Do Hummingbirds Sleep? And 16 More Sleep Facts

How do hummingbirds sleep

Do hummingbirds sleep?

Well, that’s a great question.

Hummingbirds do sleep. All birds need some type of sleep activity to survive. Hummingbird sleep is known as torpor, which is a type of hibernation. Torpor allows hummingbirds to save energy by slowing down their heartbeat, metabolism, and respiration rate. A hummingbird in a torpor state will be seen hanging upside down on a branch.

Sleep helps birds to rest and recover from a busy day of sourcing food, nest building, avoiding predators, and caring for chicks.

But don’t stop reading there!

Birds don’t sleep like us humans or other animals do.

What does that mean?

Well, hummingbirds have some really cool sleep behaviors that you’ll love to learn about. And you’ll learn everything you need to know about hummingbird sleep in this guide, from the where, how’s to what’s and when’s.

Ready? Let’s go.

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Do Hummingbirds Sleep?

Do hummingbirds sleep?

Sleep in essential behaviors for an active bird like a hummingbird. Hummingbirds are constantly moving when they are awake.

But that talent means that sleep is essential. They simply don’t have the energy to go without sleep

But hummingbirds don’t sleep. Well not sleep as we know it anyway.

The cool thing is that Hummingbirds have a special type of sleep known as Torpor or noctivation.

What is hummingbird torpor?

It’s extremely deep sleep, kind of like coma or hibernation mode.

Torpor will cause hummingbirds to slow down and shut down.

Their metabolism and body temperature will lower. Plus their breathing and heart rate will drop to levels so low that you might think they are dead.

But why would they need to do this?

Being a hummingbird requires a lot of energy.

And so torpor is essential for hummingbirds to save energy as much energy as possible.

It’s thought that hummingbirds can save between 60-90% of their energy by using a torpor state.

How do hummingbirds sleep?

One of the things I love about a sleeping hummingbird is how funny they look.

If you ever come across a hummingbird in torpor you may even mistake them for being dead.

Wait! What?

Well, torpor causes such a state of relaxation that it caused the hummingbird to hang upside down as they sleep. Just like a bat.

They can also remain upright but with their head bent so far back, it looks like their neck is broken.

It’s pretty cool to see.

Just remember don’t touch them, they are just asleep.

Where do hummingbirds sleep?

A hummingbird will prefer to sleep on the branch or twig of a tree.

You’ll find they choose a safe tree which provides them with a bit of shelter from poor weather conditions.

They tend to choose trees with spaced out branches such as oak or birch. The large leaves to keep them well hidden.

That’s quite usual as most birds like an enclosed space to hide away from predators as they rest.

It’s likely the need for space as they sleep is to allow hummingbirds space to go into torpor easily.

Yet, hummingbirds sleep in open spaces like on an open wire or nectar feeder.

Do hummingbirds sleep in nests?

As a general rule no.

But.

During breeding season you’ll find those female hummingbirds will roost over nests.

They will sleep in the nests to incubate the eggs. This helps keep hatchlings and nestlings warm when they have no feathers.

Male hummingbirds don’t care for the chicks, and so you’ll never find them sleeping in a nest.

Do hummingbirds sleep in birdhouses?

IF you’ve put up a birdhouse in your yard in the hope it will attract hummingbirds to nest, I’ve got some bad news for you.

Hummingbirds hate sleeping in small spaces, so a birdhouse is not ideal for them.

No matter how much you change the box size, shape, or hole, you won’t ever entice a hummingbird into your birdhouse.

How long do hummingbirds sleep?

Hummingbird will go into a state of torpor from dusk until dawn.

That means the length a hummingbird spends in torpor can be anything from 8-16 hours. Of course, this will depend on the seasons.

On average it’s around 12 hours of torpor each night.

The presence of sunlight triggers the hummingbird’s hormones (corticosterone). This causes them to slowly wake from a torpor state.

It can take a hummingbird around 20-60 minutes to rouse from a state of torpor.

Other factors that affect the length of torpor for a hummingbird are:

  • Species type and size
  • Defending territory (usually dominant males)
  • Escaping predators
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Scare food supply

How often do hummingbirds sleep?

Hummingbirds will go into a state of torpor once a day.

Because it takes so long for hummingbirds to recover from torpor they can’t just quickly take a quick nap to rest.

When you think about it the recovery time from a nap would take longer than the actual nap. Poor recovery from torpor can be deadly for hummingbirds.

Plus each period of torpor puts hummingbirds at increased risk of predators.

