The Rufous Hummingbird consumes flies, ants, small beetles, tiny wasps and other small insects for a source of protein. Nectar is its most important food source for energy. It also drinks sap from the holes made by the Red-naped Sapsuckers for an extra food source. It feeds on nectar from several different flowering plants, such as honeysuckle, scarlet sage, horsemint, and black locust. This hummingbird is attracted to red and tubular flowers, preferring flowers that are spread farther apart giving it needed space for the beat of its wings. It eats about 1/2 to about 3 times its body weight. The Rufous Hummingbird feeds on nectar a minimum of sixty times a day. It consumes numerous small meals instead of a few big meals. It consumes nectar from flowering plants with its fork-like tongue at 13 licks per second ( Johnsgard 1983; Toops 1992; Chloe 1999; Sayre 1999; Gates and Gates 2000).
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