Hummingbird Nest & Eggs: What Makes Them Special (Size, Key Factors, Architecture & More)

Calliope hummingbird nest featured image

Last Updated on June 3, 2020

Hummingbirds belong to the family of Trochilidae, they are tiny, colorful, and have long slender bills. These birds are named after the sound that their fast-moving wings make, which is a hum. 

Hummingbirds are tiny. They only weigh around 2-20 grams and are only 2-5 inches long.

The smallest bird around the world also belongs to this family, it is called a Bee Hummingbird

The most common characteristic that male Hummingbirds possess is their colorful throats or gorgets, while female hummingbirds only have these occasionally. Hummingbirds have small and shiny feathers that reflect the sun.

Why Seeing a Hummingbird’s Nest is Special

hummingbird beside its nest

Barely any of us have seen a hummingbird’s nest.

And if we have, we probably didn’t even notice that it was a nest!

That’s because of their extremely small size and ability to camouflage. Their nests are often mistaken for a bump on a tree branch or just some tiny knot—aside from their size, there are also a lot of factors that make them unnoticeable.  

So if you would like to have a better chance of seeing a nest soon, get a hummingbird feeder. Seeing some sweet nectar is a weakness to them. Imagine seeing this tiny bit of nest being built is quite a big luck.

Having said that, you may now be thinking “what is the best hummingbird feeder?” Click on that link and you’ll know. 😉 I already worked on that for you.

Unlike birds such as Cardinals, Hummingbirds don’t breed for a whole year. Each hummingbird species have different dates of nesting and laying eggs; however, they often start in October until June.

Where Can Their Nests Be Found?

hummingbird nest on a lamp post

If you’re eager to find the smallest nest in the world, there’s probably a lot of questions on your mind right now. Like, “where do hummingbirds live?” 

Geographic Location

Hummingbirds are often found in the Western Hemisphere, most of them live in tropical countries. In the winter, they migrate to the Southeast and West Coast of the U.S.

And your next question would probably be “where do hummingbirds nest?”

The nesting location depends on the species, but some of them regularly nest in the United States and near Mexico’s border. 

Safety First

When choosing a nesting place, the female bird takes her time in repeatedly landing in the location to assure its safety. Because of their size, almost anywhere could seem like a good nesting place, but other factors such as stability are considered too.

Key Factors

They often choose locations that are covered so that they’re safe from the wind, rain, sun, and most importantly, predators. Aside from that, hummingbirds also don’t nest in a location where there are no nearby food sources.

Hummingbirds like to build their nests in shrubby and covered places, but they also have a special attraction for deciduous trees such as hornbeam, birch, oak, hackberry, and pine. 

Females build their nests on a forked, thin, and descending branch. They choose locations that are difficult to access in protection from predators and humans since they want to avoid defending their nests.

However, they can also be found nesting in such weird places. 

There are times where they nest in clotheslines and some other strings, they were also found nesting on decorations such as wind chimes, statues, and you wouldn’t believe it…

On top of a cactus!


Now let’s see how a hummingbird builds a tiny nest to lay her eggs and keep her hatchlings in this video:


More Information About Their Nest

The male hummingbirds take no part in making the nest, they often leave after mating instead of offering support or raising the chicks. And because of that, the male also has no say in where the nest would be built or what materials would be used. 

Time To Construct

In the building process, the female will gather the nesting materials several hours a day, it commonly takes them 5-7 days to finish gathering and choosing the materials. 

The female hummingbird builds her nest in 6-10 days, it takes them a long time to stiffen the nest’s base and shape its rim. 

Materials Used

It’s amazing how hummingbirds build their nests using materials that can be found in their surroundings. 

Materials such as spider silk and bits of moss and lichen are necessary for building the nest; however, some common materials used are cotton fiber, pine resin, dandelions, small bits of leaves, and much more

Size & Architecture

The nest’s floor is spongy while its edge is slightly curved inward for the eggs’ protection. Most hummingbird nest sizes are around 1 inch deep and 1.5-2 inches in diameter, meaning that they’re nearly the size of a ping-pong ball. 

Yet there are some factors which the dimensions of the nest depend on like the materials, location, and the species building it. 

Height Above The Ground

Hummingbird nests are commonly 10-90 feet high when built on a tree, yet since they also nest on odd locations such as clotheslines, they may build it 10-40 feet above the ground only. 

But, this also varies depending on the species, for example, a Ruby-throated hummingbird’s nest is 5-50 feet above the ground but usually only 10-20 feet, while other species prefer their nests be built higher or lower than that.

Hummingbird Eggs

hummingbird eggs on its nest

The nest can hold up to three hummingbird eggs while they only often lay two offspring. A hummingbird egg size is only 1.2-1.4 centimeters long and 0.9 centimeters wide. Their incubation period usually takes 12-14 days and they nest 18-22 days after. 

When the eggs hatch, the offspring has their eyes closed and are naked having only grayish tracks along the back. 

Respect the Nesting Birds

Hummingbird nests, as mentioned earlier, are extremely difficult to find or notice, so you’re very lucky to find one…

It may be fun and tempting to watch them and observe closely; however, female hummingbirds can be both combative and shy towards anything that approaches them. 

Even if you don’t make contact with their nests, watching can make them think that you are invading which can lead to them defending or abandoning their nest.

It would be a better idea to watch from afar using binoculars perhaps since you already know where to find them!

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