Hummingbird Flying Ability
Do hummingbirds really fly backwards? and if so Why?
Yes, indeed they can, and even upside down for short distances
(Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior). Like all behavior, the
amazing flight of hummingbirds has evolved to help them survive
in their environment. Hummingbirds need a lot of energy and can
move very quickly from flower to flower by flying sideways and
backwards, and hover to reach nectar that they could not reach
from a perch. They also "hawk" for insects in the air, which
their quick and agile flight makes more efficient.
Hummingbirds can fly in just about any direction including backwards,
sidewards, and even a twisting flight putting them often upside down.
Their speed is incredibel clocked at an average of 25-35 mph with
downward dives of 60 mph.
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Update: June 2012