Male hummingbirds are the most colorful and usually have a brilliant colored gorget (throat). Some have the color extend up over the head making a hood like the Costa's and Anna's hummingbirds.
The females can have colorful feathers in the gorget area but usually not solid and is less flashy.
The color may appear black if the light doesn't hit it just right. This is because the color is not from pigmentation; but rather, prism-like cells within the top layers of the feathers.
Every second, these tiny birds beat their wings about 70 times and their heart beats up to 200 times when diving up to 60 miles per hour!
In order to eat enough calories to sustain this level of energy, it must feed about 7 times every hour. Every day it eats up to 8 times its body weight. This may include visiting up to 1,000 flowers every day.
They can remember each flower and know when they have refilled with nectar. If flowers can't be found, they have been known to drink tree sap.
Hummingbirds make tiny nests, measuring only 1 1/2 inches across. To get an idea of how small that is, imagine a hollowed Walnut husk with fluff inside.
The tiny nest is made of materials found nearby such as lichen, moss, cotton, spider webs, tiny twigs, etc. Nests are usually built on branches that form a "Y" to create a sturdy base.
Inside the nests are two, tiny eggs about the size of Tic-Tac's. These eggs are laid one day apart but will hatch on the same day since the female won't sit on the first one until the second is laid.
The mom will sit on these eggs between 2 - 3 weeks. When the babies hatch, they are about the size of a US penny and remain in the nest for another 3 weeks.
These colorful birds are from the second largest bird family in the Western Hemisphere with over 300 species.
Despite their large numbers, they are some of the smallest birds in the world, weighing in from 2 - 20 grams (one US penny weighs 2.5 grams).
Hummingbirds have the heaviest brain to body weight ratio of any other bird at 4.2%.
In addition to these amazing facts, the hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.
Hummingbirds love red flowers but if you have a hummingbird feeder at your home, there is no need to add red food coloring. Most have the plastic red flower on them so the color of the nectar doesn't matter.
They enjoy a large variety of flowers but in my own backyard, they prefer our red Cape Honeysuckle but also love our purple Sage.
Using nearby materials as well as its small size, helps it blend in so they can be very hard to find.
Like many other bird species, they have adapted fairly well to human interference so some nests can be found on buildings such as on an outdoor light or porch beam.
If you are fortunate to live around hummingbirds, I hope you enjoy these amazing, little jewels of the Americas.