Where Do Hummingbirds Sleep at Night?

Updated: Feb. 28, 2023

Learn where hummingbirds sleep, if they feed at night, and how they go into a deep sleep-like state to conserve energy during cold weather.

Where Do Hummingbirds Sleep?

“Hummingbirds visit my feeders every day, year-round,” says Birds & Blooms reader Kay Teseniar of Kelso, Washington. “Where do hummingbirds sleep at night, and how do they survive the chilly weather?”

Hummingbirds often find a twig that’s sheltered from the wind to rest on for the night. Also, in winter, they can enter a deep sleep-like state known as torpor. This odd behavior usually happens on cold nights, but sometimes they go into a torpid state during the day.

If you’ve ever wondered, this is how much hummingbirds weigh.

Do Hummingbirds Sleep Upside Down?

Sarahlatimer, hummingbirds sleepCourtesy Sarah Latimer

“This hummingbird (above) was hanging upside-down. Is that how they sleep?” asks Sarah Latimer of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.

Although it isn’t their normal position, hummingbirds sometimes sleep hanging upside down. These tiny birds have such a rapid metabolism that they risk burning up most of their energy while they sleep. So they may go into a condition called torpor, in which their heartbeat, breathing, and other bodily functions slow way down. When they settle down to sleep, their toes close tightly around their perch. But if it’s a very smooth perch, they may slip until they are hanging head downward. It looks alarming, but usually when the bird wakes up, it can right itself with no problem. You may even seem them hanging upside down when they’re perched on a feeder.

How fast do hummingbirds fly and flap their wings?

hummingbird torporCourtesy Charles Hoysa
A hummingbird leans back on a branch after feeding. It may be stretching or preening.

Torpor allows hummingbirds to conserve precious energy and survive surprisingly low temperatures. Metabolism drops by as much as 95 percent. The bird isn’t any worse off when it awakens from this deep sleep. In spite of their fragile appearance, they’re tough little creatures!

So if you see a hummingbird in a strange position and a sleep-like state, don’t fret. It’s normal!

Learn more about hummingbird behavior from the experts.

Do Hummingbirds Feed at Night?

sphinx mothCourtesy Mark Killion
A sphinx moth is often mistaken for a hummingbird when it feeds at twilight

Hummingbirds feed frequently from sugar water feeders and nectar flowers during daylight hours before settling in for the night. If you think you see a hummingbird look-alike feeding on flowers after dark (such as in a moon garden), you might actually be seeing a sphinx moth, also known as a hummingbird moth. These fascinating pollinators have fooled many birdwatchers and nature lovers.

Next, learn how do hummingbirds find feeders?