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Hummingbirds are fantastic animals to watch, and many people have feeders to invite them into their yards. Since people often see males close to female hummingbirds, many people wonder if they mate for life. Unfortunately, hummingbirds do not mate for life, but keep reading while we take a closer look at their mating rituals to find out how often they need to find a new mate and other interesting facts about these amazing birds to help you be better informed.
The female is the one who chooses who will be her mate show except to the male to impress her. He will usually show his colorful feathers in the best possible light. Many males also have bright feathers on their heads and chest that they will try to display, and they are surprisingly adept at using the sunlight to their advantage.
Male birds can fluff up their feathers to look larger, and they will start engaging in death-defying displays of speed and aerial maneuvers. It’s quite impressive to watch as they do zigzags and loops with amazing speed, often flying more than 100 feet in the air only to plummet straight down towards the ground again. In some cases, it will stop just inches above the female’s head. Males will also beat their wings to make the loudest sound possible.
The female’s role is to begin building a nest where she will lure her potential mates. Once the male sees he’s in the nest, he will become excited and start whistling and showing off. However, the female can still choose another by flying away, and the male will need to find another female to impress. If she points her beak at him, the courtship will continue.
When mating happens, the male will press his posterior opening, which is called the cloaca, against the females for about 3 seconds to fertilize her eggs. When fertilization is complete, the male will fly off to find another female to mate with, and the process will repeat.
Once the male flies off, the female continues to build the nest. She will lay one or two pea-sized eggs and raise them entirely independently with no help from the male once they hatch in two to three weeks. In fact, she may become aggressive towards any male birds that try to enter her nest.
The mother Hummingbird will spend most of her time looking for food for the young birds until they are about 22 days (about 3 weeks) old. Three-week-old birds usually have their feathers and start hunting for food, but the mother will stay nearby for another 25 days to keep tabs on them.
Unfortunately, hummingbirds do not mate for life, and the male will usually mate with as many females as possible while the female will spend close to two months raising the young. You see male and female hummingbirds in the same area, likely due to the mating rituals and because they eat similar foods and enjoy similar habitats.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers you need. If we have helped you understand these amazing birds better, please share our look into if hummingbirds mate for life on Facebook and Twitter.
You might also be interested in: Do Hummingbirds Have Feet? What You Need To Know!
Featured Image Credit: Ondrej Prosicky, Shutterstock
Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.
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