In the animal kingdom, there are many creatures that are incredibly fast. Cheetahs can run up to 75 miles per hour, peregrine falcons can dive at speeds of over 200 miles per hour, and hummingbirds are no slouch either – they can fly at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour! So how do these tiny birds manage to fly so fast? Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of a hummingbird and see how they are built for speed.
Why do hummingbirds flutter so fast?
The average hummingbird beats its wings 80 times per second, but some species can reach up to 200 beats per second. This rapid flapping allows them to hover in mid-air, and also helps them to fly backwards and upside down.
The high wingbeat rate also helps hummingbirds to stay warm. Their body temperature can range from 104 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and they need to keep their metabolism high to maintain this. The wings help to circulate the warm blood throughout their body.
Is it true that hummingbirds can’t stop flying?
Yes, it is true that hummingbirds cannot stop flying. This is because they have high metabolism rates and need to keep flying in order to maintain their body temperature. If they were to stop flying, they would quickly become cold and would not be able to fly again.
Related – Do hummingbirds carry their babies
How can hummingbirds flap their wings so fast?
The answer to this question has two parts. First, let’s look at how fast hummingbird wings can flap. Second, we’ll explore how hummingbirds generate the power necessary to achieve these high flap rates.
It’s no exaggeration to say that hummingbird wings are a blur. To the human eye, it’s almost impossible to see them flap. If you’ve ever tried to photograph a hummingbird, you know that they’re notoriously difficult to capture on film or video because they move so quickly.
So just how fast do hummingbird wings flap? The world record for wing flapping speed is held by the common hummingbird, which can flap its wings up to 200 times per second! To put that in perspective, the average person blinks about once every three seconds. So in the time it takes you to blink, a hummingbird could have flap its wings more than 60 times.
Now let’s take a look at how these birds generate the power necessary to achieve such high flap rates. Unlike other birds, which power their flight with large breast muscles, hummingbirds rely primarily on the muscles in their wings. And these wing muscles are incredibly powerful for their size.
In fact, hummingbird wing muscles make up about 25-30% of the bird’s total body weight. By comparison, the wing muscles of a chicken make up only about 5% of its body weight. This difference is due, in part, to the fact that hummingbird wings are much larger in proportion to their body size than chicken wings.
But even taking this into account, hummingbird wing muscles are still incredibly powerful. They’re able to generate up to 12 times the power of a chicken’s wing muscles, gram for gram. This allows them to achieve the high flap rates necessary for flight.
The high metabolism of hummingbirds allows them to sustain their incredibly fast speeds. They have specially adapted muscles and lungs that help them to fly at such high speeds. Their wings are also specially adapted to their flying style, which helps them to be some of the fastest creatures on the planet.