When do Hummingbirds Mate? A Guide to Hummingbirds Mating Seasons Across America

The hummingbird is one of the most fascinating birds on the planet, with its small size and distinctive flying abilities, they are a wonder to watch. 

Like many other birds, hummingbirds have captivating courtship displays, unique to the fact that they cannot walk or hop.

Their beautiful courtship displays and interesting copulation methods lead one to wonder more about their mating behaviors.

So, when do hummingbirds mate? Hummingbirds mate when they return from their migration, and/or when the climate conditions are ideal for sufficient, high nutrient food to grow. There are no exact dates, as different species from different geographical locations mate at different times. 

In this article, we will explore the mating times of different hummingbird species and provide you with more concrete answers on hummingbird mating seasons. 

Hummingbird Territories

With over 330 different species, hummingbirds can be found all across the Americas, ranging from the southern parts of Canada all the way to Brazil.

Only about 24 species of hummingbirds can be found in the USA and Canada, with the majority of the species living in the tropics. 

Hummingbird mating season

Hummingbirds live between 3-5 years on average.

They reach sexual maturity at around one year of age and are ready to mate and reproduce straight away.

This means hummingbirds mate for two to four seasons, producing one to six offspring per year.  

In general, to the further north, the breeding grounds are, the later in the year the hummingbirds mate, and the more south the breeding grounds are the earlier the mating season begins. 

Hummingbirds mating seasons in northern regions

Unable to tolerate very cold temperatures, hummingbirds living in northern parts of the Americas migrate south to Mexico and South America for the winter.

They return to the USA and Canada in early spring when temperatures are milder. 

Upon their return in mid-March, their breeding season begins.

The breeding season lasts up until mid-summer when the birds begin preparing their food stores for migration in the fall. 

Male hummingbirds return from their migration a week or two before the females so that they can find the perfect mating territory and be ready to attract their mates as soon as they arrive. 

Hummingbirds mating in southern and milder climate regions

Species that live in mild climates return from their migration earlier than those from more northern areas.

Hummingbirds from Western and Southern USA return to their mating grounds in mid-December and begin mating in late-December.

Their mating season generally lasts until April.  

Hummingbirds mating in the tropics 

Hummingbird species that live in the tropics generally do not migrate. These species mate during the dry season, between February and April when their food availability is the highest.

Access to high-quality food is the limiting factor for these tropical birds. 

Depending on the climate of their breeding location, female hummingbirds are capable of breeding up to three times and raising up to three broods per nesting season.

This results in a total of about six offspring a year. 

How do male hummingbirds attract females?

Male hummingbirds have the tendency to attract females by their showy flight. They fly between 50-100 feet in the air and then fly down straight to the ground and pulls up before the impact.

This flight is one of the energetic flight that you can observe in hummingbirds.

Some hummingbirds start singing and beating their flaps as fast as possible to create a loud humming sound.

How do female hummingbirds choose their mate?

In all hummingbird species, the female chooses the male. If a female gets attracted by a male, she takes him to her nest or looks at the amount of food i.e. nectar and flowers, available to the male hummingbird territory.

The female shows her interest by pointing out the bill at the male hummingbird.

If a female is not interested, she usually flies away and leaves the hummingbird.

How do hummingbirds mate?

The mating of hummingbirds is very quick and just lasts for 3-5 seconds.

Since penetration is not involved during their mating, so cloaca’s are involved.

Cloaca’s of both female and male hummingbird is pressed together and the movement of sperm from male to female happens.

This entire mating process is therefore called cloacal kiss.

When do hummingbirds lay their eggs?

After two days of mating, female hummingbirds lay two bean-sized eggs which are further incubated for the next 12-15 days.

However, in colder areas the hatching takes some more extra days.

The brooding and feeding of the babies are done by the female hummingbirds herself.

Related Questions

How long do baby hummingbirds stay in the nest? The baby hummingbirds take around 3-4 weeks to become young fully feathered birds. Most hummingbirds lay only 2 eggs and 1 in rarely.

What happens if you touch the baby hummingbird? Who doesn’t like to touch the baby hummingbird? However, I have heard a lot during my childhood that once a human touches the baby, the mother rejects it which is absolutely absurd. So, never hesitate to help or touch a baby hummingbird.

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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