What Do Hummingbirds
Like To Drink?

By Richard Worden

Hummingbirds are fascinating to watch since they always seem busy as they zoom around and have stunning colors on their bodies. The feature you'll notice first on a hummingbird is its long, thin beak, which has a unique shape. But what do hummingbirds like to drink?

Hummingbirds like to drink nectar from flowers with brightly-colored petals. You can also make your own nectar (sugar water) for them to enjoy. That said, hummingbirds won't drink much regular water since they get enough hydration from nectar, so you're less likely to see them around a bird bath.

This article will cover what hummingbirds like to drink, how to make sugar water, and more. There's a lot to learn about hummingbirds and nectar, so let's get started!

What do hummingbirds like to drink

Why Hummingbirds Like Nectar

Hummingbirds spend all of their time searching for sources of nectar. In fact, the average hummingbird can drink from about 1,000 to 2,000 flowers each day.

Below are some of the reasons why hummingbirds like drinking nectar so much.

Nectar Contains Sugar

First, nectar contains a lot of sugar, which gives them the energy they need to fly around so quickly. Hummingbirds have extremely fast metabolisms, and the sugar lets the birds keep their wings in constant motion.

To attract hummingbirds to your property, you can always make sugar water and pour it into a hummingbird feeder. You won't need to worry if the sugar is unhealthy for them, as these birds need a ton of energy to fly.

Their bodies burn through high amounts of sugar almost immediately, so the birds won't gain weight from it. They need to eat at least every 15 minutes, and the sugar in nectar can give them the energy boost they need to catch small insects and fly to more flowers.

Nectar Offers Hydration and Calories

Second, nectar keeps the hummingbird hydrated but still offers them calories. Since they burn so much energy during the day, spending too much time searching for plain water can harm them. 

Instead, hummingbirds will almost always choose to get their moisture from nectar because water doesn't contain the calories they need to survive.

To put it in perspective, hummingbirds burn about 6,600 to 12,000 calories daily. That means they can starve very quickly and need to be eating almost constantly to survive. Nectar offers them a quick drink to keep them hydrated, plus some calories through the sugar to keep them going.

Do Hummingbirds Drink Regular Water?

Hummingbirds don't drink regular water unless they're thirsty and can't find anything else. They always prefer nectar over plain water but still need clean water to bathe. These birds should get all the hydration they need from nectar.

So, if you did purchase a bird bath for the hummingbirds on your property, you're not out of luck. The birds will still use it to keep themselves clean. 

Although, they do prefer fountains since they can fly through them to bathe. Hummingbirds will even use the rain or sprinklers to rinse off in the same way.

Hummingbird Feeder Recipe

How To Make a Hummingbird's Favorite Drink

Now that you know the answer to "what do hummingbirds like to drink?" You can make nectar for them at home. It's much healthier for the birds than buying red hummingbird food from the store since your DIY version won't have the dyes and added chemicals.

Here's a quick and easy recipe to make hummingbird nectar at home. You will need the following:

  • Refined white sugar
  • Water
  • Large pot or bowl
  • Stirring spoon

Once you've gathered everything, these are the steps you'll need to take:

  1. Combine one part of white sugar with four parts of water.
  2. Stir the sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Clean the hummingbird feeder and pour the sugar water inside.
  4. Hang the feeder somewhere so that the birds can easily find it.
  5. Remember to clean the feeder every other day and change the nectar frequently.

Make sure you never use powdered and unprocessed sugars or honey in your homemade nectar. These ingredients can be very harmful to hummingbirds. You should also avoid adding food coloring to the nectar.

I recommend getting the KRUOO Hummingbird Feeder from Amazon.com if you don't have a feeder. This option provides the birds with a perch to rest while they drink. It also includes 20 drinking ports and a water moat to prevent pests from getting to the nectar. Overall, it's incredibly appealing to hummingbirds.

And as you prepare your homemade nectar to attract hummingbirds, remember to change it every 3-5 days to keep it fresh. While these birds are ‘suckers’ for nectar, they’ll gladly fly to another destination if the nectar has spoiled or isn’t fresh enough.

NOTE: Do not use anything other than white sugar and water. Don't use other sweeteners like brown sugar, molasses, honey, or artificial sweeteners.

How Do Hummingbirds Drink From a Hummingbird Feeder?

Most birds drink by scooping water into their beaks, then tilting their heads back to swallow it. However, instead of using this method, hummingbirds use their forked tongues to lap up liquids. This fact surprises many people because they believe hummingbirds use their beaks as long straws.

Hummingbirds drink by extending their long tongue into the hummingbird feeder. From there, they open their forked tongues and scoop up the liquid. Their tongues are so long that they can reach the nectar in the bottoms of almost empty feeders.

Their unique beak and tongue shapes are perfect for reaching nectar inside flowers. Most modern hummingbird feeders come in ‘hummingbird-friendly’ designs that allow for maximum comfort when drinking nectar.  

Learn More Hummingbird 2

Hummingbirds can be fussy eaters, that's why it's important to choose just the right feeder. Here's a helpful article of mine that reviews the feeders Hummingbirds like the most...

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Hummingbirds love a good birdbath, but not just anyone will do! This helpful article of mine offers tips on chosing the right one, as well as reviewing those Hummingbird birdbaths that attract them the most.

Learn More Hummingbird 3

Knowing how to feed and bathe a Hummingbird does no good if you have none in your yard. This important article of mine offers tips on the best ways to attract Hummingbirds to your garden.

What Do Hummingbirds Like to Drink?...
Final Thoughts

To summarize, the answer to "what do hummingbirds like to drink?" is that they love to drink nectar. They usually get enough hydration from the flowers they drink from, so you won't see them drinking water very often. Hummingbirds also enjoy drinking the homemade nectars that people make for them.

However, hummingbirds don't just drink nectar; they also eat small insects and sometimes tree sap. These tiny birds can't eat seeds due to the shape of their beaks, so they need to get most of their energy from the nectar they drink.

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About Me

About the Author...

Richard Worden, a dedicated bird lover for over 20 years, I love to share my in-depth knowledge and passion for birds. Read more About Me and my expertise in this field.

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