Poop and pee might not be the most refined of topics. But if you are interested in hummingbirds, you will want to know all you can about these fascinating creatures—including their habits when it comes to expelling waste.
Waste excretion is not the most pleasant of topics, but the more you learn about the habits of various creatures that share your world, the more interesting it can become.
Read up on the ‘dirt’ when it comes to a hummingbird’s less graceful and more functional habits.
Do Hummingbirds Poop?
Yes, hummingbirds do poop. Like other birds, they do need to expel waste after consuming the food that they need to eat. As with other creatures that eat a lot, the waste has to come out at the other end too.
Do Hummingbirds Pee?
Yes, one fun fact about hummingbirds is that with their specialized diet which contains a high proportion of liquid nectar, hummingbirds are one of the very few bird species that do actually pee.
Hummingbirds are one of the few wild birds that consume large quantities of excess water in their daily diet that they must get rid of.
In fact, remarkably, scientists have discovered that the urine a hummingbird excretes every day can be between 56% and 149% of their body weight!
How Do Hummingbirds Expel Waste?
When hummingbirds expel waste, they pee and poop out of the same orifice at the same time. They excrete semi-solid waste that contains both feces and urine.
Hummingbirds consume a lot of water through the nectar and insects they consume. Most birds excrete uric acid, a solid mixed with small amounts of water.
The hummingbird species consume such a lot of water that they do not need to conserve it as other birds do. So they exude urea, like mammals, rather than uric acid like other birds. Their pee is therefore very diluted and mostly made up of water.
Within this watery waste, there will also be small amounts of solid waste for a hummingbird to excrete. Both solid and liquid waste end up in the cloaca of the birds before being excreted at the same time.
Birds all have a cloaca, which is a common opening for their intestine and kidney waste material.
Hummingbirds don’t have a urinary bladder, so their kidney waste and fecal material are expelled from the same opening, often at the same time.
How Often Do Hummingbirds Poop?
During the day, hummingbirds may need to eat every 10 minutes or so, and excrete waste around every 20 minutes.
Most of what they excrete is liquid, but small poops of solid matter will also be expelled by the birds regularly.
What Does Hummingbird Poop Look Like?
Hummingbird excreta is mostly clear and watery, but tiny amounts of blackish-brown solid waste (insect remains) will also be found in the waste.
While it is usually mostly clear, hummingbird waste can turn a pinkish color if red coloring is added to bird feeders.
Unfortunately, some mistakenly add red food coloring to their feeders, since hummingbirds are attracted to the color red.
But while these birds are indeed attracted to red (a fact which you can and should take advantage of by planting red flowers and adding red feeders), putting red coloring to the sugar-water solution that you place in your feeders is not a good idea.
The red coloring won’t do the birds any good. In fact, it can harm them. So you should not add anything but granulated sugar and water to your hummingbird feeders.
Where Do Hummingbirds Poop?
Hummingbirds will poop on the wing, often close to where they are feeding. Since waste is expelled frequently, hummingbirds poop all over the place.
Do Hummingbirds Poop in Flight?
On an almost continuous hunt to replenish their energy, hummingbirds will return to feeders and other natural food sources continually throughout much of the daylight hours. And as they fly around and feed, nature will, of course, take its course.
Hummingbirds can often be seen pooping and peeing in mid-air, as they undertake their aerial acrobatics and flit around your garden.
Do Hummingbirds Poop Near Feeders?
Hummingbirds will often poop around and close to feeders and food sources, where they will naturally be spending a lot of their time.
For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure that you clean your feeders regularly to prevent contamination and spoiling.
It can also be a good idea to avoid placing a seating or outdoor dining area immediately below a hummingbird feeder.
While there won’t be quite as much mess as there can be with many other birds, hummingbird poop may make a bit of a mess of anything placed in the “firing line.”
Do Hummingbirds Poop on People?
When nature calls, these birds will have to expel waste. And so those who spend a lot of time around hummingbirds soon discover that they have no qualms about when and where they “go”—even when humans are below.
Those who have been feeding hummingbirds in their gardens for a while, especially where there are a lot of hummingbirds present, may find that the birds get used to their presence.
Because of this, they may not keep away while you are replenishing or rehanging feeders, or spending time in your garden. With lots of hummingbirds soaring and swooping overhead—the occasional splat is to be expected.
But the occasional little mess is well worthwhile for those who love to watch and spend time close to these amazing birds.
Do Hummingbirds Poop in Their Nests?
The only place hummingbirds won’t poop is in their nests. They avoid this to prevent the build-up of pests or pathogens.
Female hummingbirds take care of their babies for up to 25 days after they are old enough to fly the nest. But unlike human babies, hummingbird babies don’t need ‘mum’ to clean up after them when it comes to their waste.
Baby hummingbirds actually ‘shoot’ their poop out of the sides of the nest in order to try to keep the area clean.
This remarkable adaptation can be rather amusing to behold if you are lucky enough to find a nesting site where you live.
Is Hummingbird Poop Good for Your Garden?
While you may not like to think about this too much—remember, this hummingbird poop is not just ‘a mess’. It is a natural fertilizer for your garden, helping to replenish nutrients in the system. Poop is just one mechanism that keeps nature’s cycles turning.
When hummingbirds fly over your garden, making their regular ‘deposits’ they help to fertilize the soil and keep your garden growing strong. Wildlife, hummingbirds included, really can help us in our gardens in a range of different ways.
Hummingbirds are an important part of the environment, and in addition to offering a lot of entertainment for us, they also pollinate plants, eat insects—including those we consider pests—and add nutrients to our gardens as they poop.
So, far from being something to be disgusted by, learning about hummingbird poop can teach us once more just how interesting these amazing birds can be.