Humming Bird

Do Hummingbird Moths Migrate?

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correct answerThe Short Answer is:
Yes, hummingbird moths migrate to warmer parts during the winter. However, it is not clear how far they migrate or where they go specifically. The hummingbird moth is found in many regions of both North and South America. The species is native to Asia and can be found in Southern Europe, and every year, it migrates to the UK in large numbers.

Hummingbird moths are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention of many nature enthusiasts. With their unique appearance and behavior, it’s no wonder that people are curious about their habits. One of the questions that often comes up is:  Do Hummingbird Moths Migrate? 

In this article, we will explore the world of hummingbird moths and try to answer this question. We will look at various sources to gain a better understanding of these amazing insects.

Physical Characteristics of Hummingbird Moths

Hummingbird moths are a type of moth that have physical characteristics that resemble hummingbirds. They are diurnal, which means they are active during the day, and they have strong wings that allow them to hover in mid-air and flit from one flower to another.

Here are some physical characteristics of hummingbird moths:

  • Wings: Hummingbird moths have strong wings that allow them to hover in mid-air and fly quickly from one flower to another.
  • Tongue: They have long tongues that they unfurl to insert into flowers to drink nectar.
  • Coloration: Hummingbird moths have colorful wings and bodies that help them blend in with flowers.
  • Size: The wingspan of hummingbird moths is typically around 1.6-1.8 inches.

Range of Hummingbird Moths

Hummingbird moths are found in many regions of both North and South America. They are also found in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The range of hummingbird moths in the US is from Texas and Florida to Maine and Alaska.

There is no evidence that hummingbird moths migrate. However, during the winters, they do migrate to warmer parts. They are important pollinators and play a vital role in the ecosystems of the areas where they live.

Do Hummingbird Moths Migrate?

Hummingbird moths are a type of moth that resemble hummingbirds in their appearance and behavior. They are known for their ability to fly and move just like hummingbirds and can remain suspended in the air in front of a flower while they unfurl their long tongues and insert them into the flower to feed on nectar.

In terms of migration, there are different species of hummingbird moths, and their migration patterns vary. For example, the hummingbird hawk-moth is abundant and resident all around Mediterranean countries, and across Central Asia to Japan.

Its migratory habits are well documented, and during the summer, it pushes northward into Europe and Russia, often migrating great distances.

On the other hand, the hummingbird hawk-moths from the Macroglossum genus are a resident of warmer climates and are most commonly found in North Africa, Asia, and parts of Southern Europe. During winter, they migrate to places that experience mild winters.

However, unlike hummingbirds, hummingbird moths do not migrate south when the cold weather arrives. They resort to a different strategy to survive the harsh weather and can live in their natural habitat as moths but can fly and eat from flowers in adulthood, which may resemble a hummingbird.

Life Cycle of Hummingbird Moths

Hummingbird moths are diurnal species that are active during the day and are known for their ability to mimic the looks and functions of hummingbirds. The life cycle of hummingbird moths is similar across different species and follows the same patterns.

The female moth lays her eggs on larval host plants such as honeysuckle, snowberry, hawthorn, and cherries. The eggs take about 6-8 days to hatch, and the caterpillars feed on the host plant for about 20 days before moving on to the pupa stage.

Once the larvae reach maturity, they can pupate and become moths. The Clearwing Hummingbird Moths are classified in the Sphinx Moth family, and the female moths lay about 200 small, spherical, pale green eggs during each brood on the Galium plant. The longest-living moths live up to 7 months.

Diet and Feeding Habits of Hummingbird Moths

Hummingbird moths are insects that are known for their feeding habits, which resemble those of hummingbirds. Here are some key points about the diet and feeding habits of hummingbird moths:

  • Food sources: Hummingbird moths feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, much like other moths and butterflies. Some of their preferred flowers include honeysuckle, hawthorn, snowberry, viburnum, hosta blossoms, deep-throated blossoms, cardinals, butterfly bush, red valerian, salvia, and verbenas.
  • Feeding behavior: Hummingbird moths hover around flowers and use a proboscis, an appendage from their mouth, to suck nectar out of the flowers. They are skilled fliers and can sustain flight for long periods of time while hovering in one place as they eat.
  • Larval diet: While adult hummingbird moths feed on nectar, their larvae have more specific food requirements. The larvae of some species of hummingbird moths feed on specific plant species, such as honeysuckle, snowberry, and viburnum.
  • Comparison to hummingbirds: Hummingbird moths are often compared to hummingbirds due to their similar feeding habits. However, while hummingbirds also feed on nectar, they also require insects in their diet to add proteins and minerals. Hummingbirds are also able to catch insects in midair, while hummingbird moths do not eat insects.
  • Feeding tips: One way to attract hummingbird moths is to plant nectar-rich flowers that bloom in the late summer. It is also possible to feed hummingbird moths from a feeder, although this is less common than feeding hummingbirds.

In summary, hummingbird moths are insects that feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, much like other moths and butterflies. They hover around flowers and use a proboscis to suck nectar out of the flowers.

While adult hummingbird moths feed on nectar, their larvae have more specific food requirements. To attract hummingbird moths, it is possible to plant nectar-rich flowers or use a feeder.

Importance of Hummingbird Moths in Pollination

Hummingbird moths are important pollinators that play a key role in the pollination of many wild plants and orchards. Here are some reasons why hummingbird moths are important in pollination:

  • Effective Pollinators: Hummingbird moths are effective pollinators that transfer pollen between flowers as they feed, which helps to fertilize the plants and keep them healthy.
  • Nocturnal Pollinators: Some species of hummingbird moths, such as the Sphinx hummingbird moth, are nocturnal creatures that pollinate flowers that open at night.
  • Keen Sense of Smell: Hummingbird moths have a very keen sense of smell, which allows them to locate flowers from a distance and pollinate them effectively.
  • Similar to Hummingbirds: Hummingbird moths share many common characteristics with hummingbirds, including their body shape, agility in flight, and ability to hover and fly backward.

To attract hummingbird moths to your garden or orchard, you can plant a wide variety of colorful and eye-catching plant species for insects to want to pollinate.

Additionally, you can provide a source of water for them to drink from, as well as a sheltered area for them to rest during the day. By attracting hummingbird moths, you can help to ensure the health and vitality of your plants and contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Topic:

Are there hummingbirds in Switzerland?

No, there are no hummingbirds in Switzerland. However, there is a species of hawk moth called the hummingbird hawk-moth that is found across temperate regions of Eurasia, including Switzerland.

The hummingbird hawk-moth has a long proboscis and hovers in the air while feeding on nectar, which makes it look like a hummingbird.

How big is a hummingbird?

Hummingbirds come in a variety of sizes, but they are generally small birds. The smallest hummingbird is the bee hummingbird, which measures slightly more than 5.5 cm and weighs less than 2.0 g.

The largest hummingbird is the giant hummingbird, which is about 20 cm long and weighs about 20 g. Most types of hummingbirds measure between 3 and 4 inches.

Are there hummingbird moths in Alberta?

Yes, there are hummingbird moths in Alberta. The clearwing sphinx moth is common in Alberta but rarely seen in late summer.

Additionally, the Hemaris genus, which includes the hummingbird hawk moth, is referred to as the hummingbird moth. The hummingbird clearwing moth is also found in Alberta and is an excellent pollinator of native wildflowers.

Are there hummingbirds in Spain?

No, there are no hummingbirds in Spain. However, there is a species of moth called the hummingbird hawk-moth that is often mistaken for a hummingbird due to its similar appearance and behavior.

Hummingbirds are native to the Americas and are not found in Europe.


In conclusion, while there is evidence that some species of hummingbird moths, such as the Old World species Macroglossum stellatarum, do migrate, there is no clear evidence that the Hemaris genus of hummingbird moths migrate.

These fascinating insects are often mistaken for hummingbirds due to their similar appearance and behavior, including hovering in front of flowers while unfurling their long tongues to sip nectar.

Hummingbird moths have long tongue-like proboscis and large, menacing eyes that resemble feathers, which help protect them from predators. They range in size from 2-2.5 inches long and are covered in gray hair that resembles feathers, with white, rust, or brown markings or variations.

While there is still much to learn about these intriguing insects, their unique characteristics and behaviors continue to captivate and inspire those who observe them.

Mary Cynthia

Mary Cynthia is a passionate author who pours her love for birds into her captivating blog posts. With her extensive knowledge of avian species and habitats, she shares fascinating insights, nurturing a sense of wonder and appreciation for these beautiful creatures. Through her engaging storytelling, she invites readers into the enchanting world of birds, fostering a deeper connection with nature.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is an esteemed author and content reviewer whose profound love for birds has shaped his life and writing. With an unquenchable curiosity and deep appreciation for avian wonders, he delves into the world of ornithology, capturing the essence of birds in his eloquent prose.

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