Can Hummingbirds Even Fly Backwards?

If hummingbirds have visited your backyard, you've probably amazed at their flight. They don't only fly fast.  

They can hover and move sideways to drink sugarwater from feeders. Can hummingbirds fly backwards and upside-down? Yes! Why they're the best bird aerial acrobats.  

Most birds have wings that can fly, but hummingbird wings are unique. These birds zip between flowers and flap their wings around 50 times per second to keep aloft. Hummingbird wings cannot glide or soar.  

How can hummingbirds fly backwards? Their wings' structure and lifting capacity are the key. Non-hummingbirds flap and acquire lift on the downstroke. Birds fly aloft when their wings drop.  

However, hummingbirds differ. They gain lifting power backwards and forwards. Instead of up-and-down, hummingbird wings move figure-eight. Hummingbirds invert their wings using their long upper arm bones and wrist twists.  

Hummingbirds can move and rotate their wings like no other bird and have the muscles to do it. About 30% of a hummingbird's weight is pectoral muscles.   

The poor development of their feet prevents them from walking or hopping. It may sound unusual, yet it saves energy when flying. They don't have extra weight forcing them to work harder.  

Hummingbirds live on the wing because they can't use their feet. While hummingbirds chase small insects and spiders, they usually eat nectar and sugar-water.  

To hover requires a lot of energy! Hummingbirds can fly backwards, so they can fly to a flower, suck up the nectar with their long tongue, and then gracefully fly to the next one.  

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