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Life Cycle of a Hummingbird: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Hummingbirds are amazing, tiny creatures that can be found in North and Central America. In this lesson, learn about all of the stages in the life cycle of a hummingbird.

Small but Amazing

Quick! Look carefully and you might see a tiny hummingbird zipping around outside. These birds may be very small, but they are still cool creatures that accomplish a lot in a very short amount of time.

There are many different varieties of hummingbirds, and all are found throughout North and Central America. The hummingbird gets its name from the humming sound that is created when it quickly it flaps its wings. Although it is short, the life of a hummingbird is action packed. Let's find out about the life cycle of a hummingbird, which are the different phases it goes through as it grows up.

Building a Nest

Would you like to live in a home made of moss and spider webs? It may not sound very nice to you, but this is ideal for a hummingbird nest. The moss is particularly helpful because it hides the nest so predators will not see it. A female will build her nest in shrubs or trees, and when completed it looks like a very small cup.

Hummingbird nests look like tiny cups nestled in trees or shrubs.
hummingbird

This tiny home is perfect for the female to lay her clutch, which is a group of eggs laid at the same time. Most often, female hummingbirds lay only two eggs at a time. It is rare that a female will have more or fewer than two eggs in her clutch. And before these babies are born, the female is protective! She only leaves the eggs for a few minutes every hour.

Baby Hummingbirds

Once the babies hatch, they are hungry! Baby hummingbirds (as well as adults) feed on insects and nectar. Nectar is a sweet liquid produced by flowers. The female will leave the nest to gather food, and then use her long beak to feed the babies. After eight days, the baby hummingbirds grow their feathers. In three short weeks, they are ready to be on their own.

After about three weeks, baby hummingbirds are able to leave their nest and live independently.
hummingbird on branch

Adult Stage

There are probably a lot of things that you want to do when you are an adult. For hummingbirds, their top priority is eating! Hummingbirds have an extremely high metabolism. This means that their bodies are so busy flying and hovering that they burn off their food energy extremely fast. So in order for these birds to zip around so quickly and flap their wings in such a fast manner, they need lots of food.

Much of the adult life of a hummingbird is spent gathering flower nectar and small insects.
hummingbird

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