What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman discuss all of the foods that hummingbirds eat—their diet includes more than you may think!

hummingbird at sugar water feederCourtesy Alicia Casey
Hummingbird at a sugar water feeder

Sugar Water for Hummingbirds

“Should I add anything to the sugar water for my hummingbirds to make it more nutritious?” asks Roger Emerick of South Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Hummingbirds drink nectar from flowers and sugar water for energy. When you’re feeding them pure sugar water at your hummingbird feeder, there’s no need to put in additives such as red dye or honey. Offer hummingbirds the perfect meal by making this sugar water recipe.

hummingbird eating a mosquitoCourtesy Jasmin Robinson
A ruby-throated hummingbird snatches a mosquito from the air.

Other Foods That Hummingbirds Eat

Hummingbirds also forage at other sources besides flowers and feeders, getting plenty of nutrition from eating small insects like flies and gnats. They even eat small spiders. And hummingbirds are so resourceful that they often forage for insects in the sap wells drilled in trees by sapsuckers. Learn more about common hummingbird behavior.

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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.