Aggression and Hummingbird Behavior

Aggression and Hummingbird Behavior

Aggression and Hummingbird Behavior.

Anyone who has ever tried to feed hummingbirds in their backyard knows that even the smallest birds are capable of having short tempers. These very little birds often display the most obnoxious behavior, which may make watching them an interesting spectacle.

Nevertheless, this behavior of hummingbirds may be problematic for other hummers at backyard feeders, since a single aggressive bird has the potential to drive a large number of others away from the feeding location.

Fun Facts

Only hummingbirds have the ability to fly in reverse, unlike other birds. They are the lightest of all migrating birds, weighing just little more than a cent each. Hummingbirds get their common name from the buzzing sound produced by their wings as they fly.

Are Hummingbirds Known to Mark Their Territory?

When birds believe that their breeding territories or feeding places have been invaded by intruders, many of them may act aggressively. When birds are establishing their territories and guarding their eggs, aggressive behavior is often at its peak in the late spring or early summer.

Although the rufous hummingbird is known to have one of the worst tempers among North American hummingbirds, all hummingbird species are capable, to varying degrees, of displaying anger and aggressive behavior.

Although male hummingbirds are often more belligerent at feeders, and female hummingbirds are more likely to assault in the vicinity of their nests, it is nevertheless fascinating to see either gender of these furious birds in action.

Hummingbirds will struggle over territory when food is low for a number of reasons. They have a long distance to travel when the nectar is gone, therefore they can’t afford to share blooms with others when the blossoms start to wilt. As they guard their favorite feeding places in preparation for migration, the most irate hummingbirds may continue to be violent long into the autumn season.

How aggressive behavior manifests itself in hummingbirds

Although they are very small, hummingbirds possess a powerful arsenal of defense mechanisms to ward off predators and other uninvited guests. Hummingbirds use these mechanisms to protect their territory. A hummingbird that perceives a danger may exhibit aggressive behavior in a number of ways, including the following:


An intruder might be alerted to the fact that an area has already been claimed by making a high-pitched, rapid-fire chirping, buzzing, or chittering sound. When a resident hummingbird detects an outsider in its territory, it may amplify the loudness of its songs and cries or hasten the speed at which it makes them in order to publicize and reinforce its territorial claim.

Hummingbirds adopt threatening postures to deter predators by drawing attention to their large size and powerful build. As a demonstration of his strength and health, a male hummingbird may puff up his gorget in order to display its colors more vividly.

This behavior may deter potential predators. Other angry postures include expanding the wings, flaring the tail, lifting the feathers on the crest, spreading the wings, and pointing the beak like a dagger at the intruder.


It is possible for a furious hummingbird to first hover in front of the intruder, which might be another hummingbird, another animal, or even a person, and then soar high above them before swooping practically straight down directly at the intruder. The beginning of the dive is often denoted by a piercing chirp sound produced by the location of the tail feathers, and this sound serves as an additional caution to uninvited visitors.


Hummingbirds often defend their territory and assert their dominance by driving away potential threats. Before rushing at the intruder and pursuing them far away from the feeder or flowerbeds, a dominant hummingbird may first confront the intruder, which often takes place near a feeding location. These pursuits are often accompanied by angry chirps and other noises.


Fighting is often the final alternative for aggressive behavior and deterring invaders, yet it nevertheless takes place on a regular basis. Hummingbirds that engage in combat use their needle-like bills and their sharp talons as weapons.

Other hummingbirds who do not submit to the birds’ superiority may be gravely injured or even killed if the birds collide with them in flight or make contact with them while they are in flight.

A tussle between a male and female hummingbird.

In order to protect its territory, even the angriest hummingbird will often begin with the least aggressive alternative first. The most prevalent types of interactions that take place between rival hummers include hummingbird noises, threat postures, dives, and chases.

Bringing Aggression in Hummingbirds Under Control

Even though it may be amusing to watch hummingbirds dispute, it can be depressing for backyard birders to establish a large hummingbird garden or feeding area only to have it taken over by a single bully bird.

Hummingbirds are territorial birds and will defend their territory aggressively. There are techniques to lessen the effect that one extremely aggressive hummer has on the territorial behavior of the other hummingbirds that frequent your yard.

Placement of Feeders

Increasing the distance between hummingbird feeders may minimize the aggressive behavior of hummingbirds. It provides additional chances for hummingbirds that are less aggressive to consume nectar from feeders before being swiftly driven away by more aggressive birds.

How many feeders are there?

A dominating bird will not be able to guard numerous feeders as well as they would want to. The presence of more hummingbird feeders has been shown to lessen aggressive behavior in the feeding area. In a similar vein, including flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds in the landscape makes it possible for more species of birds to coexist peacefully while enjoying a greater variety of food sources.

The Best Hummingbird Feeders for Your Yard and How to Position Your Feeders
It is possible to attract a greater variety of birds to your feeders by establishing numerous feeding places for hummingbirds with feeders placed in various locations.

In an ideal situation, if there are territorial hummingbirds in the area, different feeding stations should not be able to see one another. By putting one feeder around the corner from another, for instance, you may prevent a dominant bird from taking over both spots at once.

Positions for Perching

When establishing his territory, an aggressive hummingbird will often do it from one of his preferred perches. Keeping an eye on the irate bird can help you find the perch so you may cut the branch or do anything else to get rid of it. It compels the bird to assume a less prominent perspective position as a result.

Eliminating the Root Causes of Hostility

It may be beneficial to figure out why a hummingbird is acting so irrationally when it comes to defending its territory if the bird seems to be going completely crazy. It’s possible that the problem was caused by a stray cat, another songbird, or even a predator that specializes in hunting hummingbirds. The removal of that source of anxiety may facilitate the hummingbird’s ability to relax.

If you wish to feed a large number of hummingbirds at the same time, you can encounter some aggressive behavior from the birds. However, when you have gained an understanding of the factors that cause these birds to exhibit aggressive and territorial behavior, you will have a better appreciation for the extent to which they go in order to protect their territory and resources. Birdwatchers who are familiar with hummingbirds will easily be able to assist lessen these birds’ hostility without giving up the thrill of viewing hummingbirds.

Purple-Necked Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Common North American Raptor Is The Red-Tailed Hawk

What Do Buzzards And Vultures Have In Common?

Vultures: 20 Interesting Facts

How To Identify A Male Or Female Bird

Predatory Birds’ Diet And Behavior

Osprey Detection Techniques