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The Majestic Hummingbird: Symbolism and Meaning

The hummingbird is one of the most loved wild birds. Loved for its beautiful colors and music, the hummingbird has a very interesting way of life that has attracted fascinating symbolism. Here is what you need to know about hummingbird symbolism and meaning.

What is the Hummingbird?

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One of the 360 species of the Trochilidae family, hummingbirds are small colorful birds that feed on flower nectar, insects, and spiders.

Hummingbirds prefer tropical climates and have a very high metabolic rate that causes them to go into torpor in a bid to conserve energy during periods of food scarcity. These phenomenal birds that are so tiny, with the smallest subspecies weighing 0.07 ounces and the largest weighing 0.85 ounces, are also very territorial and vicious.

Contrary to what you may think, the hummingbird does not get its name from its vocalized sound that consists of chirping, squeaking, and whizzing, but rather gets its name from the sound produced by its wings while in flight or while hovering.

Their wings flap in upstroke and downstroke rapid motions evoking acoustic sounds akin to musical instruments. This sound coupled with the birds’ bright and beautiful colors is the source of the allure to humans.

More fascinating, however, is that the hummingbird’s wings are attached to its body in a way that allows them to fly forward, backward, and upside-down.

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Hummingbird Meaning and Symbolism


Hummingbirds have fascinated humans since ancient times, thus becoming a powerful symbol. Encountering a hummingbird is seen in many cultures as an indication of good news and impending positives changes. Characteristics associated with hummingbirds include endurance, eternity, joy, good luck, flirtation, health and vitality, and divine messages.

  • Endurance – Hummingbirds display persistence in different aspects of their lives. As small as they are, hummingbirds can migrate long distances, can survive food scarcity by going into a form of hibernation know as a torpor, and they have a tendency to hold on to planes even during turbulence.
  • Continuation and Eternity –  While in flight, the wings of hummingbirds move in a figure-eight motion, the universally known and ancient symbol of infinity. For this reason, they are seen as a sign of continuity and eternity.
  • Joy –  Love and joy can be felt from the sound and sight of the hummingbirds as they feed and interact. Where there are hummingbirds, there is bound to be a dance of beautiful colors and a harmony of beautiful melody, a combination that depicts joy.
  • Flirtation –  From the way it flies to the way it hovers, displaying its vibrant colors and singing its sweet melodies, the hummingbird is seen as a very flirtatious bird.
  • Good Luck – This symbolic meaning derives from the Chinese culture that used the hummingbird as the Feng Shui symbol of good luck. This good luck symbolism can also be linked to the joy symbolism because, in the aspect of universal energy, joyous positive energy attracts good vibrations.
  • Health and Vitality – The hummingbird pollinates flowers as it feeds on nectar. The process of pollination fertilizes the plants thus ensuring continuity.
  • Divine Messages – This symbolic meaning derives from ancient Celtic and Native American mythologies, which both believe that hummingbirds delivered messages and guidance from divine entities.  
Hummingbird meaning and symbolism

Hummingbird Tattoo Symbolism

Hummingbird tattoos are one of the most colorful intricate body art. The tattoo of a hummingbird is often accompanied by flowers to show how the bird hovers as it feeds on nectar.

This tattoo can be a representation of overcoming difficult times, of freedom, of joy, love, hope, and charm, or care, happiness, and attraction. When drawn as matching tattoos, it serves as a mark of loyalty.

Hummingbird as a Spirit Animal

A spirit animal is a messenger sent to help you in your life’s journey. It comes in the form of an animal and can manifest itself to you in dreams or as an incessant pull towards a certain animal.

Having a hummingbird as a spirit animal is an indication of freedom and liberty. The hummingbird comes to tell you that you should freely enjoy life and its pleasures especially love.

Hummingbird as a Totem Animal

A totem animal is a lifetime spirit guide that keeps you company in both the physical and spiritual realms.

Having the hummingbird as your totem animal serves to teach you how to achieve the impossible whilst having fun.

People whose totem animal is the hummingbird are loving, exuberant, and the center of attention, but tend to exhaust their energy, requiring them to recharge occasionally. The bird thus appears to teach them how to utilize their energy without self-harming.

Wrapping Up

The hummingbird may be small but it bears great symbolism. In every culture that it has touched, this tiny impressive bird is seen as a beacon of positivity and good vibrations.

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Rose Mulu
Rose Mulu

With a keen interest in understanding why life was and is as it is, Rose has been studying religion, culture, and history for over fifteen years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and uses this, together with her knack for literature, to share her knowledge and insight with the world.