Why Do Hummingbirds Chase Each Other

Hummingbirds are indescribably fascinating and entertaining. Many people anticipate seeing them in their own backyard each year.

If you have a lovely flower bed or several bird feeders in your yard, watching the birds’ flight patterns is a wonderful way to pass the time outside. On the other hand, watching these hummingbirds may reveal some fascinating questions regarding their behaviour.

We shall investigate the question of “Why do hummingbirds chase each other? in this post. “by observing the habits and flight patterns of hummingbirds. Hummingbirds may be having fun chasing one another, fighting over territory, or demonstrating their prowess to a female bird, depending on the situation.

Why do hummingbirds chase each other: Are they playing or are they fighting?

Hummingbird chasing behavior is seen and understood as territorial aggressiveness and courtship dance displays. Male hummingbirds who are aggressive protect their food supply from intruders. Hummingbird females scare potential predators away from their breeding sites. When courting, both engage in fun chasing activity.

One may assume that hummingbirds are playing and having fun as they chase each other, just like young siblings. Hummingbirds may also be displaying their prowess to a nearby female spectator or engaging in life-or-death territorial battles.

It takes a lot of experience to comprehend and identify the distinctions in behavior, but once they are, they are clear and distinct.


These small birds have a strong personality. When another bird enters their mating region or blocks their access to their priceless nectar, they get upset. Of all the hummingbird species in North America, the rufous hummingbird has arguably the worst temperament.

In the late spring or early summer, you could witness a battle if you’re keeping an eye out for one. The birds are at their most adept at guarding their nests and asserting their dominance at this time.

Even into the fall, the truly hostile birds will continue to display violence. It’s time to guard your main feeding grounds now since they are preparing to move. The male hummingbird will struggle to reach its feeder no matter what. Hummingbird females are more likely to protect their nest.

The Playful Chase

Once your eyes have grown used to the hummingbirds’ motions, you will be able to tell the difference between a joyful pursuit and a protective response. The precise behavior of hummingbirds will depend on the season.

For instance, a cuddly dance signals the start of the season for wooing and mating. Hummingbird courting behaviors are interesting to see. Hummingbirds playingfully mating and chasing one other, though, might be mistaken for fighting.

Hummingbird courtship begins with the enticement of an abundance of food sources and a gorgeous stallion showcasing his strength and fortitude.

In order to assert themselves and let female hummingbirds know that breeding season has arrived and they are prepared, male hummingbirds conduct mating dances in their area. Hummingbird males puff up their chest and neck to display their beautiful plumage in an effort to win over females.

Additionally, they purposefully lingered in the light to flaunt their fur. Hummingbird males often flirt in one of two ways: the dive display or the shuttle show.

The Courtship Chase

You will be in awe of these little birds’ dexterity and soaring feats if you ever get to see a courting chase. A male hummingbird will first perform a courting dance in an effort to get a female to mate with him.

A male hummingbird will mate with a variety of different ladies throughout the breeding season because they do not mate for life.

The male bird will blow up his chest and neck to seem bigger and entice female suitors. Additionally, he could turn his head from side to side to allow the sun to illuminate the multitude of vivid hues on his crown and throat feathers.

The male bird will fly around the female while stretching his body and tail feathers after he has located her. This makes him seem bigger, in a way.

The male bird will then advance to a shuttle show or a dive performance to win the female bird over and convince her to accept him as her mate.

Territorial Behavior Around Food Sources

Hummingbirds are they possessive of their feeders? These little invertebrates can, in fact, display territorial behavior. Hummingbirds will actively defend their food supply if you witness them chasing one another away from your feeder, especially if it is one that is extremely sweet.

Hummingbirds will alert any intruders or other birds they believe to be a threat to their feeder before giving chase. One of the earliest warning signs is their territorial hummingbird call, which is a high-pitched, brisk chattering or twittering.

Hummingbirds will attempt to seem bigger and more frightening by shifting their attitude if intruders do not flee. It will position itself facing the adversary and extend its wings and tail feathers while pointing its beak to signal that it is prepared to fight if required.

Watch this interesting video to see hummingbirds competing over territory in real time.

In order to appear larger and more aggressive, male hummingbirds may also flare their gorget and neck feathers as well as flash their vibrant, multicolored plumage. When competing for food sources, some hummingbirds will employ all five strategies concurrently.

Dive Display

The goal of a diving show is to attract a hummingbird female’s attention. A male hummingbird may speed up and soar anywhere from 60 to 130 feet in the air to achieve this.

He will then make a sharp spin and plunge to the earth, changing course to avoid a potential collision and emitting a “honking” sound. He will fly away while singing his distinctive tune and then do his ceremonial dance three to four more times.

Recent study has raised the likelihood that the “honking” sound is vocal, even if the majority of specialists still think the honking noises are the sonations created by tail feathers.
For more information on the history of the honking sound, see this National Institutes of Health research.

They do this to catch the eye of the woman they are following as well as any nearby bystanders. Although it may seem quite threatening, hummingbirds typically do this when scouting out or selecting a partner.

