Hummingbirds are majestic birds to watch. They are resilient birds, often flying thousands of miles to find a good breeding ground. So how many eggs do hummingbird lay when they get here?
Most female hummingbirds will lay two eggs per clutch. Some species may lay up to 3 eggs per clutch. The eggs will be laid one to two days apart. Hummingbirds have small clutch sizes to reduce their risk of predation. Female hummingbirds are the sole cares for each clutch.
If you want to know more about each hummingbird clutch then keep reading, this guide will take you through all you need to know.
Why Do Hummingbirds have small clutches
Hummingbird will lay only two eggs per clutch. There are a few reasons for this, let’s take a closer look.
1. Predator risk
When hummingbirds find a good place to nest, they’ll get to work straight away. They specially create tiny nests which are often hard to detect. You may even mistake a hummingbird nest for a tree knot.
Keeping the nest sizes small means that the hummingbirds can only fit in 1-2 eggs per brood. This ability to keep the nest well-hidden helps the hummingbird stay protected from predators.
2. Food availability
Smaller clutch sizes are much more beneficial to the hummingbird way of life. A hummingbird can consume half of its body weight in food each day. They need a lot of energy to keep going.
As hatchlings and fledglings, the mother is solely responsible for feeding the young chicks. Male hummingbirds don’t tend to nests as their bright colors are likely to attract attention from predators.
The more mouths the mother bird has to feed the harder it is for her to supply enough food. Larger clutch sizes mean there is more risk that both the mother and chicks can starve due to lack of food.
Female hummingbirds will carry around eggs as they lay them usually a couple of days apart. Although a hummingbird egg weighs only 0.4 grams to 1.4 grams a female hummingbird weighs around 3-4.5g. That means one egg can weigh a quarter or even a third of its body weight.
Hummingbirds have a gestation period of 16-18 days. If there are two or three eggs in there, that’s a lot of weight they are carrying around.
The more weight the female carries around the more energy she will use up. This energy needs to be replaced by finding more food to survive.
4. Clutch Success
As with all wild animals, it’s common for a hummingbird to lose at least one chick from the brood. In fact, only 50% of eggs laid will survive. So if the female lays two eggs then the chances are one of the chicks will survive.
Common reasons that hummingbird chicks die so young are disease and predators.
How Many Eggs Do Hummingbird Lay Per Year
Hummingbird birds can have up to 3 clutches per year. The amount will depend on the species of hummingbird. Check out this table for how many clutches each species has per year.
|April – June
|January- May (Mexico)/April-August (USA)
|Buff Bellied Hummingbird
You’ll see from this information that depending on the species hummingbird can have up to anything from 2-9 chicks per year.
What time of year do hummingbirds have their babies?
The most common month for hummingbirds to lay eggs is in May. Yet hummingbird breeding season will vary between species. The breeding season of the hummingbird is dependent on their migratory behaviors. Spring months are the most coon time to breed as food sources are abundant enough for mothers to source more for their chicks.
Some hummingbird species such as the broad-billed hummingbird will lay eggs at two different times of the year. This will depend on which country they are in.
The Anna’s hummingbird is one of the only non-migratory species in the USA. They have their chicks in the winter season. This means that spring is arriving just as the chicks are flying the nest. This means they have a head start on the other migratory birds arriving in mid to late spring.
How long does a hummingbird egg take to hatch?
Depending on the species it can take a hummingbird egg between 14-21 days to hatch. The length of gestation will depend on how well the eggs are incubated and the weather conditions.
A female hummingbird will try to incubate her egg as much as possible. She will only leave the nest to search for food to keep her energy levels high. These periods are as fleeting as possible, usually around 10 minutes. This help the eggs incubate and to protect them from predator attack.
The incubation process is quite a process. It requires the female hummingbird to turn the eggs with her beak and feet. This helps to distribute the heat and maintain an internal egg temperature of 96 to 98.6 ° F (35.5 °C- 37 °C). Poor weather conditions can make this difficult.
Hummingbirds will usually lay around 2 eggs with each brood they have. This is the optimal number a female hummingbird can protect and feed to ensure they have the best chance of survival.
Some hummingbird species will have up to 3 broods per year which means they can have around 9 chicks every year. The time of year these chicks are born will depend on their species, yet most hummingbirds are born in May.
Once the chicks are born the mother has to work alone to keep the chicks safe and provide enough nutrition for them until they are able to fly the nest.