Male Vs Female Hummingbird: An In-depth Comparison

male vs female hummingbird

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When it comes to hummingbirds, there are more than just a few differences between male and female birds. To help you better understand these differences, we’ll go over some of the most notable ones in this post. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the male vs female hummingbird! 

Did you know that there are major differences between male and female hummingbirds? While many people may think that they are essentially the same, this could not be further from the truth! To help you understand these differences better, we’ll go over some of the most notable ones in this post. Without further ado, let’s take a look at male vs female hummingbirds!

Physical Differences

One of the most notable physical differences between male and female hummingbirds is their plumage. Male hummingbirds tend to have brighter, more vibrant feathers than females. In many species, males have iridescent throat feathers called gorgets that are used to attract females in courtship displays.

On the other hand, female hummingbirds usually have duller coloration overall with no gorget present. Additionally, young male hummingbird typically looks similar to adult female until they reach maturity at 3-4 months of age when they will start developing a bright red or orange throat patch. Tail feathers may also vary between the sexes.

male vs female hummingbird

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Behavioral Difference Between Male vs Female Hummingbird

The behaviors of male and female hummingbirds also differ greatly. Generally speaking, male hummingbirds are much more territorial than female birds and will often chase other males away from their feeding sites. They will also use their brightly colored gorget to attract female birds during mating season. Conversely, female hummingbirds tend to be more tolerant of other hummingbirds in their vicinity and are less likely to engage in territorial disputes.

Diet Differences

Fascinatingly, male and female hummingbirds have quite different diets. While the females stick to nectar from flowers for sustenance, males bird change their diet and look for insects such as spiders and small flies as an additional source of protein for energy. This diversity in dietary habits helps the birds remain healthy and meet different nutritional needs during mating season. Scientists have also noticed that male hummingbirds will work harder to find food sources when it’s a breeding time period to be able to attract mates. It is absolutely incredible that these tiny birds are capable of such complex dietary differences!

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As mentioned earlier, male hummingbirds possess something called a gorget, which is an iridescent patch of bright feathers on their throat. This magnificent feature attracts potential mates and is also used in territorial displays. It’s thought that these brightly colored feathers are meant to make the male hummingbird appear larger, intimidating any competitors.

Mating Habit And Behavior Of Male And Female Hummingbirds

Male and female hummingbirds demonstrate different mating behaviors when trying to find a mate. During courtship rituals, males will often dive bomb other males or females with their flashy gorgets to try and scare them away from potential mates.

In contrast, it has been observed that female birds tend to remain more submissive during the courting season and may even fly away from male advances. This difference in behavior likely stems from the fact that males have more to gain by being aggressive whereas females would benefit more from being less confrontational.

Learn More: Do Hummingbirds Eat Grape Jelly?

Nesting Habits

Male and female hummingbirds both take part in nesting activities, although they do so differently. Males typically help with the construction of the nest, bringing twigs and leaves to the female who will then assemble them into a cup-like structure. Afterward, both birds work together to line the nest with soft down feathers before finally adding some mud or lichen as further insulation. It’s amazing how these tiny birds can construct such intricate nests with just their beaks!

male vs female hummingbird

Migration Patterns

Many common hummingbird species migrate yearly between their breeding grounds and wintering sites. During this journey, male and female birds often travel together; however, they don’t necessarily fly at the same speed or altitude. Instead, males have been known to fly faster and higher than females in order to scout for food sources along the way. This behavior helps ensure that both birds have enough sustenance to make it through their long journey successfully.

Learn More: How Long Do Hummingbirds Live

Conservation Status And Threats Faced By Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are an important part of the world’s ecosystem, yet they face numerous threats. Common issues include habitat loss due to deforestation and urban sprawl, pesticide use, climate change, competition for nectar sources from other bird species, and more. As a result of these threats, some species have seen a sharp decline in population numbers over time. Fortunately, conservation efforts are being made to protect hummingbird habitats and increase awareness about the importance of these tiny birds.


How Do You Tell A Male From A Female Hummingbird?

Yes, many hummingbirds migrate yearly between their breeding grounds and wintering sites. During this journey, male hummingbirds are generally more brightly colored than female hummingbirds. In addition, if you can get a close look at the birds, male hummingbirds usually have long, straight bills and slightly larger heads. Female hummingbirds typically have shorter bills with an upturned curve at the tip.

How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

Most hummingbirds live for about four to five years in the wild. However, some species have been known to live for up to nine years. The oldest recorded hummingbird was a female broad-tailed hummingbird banded in 1976 that was estimated to be at least 12 years old.

Do Hummingbirds Have Predators?

Yes, hummingbirds have a variety of predators including snakes, spiders, lizards, and cats. In addition, larger birds such as hawks and owls also prey on these tiny birds. Additionally, some species of bats have been known to feed on hummingbirds as well. Therefore, it is important for birders to take precautions when trying to attract these beautiful creatures into their yards or gardens.

Learn More: Where Is The Best Place To Hang A Hummingbird Feeder?


Fascinating creatures, hummingbirds have many unique characteristics that set them apart from other birds. Male and female hummingbirds differ not only in their physical appearance but also in their diets, mating habits, nesting activities, migration patterns, and conservation status. From the iridescent gorget of males to the submissive behavior of females during courtship rituals, hummingbirds are some of the most interesting and intriguing birds around!

Dawn Caffrey

Dawn Caffrey

Hummingbirds just make me happy - in fact, I read somewhere that they represent happiness in Native American totems.
Let me tell you what I found about feeders from treating the hummingbirds in my back yard.

About Me

Hummingbirds just make me happy – in fact, I read somewhere that they represent happiness in Native American totems.
Let me tell you what I found about feeders from treating the hummingbirds in my back yard.

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