These features, which are all significant and highly desired attributes to pass down to future generations, demonstrate to a female the fitness, agility, and strength of a male suitor. The male hummingbird’s bloodline is respected and held in high regard.

Signs of Aggression

Hummingbirds display their anger and dominance in four different ways in order to defend their habitat and their food source.

Before engaging in any pursuing behavior, the hummingbird will vocalize a warning to any potential intruders. Typically, this is a string of chirps or chitters that are loud, quick, and persistent. If the intruder stays, these noises will get louder and more powerful. The hummer will eventually utilize force to eject the intrusion.

A Change in Posture – The hummer will alter its posture in addition to vocalizing warning noises. It does this by expanding and flaring the feathers on its tail and wings. In essence, the bird seems bigger as a result. In order to display the vivid colors, male birds will often flare their neck feathers.

In order to make it clear that he means business, the hummer will also tip his long, pointed bill in the direction of the intruder.

Shuttle display

The shuttle dance is a joyful and close-knit display toward a female hummingbird as opposed to the diving stance. The male hummingbird will circle in a U-shape to attract the female when she is peacefully perched on a tree branch.

The male bird will swing his body and emit a whistling sound with his tail feathers at the same time. The female bird may participate in the dance if she is feeling in tune. If the female is truly impressed, she will stretch her tail and perch on a neighboring perch. This indicates that the female has given the all-clear and is prepared for mating.

Each bird separates following the mating procedure, which typically lasts 4 to 5 seconds. While the male may pursue his next objective, the female hummingbird will take on the duties of a mother, constructing the nest and nurturing her babies alone.

Strange Sounds

A hummingbird could yell and buzz at a potential invader in the same way that you would if someone tried to enter your house. These noises range from chattering and buzzing to being loud and rapid. They take every precaution to alert a visitor that they are in their realm.

The hummingbird will frequently only increase its loudness or begin singing more quickly. This signals that it is either time to leave their land or prepare for a conflict.

How Do Hummingbirds Threaten One Another?

Watching two hummingbirds fight to the death in your garden may be horrifying, despite how fascinating it may sound. These conflicts intensify as migration time draws near and throughout the withering season in the fall.

The issue is, hummingbirds get insatiably hungry as winter approaches and the flowering season begins to dwindle. They thus become more fiercely defending of their area.

As a result, every other hummingbird attempting to obtain food before the cold weather arrives is viewed as a nuisance that has to be solved. The territory’s dominant male will then drive the danger away. The male is more inclined to court her rather than attack unless the invader is a female.

Before migration is the second time a fellow hummingbird is referred to be a threat. All birds are currently busy getting ready for the lengthy voyage.

Primitive feeding areas suffer as a result of every hummingbird wanting a rapid snack before taking flight. As a result, the male hummingbird keeps vigil to frighten off any unwanted visitors.

The hummingbird’s female counterpart views her whole species as a threat to her nest and young. Even worse, she divorces her spouse shortly after mating!

That’s mostly because fearsome predators like cats and hawks are drawn to the brightly colored feathers of male hummingbirds. She drives away any males that approach her or her nest in order to protect her offspring.

Hummingbird females feel the same way about other females—they pose a threat. The fact that moms have been observed stealing food from nearby nests is the cause of this distrust. They’ve even gone as far as to take another hummingbird’s offspring in rare instances.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Hummingbird Fighting In Your Yard

It may be pretty depressing at times to see a dominating hummingbird chase away all the little hummers from your feeder. They’re only trying to share a stream, after all.

There are a few things you can do if a dominating hummingbird is frequenting your feeder to provide the other visitors an opportunity to feed quietly as well.

Increase The Number Of Feeders In Your Yard

There will undoubtedly be conflict if there is only one feeder in the yard. However, there is plenty to go around if you have many feeders. A dominating bird will also find it challenging to defend all the feeders at once (find some of our favourite feeders here).

Space Your Feeders Evenly Around The Yard

It will be more difficult for the dominant bird to defend all of the feeders from intruders even if you have a territorial bird in your yard if you space them out far enough apart. As a result, other passing hummers get a chance to eat while the dominating bird is away guarding a different feeder.

Place Your Feeders Out Of Sight Of Each Other

Only the feeders that are visible can be protected by a territorial bird. Therefore, it’s doubtful that the bird will be able to defend both of the feeders at once if they are placed in the front and back yards. This provides an opportunity for other hummers to also receive a nice feast.

Final Thoughts

There are two main causes for why hummingbirds chase one another. One is a more hostile chase during courting, while the other is to defend their territory and food source.

You should be able to discern between the more boisterous and aggressive territorial chase and the more lighthearted courting show with some practice and observation.

There are some things you can do to make sure that all the visiting hummingbirds get a chance to feed in your garden if you do have an aggressive hummingbird that is constantly chasing all the other hummers away from your feeders. These include having many feeders and placing them quite far apart so they are not in each other’s line of sight.

When you do this, you can relax and take pleasure in seeing all the tiny hummingbirds happily consuming the delicious nectar in your feeders.