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Hummingbirds Specialized
A hummingbird needs to eat about every 15 minutes and up to 3 times its weight in food every day! Nectar from flowers and feeders is a source of high energy food.

  • Take a close look at this photo and you will see the ruby-throated hummingbird's tongue is split at the tip. (Move your mouse over the photo below.)

Their forked, transparent tongue is fringed with tiny hairs at the tip. It curls into a "W" shape in the back.

Did you notice that the hummingbird laps up nectar with its tongue by extending it out and drawing it back? This action is the same one used by dogs and cats. However, hummingbirds do this really fast; up to 13 times per second! These specialized adaptations help hummingbirds survive.

notice the translucent-forked tongue
© Russ Thompson