Do Hummingbirds Eat Oranges? (Explained)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

We all know hummingbirds love eating nectar and they will even take the sugar supplements provided by humans.

Nectar and insects are the major food source for these tiny birds but you’ll be surprised that hummingbirds also eat other foods such as fruit.

Hummingbirds eat oranges as part of their diet as they will go for ripe juicy fruits which tend to be sweet.

As a bird feeder, you can cut up oranges and place them in your garden to attract the hummingbirds. 

Let’s look at the health benefits of oranges to hummingbirds, how often you should feed them oranges and other issues on the subject. 

What Are The Health Benefits Of Oranges To Hummingbirds?

Do Hummingbirds Eat Oranges

Oranges have the same benefits for hummingbirds as they do for humans and we will share some of them with you:

  • Vitamins

Oranges are rich in vitamins especially Vitamin c and Thiamine (Vitamin B1).

Vitamin C is especially important to strengthen the immune system and boost the production of antibodies to fight diseases. 

Thiamine on the other hand helps in boosting the nervous system and ensuring their coordination and motor controls are up to par.

Feeding the hummingbirds some oranges can help to keep them super healthy and fine. 

  • Fibre

Oranges are a good source of fiber for hummingbirds and it contains fibers such as cellulose, pectin and hemicellulose.

Insoluble fiber is important in helping the hummingbirds move food in the gastrointestinal tract to aid digestion.

Fiber helps to fight against indigestion and constipation and a serving of oranges can help your favorite hummer with it’s daily recommended dosage.

  • Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for the hummingbirds and quite a considerable amount can be found in oranges.

In hummingbirds, protein helps to improve the quality of egg production, boost immunity and plays a significant role in their growth.

When fed in the proper quantities, the amino acids in protein will help improve the overall quality of life of the hummingbirds.

  • Potassium

Oranges are known for being a rich source of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral which serves the function of strengthening bones and aiding the metabolism process. 

Potassium also helps the hummingbirds prevent stroke and maintain life balance.

  • Folate

This lesser known but quite important mineral is well provided by oranges.

Hummingbirds just like humans need the right amount of folate for proper and healthy growth.

Folate helps in the production of red and white blood cells which fight against diseases.

Folate also boosts egg quality and growth from chicks till adulthood.

These and more are the health benefits you can get from serving oranges to your favorite hummingbird and you would definitely love to see them grow strong as they flit around your garden. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can hummingbirds eat honey

How Often Can You Feed Them Oranges?

It is important that you know oranges contain ascorbic acid and these can cause health problems for the hummingbirds when it is eaten in excess. 

First off, always remember the 80/20 rule for bird food which also applies to your pet hummingbirds.

Since hummingbirds prefer nectar and insects then fruits such as oranges should come in to supplement their diet.

This means oranges among other fruits should only take up 20% of their diet.

Hummers though are a sucker for sweet things and would gladly visit the oranges when well peeled and placed in feeders where the hummingbirds can easily see them.

You can place oranges out everyday or twice a week depending on how much your favorite hummingbird takes to it.

Remember that nectar is the major food source of the hummers and they would only take the oranges as a sort of refreshment.

Do not put out too much so it doesn’t get spoiled. 

Can Baby Hummingbirds Eat Oranges?

Baby hummingbirds can eat oranges however they do not eat by themselves nor really eat in the sense of the word. 

In the wild, the hummingbird mother eats food, stores it then regurgitates it down her babies throat. In essence, she serves as the baby’s feeder, plate and spoon.

If you place a plate of oranges out for your hummers, the mother will suck the juice then go feed it to her babies.

The survival of the babies depends solely on their mothers as they cannot feed themselves till they reach a certain age.

If you come across an abandoned baby hummingbird, you should call wildlife authorities and feed it sugar and water for sustenance. 

A baby hummer’s diet mainly consists of flower nectar and insects to give the nourishment it needs.

However, if you put out oranges for the mother, be rest assured it will get to the baby.

How Do You Feed Oranges To Hummingbirds?

Feeding oranges to your favorite hummingbirds does not require any extra effort. Wash and peel your oranges as they might not be able to pierce the peel with their beak.

Once the orange is peeled, halve it and place it on a platform feeder so they can easily get across to it.

You can place the oranges with other sweet tasting juicy fruits such as apples and watermelons. 

You can also hang up the oranges for the hummers on from a nail or on a tree so they can suck out the juices while hovering.

Also check out this article I wrote on hummingbird feeders with suction cups

What Are The Things To Be Aware Of Before Feeding Them Oranges

Before feeding oranges to the hummingbirds remember that their major source of nourishment is flower nectar and they also take the sugar alternative.

Placing out oranges for the hummingbirds does not guarantee they will like it or eat it.

You can put or hang up one or two near their feeders to see how they react to it when they come feeding.

Most often the hummingbirds visit the fruits because there is an abundance of insects which they can easily catch. 

The orange feeder might be quite unpopular during summer when food is plentiful as they would rather go for their preferred source of food. 

Aside from the orange feeder, also place nectar feeders out for the feeders, and plant hummingbird friendly vegetation in your garden as these will also serve to attract the birds.

A birdbath and a clean source of water will help cement the love of the hummers for your garden.

Do Hummingbirds Eat Orange Peels?

Hummingbirds do not eat orange peels because they do not consider it as food.

They can suck oranges because they are suckers for sweet tasting stuff and sugar.

The sugar in the fruit helps to provide them with the energy bursts they need throughout the day.

It is best to remove orange peels before serving it to hummingbirds so they can easily get across to it and enjoy the sweet juices.


Hummingbirds are known for their addiction to nectar and they will also take any alternative they find.

It is not popular knowledge that hummingbirds eat oranges and other sweet tasting fruits because of the sugar content.

Some of the health benefits eating oranges can offer to the hummingbirds includes providing nutrients such as vitamins, folate, potassium, fiber and protein.

These nutrients help to keep them healthy and improve their growth.

To serve oranges to the hummingbirds, peel oranges and halve them then place them on a platform feeder in a location where the hummingbirds can easily access them.

Photo of author

About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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