eat food or drink water?

Hummingbirds require a continuous supply of food. Though, they require a very little amount of food. But sometimes, they may not find a suitable food source in the area they leave. This may result in serious consequences.

You may ask what happens if hummingbirds do not eat food or drink water. Here are the most common things that may happen if they do not eat food or drink:

They will start to starve:

Hummingbirds rely on the food source that is available close to their home. So, they try to find the easiest source to collect food which is close to the home. If the source that they were collecting food is not adequate or gone bad, they will start migrating to another source.

But hummingbirds are not migratory birds. Therefore, if the food source goes bad during winter, they suffer a lot. As they do not migrate during the winter season, they start to starve. This puts their life in great danger.

They will stop flying:

As food is the only source of energy for the hummingbirds, it will impact their ability to fly. They will not be able to properly fly as they are not getting the necessary source of energy which is sucrose. This hampers them a lot.

The birds will start going into hibernation:

Due to the lack of food and water, hummingbirds will start to go into hibernation. This is a technique that many animals follow when they are short of food.

This method helps them conserve energy till the environment is good for them. When the weather is good, they will again go out to search for their necessary food.

The birds will start passing away:

Lack of food for a long period of time is very bad for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds can last up to 5 hours maximum without any food and water.

After that, hummingbirds will lose the power to keep their internal organs working which will eventually end badly afterward. They will start passing away if they starve for more than 5 hours.

Will hummingbirds lose their life if you stop feeding them?

If you stop feeding them, hummingbirds will lose their life. Hummingbirds require a very small amount of food per serve.

They consume so little that it is expected that they can consume around .45 oz of nectar per day. Therefore, they are highly dependent on food all the time.

Although if hummingbirds do not find food in their current area, then they will migrate to another area to find food. But during winter, they cannot do that.

They are non-migratory birds. Thus, they do not move out of the area during winter. Due to lack of food, their lives will be in danger and eventually, they will lose their lives in the process.

How long can hummingbirds go without nectar?

Hummingbirds can go up to 3 hours without nectar. These birds fly continuously. It is said that they fly like helicopters. Even when they are having their food, they are flying. Hummingbirds are fascinating animals of nature.

It is said that hummingbirds fly long distances. To fly long distances, they need energy. This energy comes from the sucrose that they get from nectar.

If they do not find nectar, they may stop flying after 3 hours of their previous meal to conserve their energy for survival.

How long can a hummingbird fly without food?

A hummingbird can fly for about 3 – 5 hours without food. These birds are said to have a very limited amount of food. Every time they go and collect nectar, they consume a limited amount of nectar which is half of their body size.

As hummingbirds have a high metabolic diet, they can easily break down the nectar that they collect.

It only takes them 20 minutes to break down 90% of the nectar to sucrose and water. So, they need food every 10 – 15 minutes. But with the food that they get from one source, they can fly for around 3 – 5 hours before they start getting into difficulties in flying.

Final Thoughts

A hummingbird can live without food and water for a maximum of around 5 hours. As hummingbirds consume around 1/2 to 8 times their body size per day, they consume a very limited quantity of food. Thus, they need to take food whenever they need or it may be life-threatening for them.