Will a Praying Mantis Eat Hummingbirds?

Watch your feeders and flowers for a surprising hummingbird predator. Find out how to protect your hummingbirds from a praying mantis.

praying mantisCourtesy Todd Merica
Praying mantis

Do Praying Mantises Kill Hummingbirds?

“I’ve removed a praying mantis from my hummingbird feeder several times and even trimmed the plants away from the feeder, but the insect keeps coming back. What can I do to keep it away?,” asks Terry Hathcock of Millington, Tennessee.

A large mantis is fully capable of catching and eating hummingbirds, so this is a serious issue. Once an individual mantis develops a fixation on your feeder, it may come back repeatedly to try to nab a hummingbird. You could catch the mantis and take it away—for example, drive to some natural habitat a few miles away and release it there. If that seems like too much effort and you don’t want to use lethal methods, it’s best to take the feeder down for a few days and let the mantis find a different hunting spot.

Check out frequently asked questions about attracting hummingbirds.

praying mantis on hummingbird feederCourtesy Janice Bogott
Praying mantis on a hummingbird feeder

“When the hummingbirds came to feed, this praying mantis reared up and scared the birds away. Why?” asks Janice Bogott of Germantown, Tennessee.

Praying mantises do a lot of exploring, and they sometimes wind up perched on hummingbird feeders. Mantises are predators, mostly feeding on smaller insects, and they may catch bees or other bugs attracted to the feeders. However, large mantises have been known to catch and even kill hummingbirds. The mantis in your photo might not have been big enough to capture a ruby-throated hummingbird, but to be on the safe side, if we find a mantis lurking near one of our feeders, we take it to another spot.

praying mantis hummingbirdCourtesy Michele Carter
A praying mantis sits under a flower as a hummingbird hovers nearby

“I thought it was strange that this hummingbird kept circling this flower but never landed. Then I noticed the praying mantis hiding beneath the bloom. I quickly (and safely) moved the mantis to another location so the hummingbird could land on the flower without fear,” says Michele Carter of Newport, North Carolina.

Next, learn how to create an ideal hummingbird habitat.

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Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard.