Can Hummingbirds Fly in Rain: Rainfall Resilience

Hummingbirds are remarkable creatures renowned for their ability to hover mid-air and fly backward. Many people have speculated whether these small birds can fly in the rain, as raindrops are larger and heavier than the birds.

The answer is not straightforward because hummingbirds have evolved specialized features to cope with various environmental conditions. Despite light-to-moderate rain having a mild effect on flight dynamics, hummingbirds can hover without diminishing stability.

They usually seek shelter during heavy rain or storms. The small size and rapid wingbeats of hummingbirds allow them to maneuver through light rain without significant difficulties. Their feathers have some water-resistant properties that help prevent excessive water absorption.

However, heavy rain can make it challenging for them to find food sources or maintain their body temperature, so they typically take shelter during such conditions.

Are Hummingbirds Able to Fly in Rain?

Hummingbirds are capable of flying in light to moderate rain. Their rapid wingbeats and agile flight allow them to navigate through raindrops and continue foraging for nectar or insects.

Their feathers have specialized adaptations that provide some resistance to water and help keep their bodies dry. However, during heavy rain or storms, hummingbirds usually seek shelter to avoid the challenges posed by the strong downpour.

Flying in heavy rain can be energetically demanding and may impede their ability to find food or maintain their body temperature. Therefore, while they can handle light rain, they prefer to take cover during more intense precipitation.

Some Common Factors of Hummingbirds’ Flight in Rain

Various elements can influence a hummingbird’s capability to soar in wet conditions. Some key features can affect hummingbirds’ flight in rainy weather.

Rain Intensity

The precipitation of rain can significantly influence hummingbird flight. Hummingbirds may cope with light rain, shaking off minor water droplets and maneuvering through damp surroundings.

Nevertheless, heavy rain can be more of a challenge, with the impetus and mass of the raindrops impairing the birds’ aerial propulsion.

Body size and Weight

Hummingbirds vary in size and weight, affecting their ability to fly in the rain. Typically, smaller birds can be more agile and capable of navigating through rainy conditions, whereas larger birds may find it more difficult due to their size and weight.

Feather Quality

The state of a hummingbird’s plumage can affect its capacity to fly in wet weather. Healthy, well-kept feathers can provide a barrier to the rain, warding off moisture and preserving the bird’s dryness. In contrast, damaged or neglected plumes may become saturated, decreasing their aerial capability.

The Anatomy of Hummingbird Flight in Rainy Conditions

Hummingbirds possess unique anatomical and physiological adaptations that enable them to fly in rainy conditions. Here are some key aspects of their flight anatomy:


Hummingbirds possess an aerodynamic adaptation in their specialized wing structure and rapid wingbeats, allowing them to remain airborne even during wet conditions.

The shape of their wings is long, narrow, and pointed, reducing wind resistance and optimizing lift. Additionally, the wings can rotate at the shoulder joint, granting the bird lift on the upstroke and downstroke.


Hummingbird feathers are lightweight and have a specialized structure. The arrangement of their feathers helps to repel water and prevent excessive absorption, allowing them to remain relatively dry during light rain.

Muscle Strength

Due to their relatively large flight muscles compared to their body size, hummingbirds can generate the necessary power and lift to remain airborne in difficult weather conditions such as windy areas.

However, flying in heavy rain can still be a challenge as the added weight of the raindrops may impede their ability to continue the flight.

Energy Expenditure

Hummingbirds must expend increased energy when flying in wet conditions to regulate their body temperature and remain dry; this is an especially arduous undertaking for smaller birds as they have a higher surface area-to-volume ratio, resulting in a quicker rate of heat loss.


They possess a remarkable ability to adjust to changing weather conditions. Through evolutionary processes, they have developed effective tactics to cope with adverse weather, such as taking refuge under leaves or branches or relocating to an area of lesser precipitation.

These adaptive traits allow hummingbirds to thrive in various climates, including wet and rainy.

Safety Tips for Hummingbirds in Rain

Providing a safe and healthy environment for hummingbirds during the wet weather is essential, given their need to adapt to arid climates. While they may be resilient to the heat, hummingbirds are susceptible to hypothermia in the rain and can find it difficult to find sustenance.

Implementing protective measures, such as shelter and food sources, can help ensure hummingbirds are not put in harm’s way. Here are a few recommendations to consider in such circumstances.

Provide Shelter

To ensure the safety of hummingbirds during inclement weather, a hummingbird house, a birdhouse with an entrance too small for larger birds, or a hummingbird feeder hung under a porch or awning can provide necessary shelter.

Offer Food Sources

Hummingbirds can have difficulty locating food during rainfall, particularly if their primary nectar sources are affected. To help, put up a hummingbird feeder containing fresh nectar or cultivate flowers that flower in the wet months.

Are Hummingbirds Susceptible to Low Temperatures During Precipitation?

As they are generally adapted to warmer climates, hummingbirds may need to prepare better when temperatures drop. This can cause them difficulty maintaining their body temperature and finding the necessary sustenance.

Furthermore, if precipitation occurs, the weight of the water droplets on their feathers can impede their flight and cause their body temperature to drop, potentially resulting in hypothermia and requiring assistance from humans to stay alive.

To survive in their natural habitats, hummingbirds have adopted various tactics. This includes seeking shelter during adverse weather and decreasing activity levels to save energy.

Moreover, certain species of hummingbirds can enter a state of torpor, decreasing their body temperature and metabolic rate to conserve energy when food is scarce. While cold weather and precipitation can be challenging for hummingbirds, they have developed ways to cope with these risks.

Under Rainy Weather, Hummingbirds Are Disinclined to Taking Flight

Is it Safe to Use Corn Syrup in Hummingbird Food if it’s Raining?

When making hummingbird food with corn syrup, it is safe to use even if it’s raining. Corn syrup is a common ingredient in hummingbird food recipes as it provides a readily available energy source for these tiny birds. Just ensure the feeders are placed in sheltered areas to keep the food dry during rainfall.


Hummingbirds possess the ability to fly in light rain. Still, heavy downpours can be quite difficult for them as the rain can cause the feathers to become weighted, thus impairing the birds’ ability to maneuver and causing them to tire more quickly.

Another hazard that heavy rain poses is that it can bring down the hummingbirds’ body temperature, which can be detrimental, especially if they cannot dry off and warm up. To combat these problems, hummingbirds have evolved various strategies to help them endure rainy conditions.

Such tactics include seeking protection under foliage or overhangs, reducing their activity levels to conserve energy, and entering a state of torpor to reduce their metabolic rate and save energy when food sources are scarce.



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