Why do Hummingbirds like Sugar Water? Top 5 Reasons

Hummingbirds live on mostly flower nectar, which is mostly a combo of sugar and water. Once the bird doesn’t find any flower nectar nearby, it will feed on sugar water as a substitute. They love to eat nectar.

Nectar or water-sugar solution, whatever you call it, supports the hummingbirds. You should prepare the solution well to keep your feathered friends happy. Nectar plays a good role due to its high metabolism and constant need to replenish energy and hydration.

The reason hummingbirds like sugar water is the sweet taste of the solution. Besides, the natural sweetener appeals to their sweet tooth. They get quick energy after feeding on a sugar-water mixture.

However, once you read further of this article, you will learn the relationship between hummers and sugar water.

Hummingbird Drink
source: Unsplash

What do hummingbirds eat?

The fascinating thing about hummingbirds is how they maintain their diet (or diet style). You can be surprised to know that they can consume more than their weight daily.

Hence, the most common part of their diet is flower nectar. They also love to eat tiny insects and spiders.

Nectar is a sweet liquid that flowers produce. Hummers use their long beaks to reach the nectar deep inside those flowers. When they have their food, they also help to pollinate the plants.

In the case of insects, hummingbirds often catch them mid-flight. These insects are part of a protein-rich diet.

Besides protein, these insects, larvae, and spiders fulfill the need for fat, salt, and other healthy ingredients. Overall, this diet helps them maintain their high metabolism and energy levels.

If the birds don’t find sufficient nectar, they will sip tree sap. Usually, the sap comes from the wells created by woodpeckers. But this tree sap is not as sweet as flower nectar.

Again, hummers may sip the fruit juices one at a time. Some of their favorite fruits are apples, berries, oranges, and pears.

Do you love to see hummers in your backyard? You can prepare sugar water solutions for them. It will attract them easily. After all, they love sweet sugar and water solution.

How do Hummingbirds Find Food?

The question itself is a mystery as the hummers are very competent at finding their food sources without others’ help.

Some scientists believe that these tiny birds have unique traits to spot their targeted nectar sources. Hence, others may think that these birds use their sense of smell.

Mostly, hummingbirds are famous for their attraction to red color. They try to find the sugar water mainly from the red flowers. It’s also the reason why hummingbirds like sugar water.

The red color of the flowers indicates they contain high sugar content. Besides, they will also feed on the nectar of other brightly colored flowers. They can be pink or purple.

You can plant colorful flowers rich in nectar if you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard. You can also place a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water.

Hummingbird find food
source: Unsplash

Why do Hummingbirds like Sugar Water?

There are several reasons why hummingbirds like sugar water, though the taste is the main reason. This sugary concoction is helpful for the birdies. Hence, these benefits have made their sense of feeding style.

Nectar provides hummingbirds with the necessary energy they need to fly. Also, it can fulfill their hydration needs. Here are some other benefits of sugar water for hummingbirds:

1. Sugar water is an excellent source of energy.

Hummingbirds need a lot of energy to fly, and sugar water is the perfect fuel. The sugar in the water is quickly converted into energy. Therefore, this energy gives hummingbirds the boost they need to keep flying.

2. It helps hummingbirds stay hydrated.

Hummers lose much water when they fly. So, they need to replenish their fluids. Nectar is an excellent way for hummingbirds to rehydrate. After all, the sugar helps the water to be absorbed more quickly.

3. It can aid hummingbirds in recovering from exhaustion.

Sugar water can help hummingbirds recover if they are exhausted from flying. The sugar in the water provides them with the energy they need to keep going.

4. It can help hummingbirds heal from injuries.

Sugar water can help the birds heal any injury. The sugar content in the nectar helps to speed up the healing process.

5. It can help hummingbirds ward off predators.

The sugar in the nectar can help hummingbirds ward off predators. The sweet ingredient gives them the energy they need to escape from danger.

Read More: Is hummingbird safe after providing cane sugar?

Dangers of Sugar Water

Hummingbirds love to taste or feed the sugar water. But you can be surprised to know this solution can be dangerous to these birds in certain conditions.

Along with many dangers to birds, sugar water for hummingbirds is that it can lead to dehydration. Excessive sugar cannot fulfill their water needs. Also, they may face weight gain and obesity if they consume sugar water for a long time.

When nectar is unavailable, hummingbirds will often turn to sugar water as a substitute.

However, sugar water does not contain the same moisture level as nectar. It can cause the bird to become dehydrated if consumed in large quantities.

Finally, sugar water can also encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi. They are not safe for the bird.


Provide a steady supply of sugar water (nectar) if you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard. They love this sugary liquid. So, they’ll often visit feeders that are filled with it.

You can make nectar at home or purchase pre-made nectar. Whichever route you choose, keep your bird feeder clean and fresh. Empty and refill it every few days to prevent the nectar from going bad.

I hope you have the answer now, “why do hummingbirds like sugar water?”. The taste and the health benefits are the main reasons!


Is sugar water a healthy option for hummingbirds?

Yes, sugar water provides essential energy for hummingbirds, especially when supplemented with their natural diet of insects and flower nectar. However, it’s crucial to maintain a proper ratio and avoid using artificial sweeteners.

Why do hummingbirds prefer sugar water?

Hummingbirds seek nectar as their main energy source, and sugar water closely mimics the sweetness they naturally crave.

How do I make sugar water for hummingbirds?

Mix four parts of water with one part of white granulated sugar, creating a solution that mirrors the natural nectar content preferred by hummingbirds.

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