Where Do Hummingbirds Sleep?

Do They Have A Preferred Sleeping And Nesting Area?

By Richard Worden

Hummingbirds are one of the most active avians, from lightning-fast flapping wings to solo migration across hundreds of miles. Hence, like every animal, they need adequate rest to maintain proper health. When and where do hummingbirds sleep?

Hummingbirds sleep on tree branches at night. They choose the area carefully to protect themselves from adverse weather conditions and potential predators. However, female hummingbirds sleep in their nests in sheltered trees during the breeding season to incubate their offspring.

The rest of this article will share more about hummingbirds sleeping, including where they sleep every night, their sleeping posture, and what happens when they sleep.

Where do hummingbirds sleep

Do Hummingbirds Sleep in the Same Place Every Night?

Like all animals, hummingbirds need rest, and they prefer to have one long sleep at night. So, where do hummingbirds sleep every night? Do they move from one location to another?

Hummingbirds sleep in the same place every night before migrating. The ideal location is a safe tree close to a food source. They are highly territorial and defend the area from other hummingbirds. If predators compromise their safety, they'll look for another place.

Primarily, male hummingbirds first look for a tree with large leaves or a dense shrub. They prioritize them over open areas because severe weather changes, notably colder ones, can kill them.

Moreover, it also conceals them from predators, as their inactivity while sleeping makes them highly vulnerable. They typically cling to the branch and rest till the following day.

Since they carefully choose their resting site, they continuously return there before migration. They are territorial birds, so they defend the area from similar species during the day.

Multiple hummingbirds may share one branch for sleeping, but they don't come close to one another like other species.

As for females, they sleep in nests only during nesting periods. They incubate the offspring, being the only ones responsible for their upkeep. Hence, they must always return there every night.

The nests are on trees with shelter or dense shrubs that should be safe from adverse weather.

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Do Hummingbirds Sleep in Birdhouses?

Nesting is a significant part of birds' life, and hummingbirds are no exception to the process. After mating, the females instinctively search for nesting sites where they'll reproduce and sleep, so what is their preferred location? Do they consider birdhouses an option to nest?

Hummingbirds do not sleep in birdhouses because they don't like enclosed spaces. They've adapted to nesting on open tree branches or dense shrubs. Hummingbirds are not cavity nesters and thus aren't inclined to choose nesting sites such as boxes.

Therefore, if you want them sleeping around your property, consider the following instead:

  • Plant native flowering plants to provide nectar for their consumption. They can even sleep on them if they are large and protective enough.
  • Provide a clean and reliable source of water.
  • Get rid of predators and bird deterrents.
  • Avoid harmful chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides that could harm them.

As mentioned, females are the primary nesters to care for their young ones. They start looking for the ideal spots after mating, which is usually:

  • Open on tree branches, yet camouflaged to reduce attention. Some species nest on stable human-made items.
  • Close to food and water sources
  • Away from predators

The nests are primarily from any natural material, like twigs and plants. They use spider silks to hold them together, ensuring the nests' softness, flexibility, and attachment to the branch.

On average, it takes them about seven days to complete the construction, but they don't need your assistance with the materials or a birdhouse for nesting.

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Do Hummingbirds Sleep Upside Down?

Hummingbirds have several distinct qualities that fascinate both the most casual birders and even seasoned ornithologists. Their size, color, feather number, and heart rate all stand out among avians. However, one of the hummingbirds' most exciting facts is their sleeping posture.

Hummingbirds sometimes sleep hanging upside down, especially the ones that don't nest. It happens when they slightly lose their grip while sleeping upright. They slip and end up upside down. They can still complete the sleep in this position as their locked toes ensure they don't fall.

Unknown to many birders, hummingbirds are still comfortable sleeping upside down and shouldn't be disturbed. On most occasions, they don’t respond when poked because of how deep their sleep is. But even though it might look like it, they are not dead or sick.

Hummingbirds are vulnerable during this period of inactivity, so contact your local animal control if you're sure that they're in real danger.

Aside from perching upside-down branches, hummingbirds also sleep in nests. The primary reason is to warm their eggs or newborns so they remain upright throughout the night.

Did you know that Hummingbirds snore when they sleep?
This cute YouTube video catches one in the act!

What Happens to Hummingbirds When They Sleep?

Hummingbirds' sleep is not just unique for the odd posture they take but also for how deep and long they remain inactive. Where do hummingbirds sleep, preferably? And what happens during this period?

Hummingbirds enter an inactive state called torpor when they sleep on branches or nests. It is much deeper than the regular sleep of other species and closer to hibernation. Because of their high metabolism, torpor ensures they conserve energy while resting.

Torpor is an intriguing yet essential part of hummingbirds' survival.

Hummingbirds' Torpor: All You Need To Know

As studies have shown, hummingbirds have the highest metabolic rates among all animals—about 77 times higher than humans and 100 times that of an elephant.

Therefore, they must eat fast and sufficiently enough to maintain such rates, but that is relatively easy when awake during the day. They search and rummage about for nectar and insects, consuming about their weight daily.

However, hummingbirds can't feed through the long hours of the night when they must rest, so how do they remain alive if they don't replenish the energy consumed? They go into torpor.

Torpor is an inactive phase that drastically reduces metabolism, lowering body temperature. It takes place throughout the night, ensuring hummingbirds can manage the energy reserves filled during the day to prevent death from starvation.

Hummingbirds' average body temperature during the day is over 100°F (37.8°C). However, it dramatically decreases by over 50 percent at night to 41-50 °F (5-10 °C) due to the reduced metabolism.

This is astonishing. Not many organisms can manage such significant temperature falls. Various processes allow this, such as slowing their heartbeat from 1,000-1,200 beats per minute to 50 beats per minute.

Unlike regular sleep, waking up from torpor can take hummingbirds up to an hour. They try to raise their body temperature back to normal by vibrating their wing muscles, breathing faster, and increasing their heartbeat.

After awakening, they immediately forage for food, as they've consumed a lot of energy through the night.

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Where Do Hummingbirds Sleep?...Final Thoughts

These tiny birds sleep anywhere, including in nests when they have young ones. They establish their territory and return there every night, where they now consider safe from adverse weather and predators.

When they sleep, they enter into an inactive phase called torpor, which helps reduce their metabolism drastically to ensure their survival through the night. Hummingbirds need to feed constantly to stay alive, so they need as much energy as possible while they sleep.

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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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