Definition of hummingbird in US English:



  • A small nectar-feeding tropical American bird that is able to hover and fly backward, typically having colorful iridescent plumage.

    Family Trochilidae: many genera and numerous species, including the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) of the eastern US, and the red-crowned Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna), found chiefly along the Pacific coast of the US

    • ‘Nectar-producing plants are very popular for attracting hummingbirds and orioles.’
    • ‘Like other birds, hummingbirds communicate through both auditory and visual signals.’
    • ‘The principal characteristic that sets hummingbirds apart from all other birds is their mode of flight.’
    • ‘Without the ability to hover, hummingbirds would not be able to obtain nectar from flowers.’
    • ‘Thus, hummingbirds represent an ideal system in which to gain understanding of how animals achieve energy balance.’


Mid 17th century: so named because of the humming sound produced by the rapid vibration of the bird's wings.