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Video for Metabolism/Energy: Hummingbirds

You can use a number of videos for Biology topic on Metabolism…..

A number of videos of Hummingbirds (taken on vacation in Arizona) are available at


You can easily EMBED these videos in your presentations.

Some key facts about Hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of plants and are important pollinators, especially of deep-throated, tubular flowers. Like bees, they are able to assess the amount of sugar in the nectar they eat; they reject flower types that produce nectar which is less than 12% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is around 25%. Nectar is a poor source of nutrients, so hummingbirds meet their needs for protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. by preying on insects and spiders, especially when feeding young.

Most hummingbirds have bills that are long and straight or nearly so, but in some species the bill shape is adapted for specialized feeding.

When hummingbirds feed on nectar, the bill is usually only opened slightly, allowing the tongue to dart out and into the interior of flowers.

Hummingbirds do not spend all day flying, as the energy costs of this would be prohibitive. In fact, they spend most of their lives sitting, perching and watching the world. Hummingbirds feed in many small meals, consuming up to their own body weight in nectar and insects per day.

With the exception of insects, hummingbirds while in flight have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute, a rate once measured in a Blue-throated Hummingbird [1]. They also typically consume more than their own weight in nectar each day, and to do so they must visit hundreds of flowers daily. At any given moment, they are only hours away from starving.

However, they are capable of slowing down their metabolism at night, or any other time food is not readily available. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor. During torpor, the heart rate and rate of breathing are both slowed dramatically (the heart rate to roughly 50–180 beats per minute), reducing their need for food. Most organisms with very rapid metabolism have short lifespans; however hummingbirds have been known to survive in captivity for as long as 17 years.

Studies of hummingbirds’ metabolism are highly relevant to the question of whether a migrating Ruby-throated Hummingbird can cross 800 km (500 miles) of the Gulf of Mexico on a nonstop flight, as field observations suggest it does. This hummingbird, like other birds preparing to migrate, stores up fat to serve as fuel, thereby augmenting its weight by as much as 100 percent and hence increasing the bird’s potential flying time.[9]

They spend an average 10%-15% of their time feeding and 75%-80% sitting, digesting and watching. Obtaining this much food requires a lot of work. Scientists have recorded a Costa’s Hummingbirds making 42 feeding flights in 6-5 hours, during which time it visited 1,311 flowers.

(Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummingbird )