With their small size and high metabolism, the hummingbird lifespan is generally only a few years, but the life expectancy of a hummingbird is variable and some have survived for more than a decade.
The oldest known wild hummingbird lived to 12 years and 2 months.
In captive environments such as zoos, with proper feeding and nutrition, hummingbirds can live up to 14 years. In the wild, they spend their lives in a fast-paced migratory search for food.
Hummingbirds, like all wildlife, can be victims of natural as well as man-made hazards.
Young hummingbirds must deal with rain, hail, cold weather, wind, snakes, squirrels, cats, dogs, ants and larger birds. And hummers have to navigate around houses, telephone poles, glass windows and buildings.
Plus, other man-made obstacles such as ecosystem destruction and the use of pesticides have a negative impact on hummingbird populations.
The average life span of a hummingbird is five years, but they have been known to live for more than 10 years. As with any creature, there are threats to the hummingbirds’ survival…some natural and some man-made.
Climate Change: Unfortunately, hummingbirds are being affected by the earth's changing temperatures due to climate change. Their migratory patterns are changing which is causing different species to be spotted in locations well outside their normal range. This may make it more difficult for them to find food, which may lead to a populations’ decline.
Habitat Loss: Urbanization, agriculture, logging, and development in tropical areas threaten many hummingbird species. Since hummingbirds are so small, even minor development can have a tragic impact on them.
Invasive Plants: People unknowingly choose invasive plants for ornamental value around their lawns. Although these plants are beautiful, they are unfamiliar to hummingbirds and will not provide the nectar they require. Please choose your plants wisely.
Based on banding studies, 7 or 8 years is a ripe old age for most hummingbirds in the wild. Ruby-throated hummingbirds have lived 9 years. And one banded female broad-tailed hummingbird in Colorado made it to age 12.
A zoo that’s properly set up to care for these birds may stretch longevity. Two black-chinned hummingbirds at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson lived to 13 or 14 years old.
We don’t have much information on the Costa’s hummingbird. But a male with his gorget (throat patch) just developing would be a little less than 1 year old.