Does a hummingbird sleep during the day?

Hummingbirds are active during the day so the general answer to this question is no.

But, that doesn’t mean you won’t see a hummingbird in torpor during the day.

If you do see a bird in torpor during the day it’s not a good sign.

Usually, it means that the bird had had to go into an emergency torpor state to conserves energy.

This will usually be when food is scarce or bad weather conditions make it too risky to search for nectar.

Do hummingbirds sleep together?

Hummingbirds like to sleep alone.

They are solitary birds and their sleep behavior has enabled them to sleep alone.

The effects of torpor mean that a hummingbird doesn’t need to depend on the body heat of other hummingbirds to survive as they sleep.

The only time hummingbird will sleep together is when a mother bird is raising her chicks in the nest.

Where do hummingbirds sleep in the winter?

Most hummingbirds will migrate to warmer countries over the winter.

That’s because winter means no flowers to collect a food source from.

Most species will migrate to South America or the Caribbean in winter.

Hummingbirds that don’t migrate over winter will sleep in their usual places. However, it’s likely that will be close to a good food source like a hummingbird feeder in your yard.

If you see a hummingbird over winter, make sure to keep your nectar feeder well-stocked to give them a good chance of survival.

8 Quick Hummingbird sleep FAQ

These answers are handy to answer direct questions quickly if you’ve not had time to read the whole guide.

What time do hummingbirds go to sleep?

Hummingbird will go into sleep (torpor) at dusk. This usually within 30 minutes of the sun setting at night.

What time do hummingbirds wake up?

Hummingbirds wake at dawn when the sun rises.

Hormones trigger a state of waking around 1-2 hours before the sun rises. This gives them time for a torpor transition which can take up to 1 hour for some hummingbirds.

Do hummingbirds sleep at night?

Yes, hummingbirds go into a sleep state known as torpor during the night.

They’re diurnal birds, which means they are mostly active during the day.

Hummingbirds are not nocturnal birds.

If you’ve seen a hummingbird at night it’s usually due to 3 reasons:

  1. It’s just dark and they’re winding down
  2. They’re migrating
  3. They’re disorientated by artificial lights.

Do hummingbirds take naps?

No hummingbirds don’t take naps.

The reason they can’t take naps is that they really only have two states which are active or torpor.

Torpor is a difficult state to recover from. Longer, scheduled periods of torpor are better than short frequent periods.

Do hummingbirds sleep upside down?

Yes, they do.

The state of torpor causes them to go into a relaxed state which causes them to sleep upside down.

Do hummingbirds sleep with their eyes open?

When in a torpor states hummingbird will have their eyes shut.

A hummingbird who looks like is sleeping with its eyes open is usually not in a full state of torpor. It can also be waking from a torpor state.

Do hummingbirds sleep in the same place each night?

Yes. Hummingbirds tend to find a safe space they like to sleep and will return there each night until they migrate.

Hummingbirds are very territorial birds. That’s because a good sleeping area is usually very safe from predators and close to a good food source. Both of these needs are essential for hummingbird survival.

Do hummingbirds leave their nest at night?

Female hummingbirds will leave their nests at night as their chicks start to get older.

Usually, this won’t be until they have feathers to keep themselves warm.

During nesting season female hummingbirds survive without a daily period of torpor whilst protecting their chicks.

Final thoughts

Yes, hummingbirds do sleep, but in an energy-saving state known as torpor.

They switch all their body functions to low, including their heartbeat, temperature, and breathing.

This behavior helps them to save vital energy for their busy days of hunting for nectar.

Hummingbirds tend to sleep, hidden in tree branches, once a day from dusk until dawn.

Survival is the main aim of hummingbird sleep.

I hope this hummingbird sleep guide has answered any questions you have. And if it hasn’t just ask below and I’ll help you to answer it.

2 thoughts on “Do Hummingbirds Sleep? And 16 More Sleep Facts”

  1. We have hummingbird feeders in our oak tree that we love to watch come & go. I had looked up earlier the difference between male and female hummingbirds because we have a pair right now. We only seem to see this pair and no other hummingbirds, is this normal? Your article was great and very easy to understand. Thank you

    1. Hi Deborah,
      I’m glad you found the article useful. It can be quite unusual to see a migrating pair together at this time of year as the males usually migrate ahead. However, if it’s an overwintering species of hummingbird, you may be lucky enough to have them stay all winter. Just be aware that the male may be bullying other hummers who attempt your feeders, your may find my guide on how to prevent bully hummingbirds useful.

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